Jewish Leader Arrested Trying to Flee Auschwitz

'Disgrace' as Rome's Jewish community leader gets locked in death camp parents were murdered in, then interrogated by Polish police.

Ari Yashar ,

Auschwitz (file)
Auschwitz (file)
Flash 90

Riccardo Pacifici, the leader of Rome's Jewish community and the grandson of victims who were murdered in Auschwitz, found himself locked in the Nazi death camp on Tuesday night, and when he tried to escape he was arrested by Polish police and interrogated.

Pacifici was at the death camp with a TV crew, including host Fabio Perugia of the Jewish community, to film a special show for International Holocaust Memorial Day, which marks the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz.

They finished filming at around 11 p.m., only to find that the gates had been locked on them. After spending an hour in the freezing cold trying to call for help, they tried to exit the camp via a box office window, triggering alarms and bringing the camp's museum guard and Polish police running to the site.

The unfortunate group was held at Auschwitz until 2:30 a.m., with Pacifici managing to post to his Twitter feed at some point during the ordeal "we are being held by the Polish police inside Auschwitz...a disgrace."

They were then interrogated for another three hours at a police station, and only released at 6 a.m. after an interpreter, the Italian Foreign Ministry and the Italian Embassy in Warsaw all got involved.

TV host Perugia told Haaretz that the crew was treated "roughly" as though they had broken the law.

Apparently Italian President Pietro Grasso called Pacifici after the trying experience, with Pacifici posting a Twitter message thanking Grasso for the supporting phone call.