A rare artifact of the Holocaust, a World War II boxcar, has made its way to the Holocaust Memorial Center (HMC) in Farmington Hills. The 10-ton rail car is believed to be one of the last in existence and the only one exported to the United States from Germany.
HMC Executive Director Stephen Goldman said he looked for a year to find the car, which was used to transport Jews.
"I wanted to bring a boxcar in," he said. "It's a significant and important artifact. It's even more significant for young people, who are used to dealing with two dimensions."
While the HMC has a mock-up of a boxcar, Goldman said the genuine item "affects people in a way that no other artifact does."
The boxcar will be part of an outdoor display on the west side of the building. Plans call for an entrance gathering place, where docents will explain what the visitor is about to see. The car will be visible through a gate in a wire fence, replicating the theme of the Holocaust Memorial Center building.
Visitors can learn about the boxcar’s historical significance through text etched into a triangular monument. The backdrop will be a mural on a translucent curtain showing ghostly figures of men, women and children, placed so they look as though they're about to enter the car.
After raising money to fund the $750,000-$1 million project, construction is expected to begin in the spring of 2012, with completion in fall.