AUSCHWITZ, POLAND — A train set out July 3 from Auschwitz, where the Nazis murdered 1.5 million people, mostly Jews, in World War II death camps, to cross Europe with the message that young people should reject race-hate and bigotry.
It was among six such trains leaving from around the Continent to combat racism, xenophobia, anti-Semitism, and intolerance as part of a youth campaign initiated by the Council of Europe with the slogan "All different, all equal."
The European Youth Trains, stopping at major stations on their way to be met by crowds, will promote discussions, present theater workshops, play music, and educate. They are carrying hundreds of people from 42 countries.
On July 9, the trains from Dublin, Athens, Stockholm, Warsaw, Auschwitz, and Algericas, Spain will converge at Strasbourg, France, for the start of a European Youth Week.
Each of the trains, setting out simultaneously, has a different theme. The Auschwitz train carries pictures supplied by the European Jewish Congress, including some portraying the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp. Unlike the others, which carry delegations and give other young people shorter rides, this Train of Collective European Memory carries no passengers.
The Warsaw train is carrying people from countries of the former Soviet Union and its satellites. They will encourage discussion of the problems of democratic development in post-communist Europe.
The Algericas train will stress cooperation between Europe and North Africa, focusing on the problem of immigrants.
Dublin's is dealing with European unity. Stockholm's, carrying people from Scandinavia and the Baltic states, will promote cultural freedom, and Athens's focuses on beliefs.