At the Zekelman Holocaust Center, we engage, educate, and empower our visitors to remember the Holocaust and apply the lessons learned to our world today. The HC is a 55,000 square foot museum and library archive in Farmington Hills, Michigan. Our vision is to build a world in which people take responsible action. We teach more than 100,000 people each year about the murder of millions and why each of us must respect and stand up for the rights of others if we are to prevent future discrimination, hate crimes, and genocide.

This resource was developed to enhance your exploration of our permanent exhibit. It provides information on several artifacts and installations, and it includes some questions to spark your curiosity.

Consider taking a close look at some of the items you see on display. When looking at photographs and installations, ask:

  • What do I see? What’s going on here?
  • What makes me say that?
  • How does it make me feel?
  • What more can I find?

When looking at artifacts, ask:

  • What is this object?
  • What might it have been used for?
  • What does it teach me about this history?


Boxcar & The Henrietta and Alvin Weisberg Gallery

This boxcar was used during the Holocaust for multiple purposes: to transport German Army personnel and equipment, but also to deport Jews and other prisoners to ghettos and camps. Inside boxcars like this one, 100 individuals or more were packed inside without food, water, or basic sanitation. Many did not survive the journey, which could last from several days to more than a week. 

At this installation, you can hear Henrietta Weisberg’s memory of her family’s horrific journey on a deportation train. The scenery behind the boxcar is a replica of a train station in Hamburg, Germany. Between May 1940 and February 1945, approximately 5,848 Jews and 1,264 Roma and Sinti people were sent on 20 deportations from this station.

How would you describe the boxcar? Are there any characteristics that stand out to you about it? Why?


This timeline visually depicts the 4,000-year history of the Jewish people. Spanning from right to left around this circular room, important dates in Jewish history are noted in the upper portion of the timeline. Below are important events in world history, providing the former with greater context. It is important to remember that Jewish history does not start or end with the Holocaust.



The Human Story: Martin Lowenberg

Martin was born in Germany in 1928. After the Nazis came to power, they burned down Martin’s family home and business warehouse. Growing up, Martin faced discrimination in school and witnessed the tragic events of Kristallnacht. In 1941, he was deported to Latvia. Martin was forced to perform labor in concentration camps before being sent on a death march. Martin was 17 years old when he was liberated along with his sister. He immigrated to the United States and eventually came to Detroit. He created some of the metal artwork in the museum, including the mezuzot in each of the doorways.