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European Tram – Warsaw Ghetto 1940

May 5, 2014 in Uncategorized

This is MiniArt’s 1/35 model of a European Tram (38001), converted to a vehicle in the Warsaw Ghetto circa 1940. For specific details of the kit and the build, there’s a WIP thread under the Groups tab, at

German influences can readily be seen in the somewhat menacing authority figure (from a separate MiniArt set). I still intend to add a few additional Jewish figures in due course.

While researching, I did find out about the Warsaw Ghetto trams themselves, and the ‘secret history’ of the Jews at a time when they had become non-citizens, but had not yet reached the point of being sent directly to the death camps as a matter of Nazi extermination policy.

The Ghetto trams were at first segregated between seating for ‘Aryans’ and for Jews, then ‘Jews only’ trams were introduced, with signs indicating the distinction. Gradually, trams were ‘colour coded’ in various formats and the authorities eventually expunged tram route numbers altogether from the usual external placements, leaving only a stark Star of David sign on display, as if to say, “You’re going nowhere.”

As such, there’s a poignancy, where these Jews had the belief that although they were under threat, at least they had reached a place of ‘safety’ together. The history of the Ghetto trams in turn mirrors that of the Jews, where the condition and labelling of a simple form of public transport reflected the political reality of a race facing extinction.

12 additional images. Click to enlarge

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12 responses to European Tram – Warsaw Ghetto 1940

  1. Rob, you have done a damn fine job there.
    Different but also thought provoking.
    Well done.

  2. You sure have captured the feeling of the times with the detailing, weathering and photography. Truly amazing piece of modeling.

  3. Unbelievable presentation Rob. Your attention to detail & weathering is second to none. Love the base. Did it come in the kit?

    • Hi Al,

      The base is with the kit; you may be aware the MiniArt produces a series of these cobbled streets in vacform in various configurations.

  4. i wonder where they were going in the ghetto to need transportation…i guess the rich ones still had a life until it ended abruptly…i’m surprised there was that much movement…i didn’t know there were non Jews in the ghetto other than polish police and German soldiers …they must have had some semblance of normality though you see them slaughtering horses in the street…thought provoking to say the least

  5. A most unique and imaginative build, Rob…I’ve seen many “different” build projects, but this the first time I’ve seen something like this. Nice job, sir.

  6. Nice clean build. You’ve taken a relatively common item in the trolley and transformed it into a thought provoking history lesson. Well done!

  7. Very well thought out model, Rob, impressive and thought provoking to say the least.

  8. Fantastik weathering, how did you make the windows look so grimy
    it all looks really effective
    Cheers Rob

    • Hi Mark. Windows treated with acrylic sealer (Klear) to get smooth glossy surface, then fine pigments (weathering powders) are worked across the window faces, after which a dry cotton bud is used to remove the dust towards the centres to show grime build-up towards corners. Thanks for looking.

  9. Beautiful job, Rob. Very unusual and distinctive. A couple more figures should really set it off !

  10. Rob,
    Very nicely done and a sad but interesting story.

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