This train platform was originally used for loading and unloading trains carrying mail. But between 1943 and 1945, it took on a much more sinister role. It was from platform 21 in Milan’s Central Station that Jews and other persecuted peoples were carted off to Nazi concentration camps during World War II.
During the Shoah (Holocaust), Jews, leftists, homosexuals, and the disabled were rounded up and loaded into cattle cars. They were then trucked off to concentration camps like Auschwitz, Mauthausen, and Bergen Belsen or other deportation points at Fossoli and Bolzano.
Now, the platform has been preserved by the Shoah Memorial Foundation as a Holocaust memorial. There, an exhibit presents information about people’s stories as well as an overview of events that occurred in this area. Railway cars have been preserved on the rails, and visitors can walk through the cars that deported thousands away from their homes.
In addition, there are small, intimate viewing rooms that play a series of short videos. The videos include historical information as well as interviews with survivors. Names of the deported individuals are displayed on the wall at the back of the station. The exhibit is still being expanded and enhanced as funds allow.
Know Before You Go
All the information presented in the memorial is written in Italian. No English translations are available. If you are facing the entrance to Milano Centrale Railway Station, the entrance to the memorial will be found on the right side of the building, about 350 meters. You will pass the bus stops and the Sartori Gelateria. Cost of admission: adults - €10, students - €5, children up to six years old - free. Hours without reservation are: Monday 10:00 to 7:30 (last entrance 7:00) (Guided tour at 6:30); Tuesday though Thursday 10:00-2:30; and the first Sunday of the month 10:00 to 6:00 (Guided tours at 10, 11, 12, 35, 4, and5). Reservations can be made by contacting: firstname.lastname@example.org or 02 28 20 975.