Baltimore, MD – American Roll-On Roll-Off Carrier’s (ARC) M/V ARC Independence discharged a World War II-era railcar last week at the Port of Baltimore bound for permanent display in Danville, Iowa due to the town’s historical connection with Anne Frank.
The railcar was loaded onto the ARC Independence at the port of Bremerhaven, Germany and is now being transported by truck from the port of Baltimore, Maryland to Danville, Iowa, by Anderson Trucking Service (ATS) where it will then be put on permanent display and become part of Holocaust education at the Danville Station Library & Museum.
The town of Danville is located about 80 miles south of Davenport, Iowa and is becoming a hub of education about the Holocaust due to its connection with Anne Frank. In 1939, a teacher in Danville named Miss Birdie Mathews initiated a pen pal exchange for her class. Juanita Wagner, a student who was 10 years old at the time, picked the name of a girl from the list who was her own age that lived in Amsterdam. Wagner chose a girl named Anne Frank, who kept a diary of her two years in hiding in Amsterdam with her family before they were eventually betrayed and sent to concentration camps; of her family, only Anne’s father survived the Holocaust.
The historical railcar was found in Moers, Germany and was then moved to Duisburg where it was refurbished by Die Schmiede, a company specializing in landmarks of technical culture. Die Schmiede previously refurbished a similar railcar from the era that is currently on display at the Auschwitz-Birkenau (former German Nazi Concentration and Extermination Camp) Memorial and Museum in Poland.
Historically significant railcars such as this have a powerful effect on museumgoers as they make history real and allow one to imagine the horrors of war and transports that often lasted for many days in extremely crowded freight cars. In a recent Quad-City Times article, Danville Station Library & Museum director Janet Hesler remarked, “We hope that people learn from this exhibit. We want the children to read and learn so something like the Holocaust will never happen again.”
U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) also recently recognized the Danville community and the Jewish Federation of the Quad Cities for their grassroots-based effort to secure the railcar for the Danville Station Holocaust exhibit. “Without a doubt, this restored, authentic rail car will serve as a profound reminder about the atrocities of the Holocaust. We must learn from history to avert the mistakes of the past. Never again can society ignore religious intolerance. By bringing this rail car across the world to Danville, this Iowa community is bringing a piece of history to life so that our children and grandchildren can learn from history for a more peaceful, just future.”
Christopher J. Barber, Senior Director, Cargo Preference Sales for ARC said, “ATS is a long-time valued partner of ARC’s, and we look forward to continuing our partnership well into the future and collaborating on important projects like this one.”
ARC provides Government Services including global logistics and shipping services. ARC and its U.S. affiliates own and manage the largest U.S.-flag Roll-On Roll-Off (Ro-Ro) fleet. This includes providing American-owned, managed, and crewed Ro-Ro shipping and intermodal services committed to the requirements of the Department of Defense, other U.S. Government departments and agencies, and commercial customers.