Today marked the ceremonial unveiling of a commemorative plaque at the former Nordbahnhof of Königsberg (Russian: Kaliningrad) for 465 children, women, and men who were deported in the passenger train »Da 40«, 69 years ago, on June 24, 1942, to the extermination camp Maly Trostenets (near Minsk), where they were killed. Nechama Drober (born 1927 as Hella Markowsky) and Michael Wieck (born 1928) joined the ceremony as the last living Jews of Königsberg who survived both National Socialism and the following »Russian time« after 1945 in the city. Both were eyewitnesses to the deportation through which they lost close friends, relatives, and schoolfellows. The commemorative plaque is a joint project of the Jewish Community of Kaliningrad, the Foundation Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, and the Township Association of Königsberg – with the support of the European Institute Klaus Mehnert of the Kaliningrad State Technical University, the German Consulate General, and the Russian Railways.
Aristide Fenster, General Consul of Germany in Kaliningrad, on the occasion of the unveiling: »Today, Germans and Russians commemorate together the persecution and extermination of the Jews of Königsberg and East Prussia under the National Socialist regime. It is my wish that this may contribute to the ongoing shared process of coming to terms with the past.«
The Russian-German inscription reads:
»In memory of the 465 Jewish children, women, and men of Königsberg and the province of East Prussia who were deported at the hands of the SS from the freight area of the Nordbahnhof to the extermination camp Maly Trostenets on June 24, 1942. It was the first deportation of Jews from Königsberg within the scope of the National Socialist mass murder of the Jews of Europe.
Citizens of Königsberg and Kaliningrad
June 24, 2011«