A tourist attraction popular with children has sparked fury by displaying a model railway version of Auschwitz complete with cattle trucks, labourers’ huts and barbed wire.
A Holocaust survivor was among those to criticise Birmingham’s Wonderful World of Trains and Planes for the ‘crass’ miniature railway set of the infamous concentration camp.
The static train set is a dark addition to the intricate village green, mountain and woodland rail layouts at the venue, which is popular with children and model enthusiasts.
The detailed model of Auschwitz, where at least 1.3million people were slaughtered during the Second World War, shows a train entering the Nazi death camp.
The model of the camp where around a million Jews were murdered is situated next to a 1930s seaside scene and Swinging Sixties London in the tourist attraction.
The exhibit claims it ‘will take you on a journey of adventure past, present and future’.
Mala Tribich, a survivor of both Ravensbrück and Bergen-Belsen concentration camps who now gives talks on the traumatic experiences, also criticised the model railway.
The 84-year-old said: ‘What are they trying to say? They used trains in wartime and trains played a very big part in the Holocaust, they could not have done what they did without trains.
‘They were moving millions of people, but then you have to show the whole exhibition in a different context. As it is, it is useless, frivolous, even.’
Visitor to the attraction Simon Hardy said: ‘It’s just unthinking and crass. Totally bizarre, those are the only words for it.
Peter Smith, managing director of Birmingham’s Wonderful World of Trains and Planes, defended the piece and said it had proven popular with visitors.
He said: ‘It’s gone down very well. I have seen people in tears as they realise that without the trains the Holocaust would not have happened.