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The latest landmark on Boston’s Freedom Trail? A Nazi railcar

Plans for a Boston Holocaust museum include an exhibit, visible to passerby, centered on a Nazi car used to transport Shoah victims

On a stroll along Boston’s Freedom Trail, visitors may soon pass a symbol of freedom’s antithesis: A Nazi railcar.

This week, the Holocaust Legacy Foundation released the first renderings of a planned Holocaust Museum and Education Center in Boston. The six-story, 33,000-square-foot museum, scheduled to open in early 2026 and designed by the Boston-based Schwartz/Silver Architects, will commemorate the Holocaust and celebrate Jewish life. 

The institution will be Boston’s first official Holocaust museum. In April 2022, Holocaust Legacy Foundation co-founders Jody Kipnis and Todd Ruderman purchased a three-story complex in downtown Boston in the hopes of establishing the Holocaust Museum and Education Center. 

The building’s exterior will be enveloped by a “stainless-steel woven metal fabric,a Holocaust Legacy Foundation press release said, intended to evokethe curtains that remained drawn in Jewish households at the time of the Nazi rise to power, and the fences that surrounded the death camps and kept Jewish prisoners enslaved.” 

Protruding onto the street will be a bay window displaying an authentic Nazi railcar used to transport Jews to concentration camps during the Holocaust. Passersby at Boston Common will be able to see museum visitors entering the railcar, but not exit — a detail intended to symbolize the fate of Jews in the Shoah.

“From the street, spectators will witness the history of the Holocaust in the moment that freedom is lost,” said Kipnis in the press release. “This will serve as a powerful reminder of the dangers of allowing prejudice and hatred to go unchallenged.”

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