Shoah Memorial of Milan

The Shoah Memorial of Milan, Italy, is located deep within the city’s Central Station on a sublevel below the main tracks. It was here that deportees arriving from San Vittore prison were loaded onto livestock cars.

It is a place symbolizing the deportation of the Jews and other persecuted peoples to concentration or death camps. It is a place for memory and awareness, a multifunctional center for conferences, seminars and exhibitions so that past atrocities will never find refuge in oblivion. Most importantly, it is a venue for dialogue and interchange among cultures, teaching the new generations to overcome linguistic, cultural and social barriers so that the extremes of brutality witnessed in the twentieth century—the Shoah being the absolute nadir of human barbarity—can never happen again.

The space of the Memorial is part of a vast subterranean train yard of twenty–four parallel tracks originally used for mail wagons. It is laid out on two levels: the ground floor and mezzanine (approx. 6,000 sqm) and the sublevel (approx. 1,000 sqm). Between late 1943 and early 1945, twenty RSHA trains, composed of livestock cars packed with thousands of prisoners, left from these tracks.

The Place

The Wall of Names


Today, the Stolpersteine—initiative of the German artist Gunter Demnig as a response to denial and oblivion—is Europe’s largest decentralized monument dedicated to the victims of the Nazi genocide, whatever the reason for their persecution: religion, race, political ideas, sexual orientation.

Literally “stumbling stones”, the Stolpersteine are 10 x 10 cm blocks of stone bearing a brass plaque set into the ground before the final dwelling places of people deported to the death camps. The plaques are inscribed with the person’s name, date of birth, place and date of deportation, and the date of death. It is one way of keeping alive the memory of the victims of the deportations in a place symbolizing everyday life—the home—while inspiring all those who pass to reflect on what happened in that place on that date, so that it will never be forgotten. Over fifty thousand Stolpersteine have already been placed in Europe.

In Milan the first stones were set before the houses of Gianluigi Banfi, Adele Basevi Lombroso, Dante Coen, Melchiorre De Giuli, Giuseppe Lenzi and Alberto Segre, killed at Auschwitz, Gusen, Nordhausen and Dachau. Today nomerous more have been added.

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