Cattle car exhibit arrives on campus to educate, commemorate Holocaust


Christian Holt

In honor of the Holocaust’s anniversary, Palm Beach Central is hosting a replica of a cattle car used to transport Jewish people to concentration camps. The exhibit includes details of how the cars were used and the people’s experiences while being held as prisoners.

Giselle Pineda, Staff Writer

It has been 76 years since the end of the Holocaust and today many fear that the more years that pass the more information will be lost to time. An exhibit hopes to keep this historical atrocity at the forefront of the next generation’s mind.

When students arrive on campus on December 1, they will be see a  replica of a World War II cattle car that serves as an exhibit and memorial to the millions who died during the Holocaust.  The traveling exhibit is part of the ShadowLight organization. This non-profit was founded with a mission to “enable people of all ages, especially students, to connect to the Holocaust on a personal level, both emotionally and physically and inspire them to make a positive impact on the current world through infusing them with a sense of responsibility and empowerment.”  

To inform the public about the Holocaust, ShadowLight designed a nationwide traveling museum called, “The Cattle Car: Stepping In and Out of Darkness.” Conceived in 2015 and funded by outside donors, the replica WWII cattle car is an interactive and multimedia experience that will travel to different schools and events around the country. 

During World War II, cattle cars were used by the Nazis to transport Jews to concentration camps throughout Europe.  Each locked windowless car, which was meant to hold 6 or 7 horses, would hold up to 120 individuals, many of whom would go days without food, water, restrooms, and the ability to sit down.  

 Many students have stressed the importance of having a program like this, feeling that it is vital for other students to be educated on important and world changing events like the Holocaust.

“There is a lot of hate in the world and we need to make sure that doesn’t happen again,” said senior Jackson Mandell. “There are new types of hate evolving today and if it gets out of hand, it can become another Holocaust.” 

Honors Holocaust teacher Ms. Holtzer, along with leadership from the Jewish Student Union were able to book the experience at Central. 

“The cattle car is a symbol of the Holocaust, Jewish suffering, and anti-semitism,” said junior David Rockmacher, JSU’s president. “JSU wants to teach about the past so history doesn’t repeat itself.”

The cattle car display is especially unique because of the projection technology used to portray re-enactments, survivor stories, and other information related to the Holocaust. When on campus, the Cattle Car Museum can fit up to 25 students for a 25-minute session. Students will also have the chance to see exhibits of  artifacts from the Holocaust as well as projects created by Holtzer’s Research 2 class.

“I think that it is vitally important to bring exhibits like this to campus,” explained Holtzer. “This cattle car is living history and can explain that part of Holocaust history that words cannot. It is important to never forget about the Holocaust but to also be aware and conscious about what hatred and prejudice can do. These are lessons that are important to us all.”

The Cattle Car Museum will be on campus from December 1-3 in the courtyard. Select classes will be able to experience the tour. Parents and invited guests can attend on Thursday evening.