Jews arrested, held at Auschwitz
Quite an ordeal!
Riccardo Pacifici and a TV crew who were found trying to escape Auschwitz after they had been locked in following filming for an anniversary show.
Pacifici, the leader of Rome’s many Jews and whose grandparents had died in Auschwitz, the Nazi death camp, realised that he and the crew were trapped at around 11pm on International Holocaust Remembrance Day.
They had not realised that the museum is locked up at night.
RIGHT: Riccardo Pacifici and his TV crew set off a security alarm when they eventually tried to escaped through ticket-office window
Mr Pacifici was trapped with the television host and Jewish community spokesman, Fabio Perugia, along with two technicians, and spent an hour outside in freezing temperatures of -9 degrees – screaming and shouting in an attempt to alert someone that they needed help.
The group then attempted to leave through a ticket-box office window, which triggered alarms and caused museum guards to arrive with several Polish police officers.
But their nightmare wasn’t over…
But, far from being freed as they had expected, the Italians found themselves being subject to interrogation at Auschwitz until 2:30am.
LEFT: Auschwitz must be an eerie place to be locked up on a cold winter’s night, but being found was not the end of their experience…
But language barriers prevented the security guards and police from being able to satisfy themselves of the men’s bona fides.
So, the Italian contingent’s next step was to be escorted to a police station where they met up with an interpreter, a member of the Italian Foreign Ministry and one from the the Italian Embassy in Warsaw.
Three more hours of questioning
They were questioned for another three hours at the police station before eventually being released at around 6am.
Perugia told media that they had been treated “roughly” as though they were criminals, while Pacifici tweeted about the situation, calling it a “disgrace” and criticising the way they had been handled by the local police.
The latter later tweeted a message of gratitude to the Italian president for apparently telephoning him after the ordeal.