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Congres: ‘Trains and the Holocaust’


If you have ever visited our museum, you will certainly remember the railway carriage standing next to the museum. This commemorates the various convoys that left here during the Second World War. 25,490 Jews and 353 Roma were transported, mainly to Auschwitz-Birkenau.

What was once a symbol of modernity became a key factor in the genocide during the Second World War. We will zoom in on the role and image of these trains on this symbolic spot on 26 April.


09:00: Registration

09:30: Welcome and introduction by Annelies Beck
Flemish journalist and writer

Session 1: Departure

09:50 – 10:10: Deportation from the Dossin barracks by Laurence Schram
Senior Researcher at Kazerne Dossin

10:10 – 10:30: ‘A lesser – or a greater evil?’ by Nico Wouters
The National Railway Company of Belgium and the deportations during WWII
Head of CegeSoma – State Archives in Belgium

10:30 – 10:50: Q&A moderated by Annelies Beck

10:50 – 11:10: coffee break

11:10 – 11:40: 3 moments in the deportation history of Belgium and Northern France

  • Left Behind: the deportation rate of obligatory slave labourers and their families – Dorien Styven (Archivist at Kazerne Dossin)
  • Save the children (September 11, 1942) – Grégory Célerse (Historian and Researcher for the Resistance Museum (Bondues, France) and Rails et histoire (Paris, France))
  • The attack on the XXth convoy – Koen Aerts (Professor and Researcher UGent and CegeSoma)

11:40 – 12:00: Q&A moderated by Annelies Beck

12:00 – 13:00: Lunch break

Session 2: Changing images on trains

13:00 – 13:20: From “passenger car” to “wagon”: the misleading deception of deportation by Johan Puttemans
Pedagogical Coordinator at the Auschwitz Foundation

13:20 – 13:30: Q&A moderated by Annelies Beck

13:45 – 14:10: Visit to the Memorial with Alicja Gescinska
Author and Philosopher

14:25 – 14:50: Q&A moderated by Annelies Beck

14:50 – 15:10: coffee break

Session 3

15:10 – 16:00: Roundtable on the representation of trains and stations in Holocaust memory
Frédéric Crahay (Director Auschwitz Foundation)
Hannes Vanwymelbeke (Head of the Memory Service of the War Heritage Institute)
Alicja Gescinska (Author and Philosopher)

16:00 – 17:00: ‘Déportés de Malines à Auschwitz’ by Frédéric Crahay
The importance of witnesses and the screening of the documentary of the Auschwitz Foundation
Director Auschwitz Foundation

17:00 – 17:15: Closing remarks

  • Tuesday 26.04.2022, 09:00
  • English
  • Kazerne Dossin
  • 8h
  • € 12
  • Lunch is included.