This is a story of past and future kind of coincidentally meeting.
Stanley Black, born in the United States, is a well-known Los Angeles business man and a philanthropist who strongly supports the Jewish nation and Israel. At a young age, he heard and learned about the Holocaust from afar but the images and the reportage on the Jewish people tragedy had left an indelible mark on him.
Inspired and influenced by the Whitwell Middle School Paper Clips/Children Holocaust Memorial Project, Mr. Black decided to purchase a train boxcar in which, like sardines, Jews were transported to their death in Nazi Concentration Camps. Many Jews died on the diabolic transport trip in those cars overloaded with human beings. For Mr. Black the Nazi boxcar is a symbol of the suffering of Jews, which he staunchly believes must be for eternity memorialized.
With the help of a friend residing in Poland, Mr. Black found one of the very last remaining authentic boxcars left in a forest in Poland. After tough negotiations with the Polish government he purchased the car and it was loaded on a ship to arrive in Long Beach, California port. While en route passing the Panama Canal and nearing California port, Mr. Black was seeking a home for the Car to no avail.
University campuses UCLA and USC denied him a home for the boxcar; the Simon Wiesenthal Center/Museum of Tolerance, an ideal place for such a boxcar did not have the land space for it. Then it was suggested to Mr. Black to place the Car on the grounds of JETS School, the name stands for Jewish Educational Trade School, located on nine acres of grounds, in Granada Hill, San Fernando Valley, Los Angeles County, California, a short distance from the President Reagan Library. And so it was.
On Sunday, June 5th, 2016, a large crowd gathered on the JETS School grounds, including Holocaust survivors. They came to attend the dedication of the Joyce and Stanley Black Memorial Park and the unveiling of the Warsaw-Auschwitz Transport Car. presenters Toni Luskin and husband Bernard, counselor of Ventura County College District, From Darkness to Light JETS’ Testimonial Dinner and to celebrate the JETS’ vision of a bright future for Jewish youths.
Len and Selma Fisch were honored with the Visionaries and Founders Award, for being the trailblazers in the founding of the JETS School.
JETS school for boys is the dream come true of Rabbi Mayer Schmukler and the labor of love the rabbi and his wife Leah. Here, 150 students seek a promising future supported by methodical professional guidance.
Mitchell Englander, Council President Pro Tempore reminded the audience that the school is located on the grounds of what used to be the North Valley Jewish Community Center (JCC). On August 10th, 1999 a shooting took place at the center, when Buford O. Furrow, Jr., a white supremacist, walked into the lobby of the Center and opened fire with a semiautomatic weapon, firing 70 shots into the complex. The gunfire wounded five people: three children, a teenage counselor, and an office worker. The center closed its doors and the property was designated to an affordable housing project. Mr. Englander fought hard to preserve the property Judaism related. Then came Rabbi Schmukler with his vision. He met with the property owner, Mr. Thomas Safrin, and convinced him of his Jewish school’s revolutionary vision. The idea is that not all religious Jewish boys can or will become a rabbi or a Jewish scholar. Bearing that in mind JETS School offers Jewish learning combined with teaching a vocation.
The 30-foot, Five Ton Warsaw-Auschwitz Transport Car
The images of cattle-cars, which were sadistically used to transport millions of Jews, gathered from German-occupied Europe, on days-long agonizing journeys to Nazi concentration and extermination camps is heart scorching. The transported were deprived of food, water and sanitary conditions; they suffered from intense heat when they took the journey in the windowless car during the summer and freezing temperatures in the winter. Many of the transported men, women and children perished in the over-loaded boxcars before the trains reached the death trapping destinations.
Of the thousands of cattle-cars used in the execution of Hitler and his Nazi murdering of Jews “The Final Solution” system, only a handful remain in existence. One of those cars which was used to transport victims from Warsaw to Auschwitz, was salvaged and brought to the United State though the efforts of Mr. Stanley Black. The choice to have the boxcar on the JETS School grounds is symbolic to Jewish youths being prepared for a bright and promising future, erasing the darkness their brethren faced.
Dark Past of Warsaw-Auschwitz Transport Car Meets its Challenge at the JETS School
The boxcar is about memorializing one murdered Jewish child, at the time, by the Nazis. All in all 1.5 million Jewish children under the age of 16 perished. The echo in the Nazi boxcar enshrines the survival of the Jewish people and its continuity is Jewish education at the JETS Jewish education and Trade School.
While vocation is not a replacement for Judaism, Jewish students attending JETS is a statement to Jewish continuity, dignity and ability of supporting oneself.
At the JETS school, apart from creating a professional future for generations to come, the understood message of Transforming Darkness to Light is now duly memorialized and celebrated.