Life + Style
Model Barn as Holocaust Memento
In 1943, at the age of 26, Kalman Horowitz jumped from a train bound for Treblinka. He had already escaped the Warsaw Ghetto, and would spend the next few years running from Nazis and anti-Semitic Polish townspeople and hiding wherever he could—once, memorably, in a barn.
After the war and now living in New York City, he repeated his story of survival to his children and grandchildren. During the 1980s, after he retired, he had the idea to build a model barn to use as a visual guide when talking to his family or when he visited schools for Yom HaShoah. That model is now in the collections of Yad Vashem in Jerusalem.
“My father would tell these stories and it was like watching a movie,” said his son, Leo Horowitz. “My father was young at that point, when he hid in the barn, and even he told me that he doesn’t know how he did it.”
Yad Vashem learned of the barn last year after Leo Horowitz sent them his book, Refuge: Surviving the Nazi Occupation of Poland–Memoirs of Kalman Horowitz. The barn was requested by the Holocaust museum and research center as part of “Gathering the Fragments,” a campaign to rescue Holocaust-related personal items. While not sure what Yad Vashem will do with his late father’s barn, Horowitz hopes it will go on display eventually.
According to Gad Schaffer, of Yad Vashem’s archives division, all of the more than 185,000 items collected will be preserved and available at Yad Vashem’s media center, and will eventually be available to view online.
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