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Page last updated at 13:26 GMT, Thursday, 8 May 2008 14:26 UK

Holocaust memorial journey ends

People on board the "Train of Remembrance" May 08 2008
Hundreds of young people accompanied the train

A train commemorating the thousands of children murdered by the Nazis has ended its journey near the former Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland.

The train, which has been touring Germany since November, features an exhibition of pictures and letters from Holocaust victims.

It is expected to open at the main train station in the town, now known by its Polish name of Oswiecim.

The train was not scheduled to enter the site of the former camp.

Organiser Hans Minow said he felt humbled to have been allowed to finish the journey at the site of the former camp.

"It is not easy to confront ourselves because we are not the victims but we are the sons and daughters of the perpetrators," Mr Minow said.

"We say this knowing that perhaps our fathers and mothers - if not participated - they did not do what they had to do when the crimes started," he added.

Controversy

A wreath-laying ceremony was scheduled at the site where the deportations arrived.

"Train of Remembrance" May 08 2008
The train set off from Frankfurt and has passed through 30 cities

About 230,000 children, mainly Jewish, were deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau during the Second World War.

Hundreds of young people from across Germany accompanied the commemorative train on its final stage.

Earlier in the journey the state-owned rail operator Deutsche Bahn drew heavy criticism from the exhibition's organisers when it refused to allow the train to stop at Berlin's central station in April.

Deutsche Bahn said this would have caused major disruption to normal services. The exhibition took place at Ostbahnhof, the main station of the former East Berlin.

The company also faced criticism over its demand for $110,000 (55,000) in fees for use of its network. The government urged it to drop the charge.

Deutsche Bahn took over responsibility for Germany's rail network from the Nazi-era Reichsbahn, which was used to transport millions of Jews to their deaths in concentration camps.


SEE ALSO
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18 Mar 08 |  Middle East
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24 Jan 08 |  Northern Ireland

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