Gleis 17 (English: Track 17) is a former rail freight yard located at Grunewald Station in western Berlin. This was one of three deportation points for Berlin Jews during World War II.
The deportation of Berlin Jews started in 1941 with around 100 Jews per train. While most were sent to ghettos in Eastern Europe, some were sent directly to concentration camps like Theresienstadt.
Looking at the dates on the memorial, it’s clear that the Nazi authorities did not have sufficient capacity at the destination camps to handle the amount of passengers they wanted to deport. This changed in 1942, when the Auschwitz concentration camp in southern Poland was opened. The Nazis started sending daily trains of 1000 (or more) Jews straight to Auschwitz.
The memorial at Gleis 17 consists of large iron sheets laid next to each other. Each one states the date of a transport (in chronological order), the number of deportees and the final destination. The trees and vegetation around the memorial has been left to grow as a reminder that no train will ever depart from these platforms again.
The Gleis 17 shows the Holocaust in a slightly different perspective when you realize that the enormous amount of Jews that were deported here were from Berlin and not elsewhere. These types of deportations happened in every village, town and city across Germany. The platforms at Grunewald Station deported over 50,000 Jews in total, almost all were eventually killed by the Nazis.
Gleis 17 at Grunewald Station
Wikipedia: Deutsche Bahn Gleis 17
Address: Grunewald Station, 14055
How to get there
Take the S-Bahn or Regional Train to Grunewald Station, walk downstairs and turn left. Platform 17 is the last platform in the station and is well marked for visitors to find.
S-Bahn: S75, S1
Regional Train: RE1, RE7, RB21, RB22
Within 10 minutes walk