2/21/2006
 
Outpouring of Community Support Makes Million-Dollar Exhibit Possible
 

HOUSTON, TX (Feb. 21, 2006) -- Holocaust Museum Houston’s newest exhibit – a rare World War II German railroad cattle car of the type used to carry thousands of Jews and other innocent victims to their deaths – came to fruition only with the help of dozens of individuals and companies across the world.

Including costs for acquisition, transportation to the United States and the exhibit site preparation, the railcar exhibit costs will exceed $1 million before it is opened to the public during the Museum’s 10th Anniversary Rededication Ceremonies at 2 p.m. on March 5, 2006.

Virtually all of those costs or expenses have been donated or underwritten, said Museum Chairman Peter Berkowitz.

"We began a search for such an artifact many years ago, shortly after the Museum was opened in 1996, and intensively in 2001. It was an artifact we had to have,” said Susan Myers, executive director of the Museum. “With the possible exception of the swastika, the railroad cattle car used to transport so many innocent people to their deaths is the most universally known symbol of the Holocaust."

The railcar was authenticated for the Museum by Alfred Gottwaldt, senior curator for railways for the Deutsches Technikmuseum Berlin (German Museum of Technology and Transportation). Almost all such cars have fallen into disrepair such that they are no longer traceable or have been destroyed, and few records exist of the exact use or current location of any particular car, making the authentication task difficult, but not impossible, Gottwaldt said.

The Museum’s car was found while being used as storage for spare railway parts by a German railway workshop, Bruecke e.V., in the small town of Blankenburg, Germany after Berkowitz asked for assistance from Houstonian Donna Fujimoto Cole of Cole Chemical and Distributing, Inc.

Cole contacted Gulf Chemical International Corp., which does business with various companies in Germany. One of Gulf’s contacts, the German firm of Lexzau, Scharbau GmbH & Co. KG, researched the issue, found a potential railcar and arranged on Gulf’s behalf to purchase the car for the Museum.

Berkowitz traveled to Germany, arranged for the car’s authentication and was able to secure permission from the German government for the Museum to relocate it to Houston. He and his wife, Charlotte, later arranged to donate the car to the Museum’s permanent collection.

Rice University President David Leebron was contacted for assistance, and volunteered the services of Rice architecture students to design the memorial.

Ross Perot, Jr., chairman of the board of Perot Systems and chairman of Hillwood in Fort Worth, offered direct support, including providing services at Fort Worth Alliance Airport through Alliance Air/Aviation Services.

EP-Team, Inc., a partner of Hillwood, provided project management, which included site expertise in Europe and the United States, railcar preparation, ground solutions and transport, and arrangements for air shipment.

BP America, working in cooperation with BP Germany, donated 47 tons of jet fuel for the Polet Airlines cargo plane.

The Houston construction company Linbeck heard of the project through Leebron, and Team Manager Jeff Bryson offered site construction and historical preservation assistance. Rio Grande Pacific Corp. of Fort Worth donated the rail, railroad ties, and bedding for the permanent site. Charles M. Schayer & Co. volunteered to assist with customs documentation and import issues, Pierpont Communications, Inc. offered public relations support, and Grocers Supply Co., Inc., quickly agreed to help with storage of the artifact while the permanent exhibit site is prepared.

Other companies, such as TNT Crane and Rigging, Inc., and Emmert International, volunteered to assist with transport of the car from Fort Worth to Houston and with its unloading. The Lester and Sue Smith Foundation, The Tuschman Foundation and WoodRock & Co. offered underwriting support.

Others who provided major assistance for the project included: AYG Construction Ltd.; Cemex Corporation USA; the City of Houston; Dixie Drilling Company; Gary Logan Photography; Groves Industrial Supply; Haynes Whaley Associates, Inc.; Houston Metro Electrical Corporation; Lucky Steel; Margolin Family/M&M Lighting L.P.; Mark S. Mucasey & Associates; Maxim Crane; Meyer Smith, Inc.; North American Precast Co.; Sterling Steel Company; Taft Architects; TAS Commercial Concrete Construction L.P.; The Stein Family/Triple-S Steel Supply; Union Pacific; White Cap Industries; and Xavier Structures Corporation.

 
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Holocaust Museum Houston
Morgan Family Center
5401 Caroline St.
Houston, TX 77004-6804
Phone: 713-942-8000



Holocaust Museum Houston is a member of the Houston Museum District Association and is located in Houston's Museum District.

Holocaust Museum Houston is an accredited member of the American Alliance of Museums.

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The Museum is open to the public seven days a week.

Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Saturday and Sunday, Noon to 5 p.m.


The Laurie and Milton Boniuk Resource Center and Library is open to the public from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and noon to 5 p.m. on Saturday. The Library is closed Sundays.

The Museum is closed for Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Easter Sunday, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. For other holiday hours, visit the "Events" tab on the Museum’s Web site at www.hmh.org.

Effective April 15, 2014, admission rates for Holocaust Museum Houston will change. Please note the new rates:

Members FREE
Children under age 6 FREE
Students age 6-18 FREE
College-level with valid school ID FREE
Seniors age 65+ $8
Active-Duty Military $8
General Admission $12

Holocaust Museum Houston is free each Thursday from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. and on Memorial Day (May 26, 2014), D-Day (June 6, 2014), Kristallnacht (Nov. 9, 2014) and International Holocaust Remembrance Day (Jan. 27, 2015).

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