It was moving to see Alex RosÃ©n’s first meeting withAuschwitz og Birkenau. We visited Block 13, a building dedicated to the destiny of the Roma and the Sinti people during the evil regime of the Nazis. He was dressed in white, I in black. When we arrived, there was good summer weather, but then a thunderstorm came with heavy rain and winds. We were weather-bound in the building that tells the story of the liberation of Auschwitz. The 60. Russian army opened the gates on the 27th of January 1945, after one million people had been exterminated in this atrocity’s concentration camp.
We ran further through the rain to Block 5, where the belongings of the prisoners are exhibited. Wanda guided us through the worst testimony of humanity’s malice. This is where I wanted the journey to start, we are travelling into the sphere of the of the Roma people, and are on our way to Romania. Gypsies, or “the abhorred people”, are the one we are going to visit.
Tomorrow it will just be a day of transportation. Alex, Øystein from NRK, Per and Magnus, we are all going to Romania and we are driving. Nine hours on the road through Europe’s backyard are ahead of us.
We are guided thoroughly through Auschwitz and Birkenau. We are up inside a watch tower where one can see how large Birkenau was. Surviving concentration camp prisoners who got to see the camp from this angle didn’t know how large it was. They mostly stayed around their barrack and never saw the camp from the lookout.
There is only one row with barracks left in original condition. In every barrack there was room for 500 prisoners. It was a struggle to get the centre beds, so one would get away from the moist and filth from the dirt floor or the rain from the leaky roofs. The rest of the camp is like scary theatre scenery where only the chimneys are left. A crowd of tourists are guided here.
We are inside a lavatory barrack dimensioned for 2500 prisoners. It is hard to imagine the sufferings that took place here. The Roma and the Sinti people stayed in a separate section in Birkenau under the protection of dr Mengele. He was especially interested in twins from this minority, whom he exposed to the most grotesque medical experiments. It is inconceivable that this took place in Europe in our near history.
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