German schoolchild of Romany background living with foster family in Hamburg, Germany, 9/1939-4/1944; inmate in Zigeunerfamilienlager, Auschwitz II-Birkenau Concentration Camp, Poland, 4/1944-8/1944 and Ravensbruck Concentration Camp, Germany, 8/1944-9/1944; schoolchild in Hamburg, Germany, 9/1944-5/1945
REEL 1 Background in Hamburg, Germany, 1935-1939: life with foster family; character of foster family. Recollections of period as schoolchild in Hamburg, Germany, 9/1939-4/1944: construction of air raid shelter; issue of gas masks; attitude towards British; blackout; omnipresence of Adolf Hitler; foster father's political outlook; prejudice against Gypsies; degree of awareness of Romany heritage; Allied bombing raids on Hamburg, 7/1943-8/1943; evacuation with foster sister to Barth after Allied air raids; story of Gestapo attempt to deport her to concentration camp and rescue by foster father, 1943.
REEL 2 Continues: reaction to being amongst gypsy deportees. Recollections of period as inmate in Zigeunerfamilienlager, Auschwitz II-Birkenau Concentration Camp, Poland, 4/1944-8/1944: foster parent's explanation to her on deportation from Hamburg; description of journey in cattle truck; arrival in camp; showering; German selection of arrivals; allocation of clothes; staying under protection of 'privileged' gypsy inmate Wanda; physical conditions of inmates.
REEL 3 Continues: description of barrack block; reaction to imprisonment; importance of relationship with Wanda; sight of column of Jewish inmates on route to gas chambers; reaction to meeting biological siblings; story of disposing of Wanda's soup; nature of relationship with Wanda; gypsy entertainments; hearing adult inmates discussing extermination; discovery of wooden hut full of dead bodies; description of paths in camp; inmate suicides.
REEL 4 Continues: sight of female inmate being dragged to camp hospital; death of her three biological siblings in camp; selection for transportation; dismantling of elements of camp; witnessing German extermination of camp, 1/8/1944; walk through camp to train station, 2/8/1944. Recollections of period as inmate in Ravensbruck Concentration Camp, 8/1944-9/1944: journey in cattle truck to camp; long wait to enter barracks; being thrown by kapo onto bunk with five women and having an accident; kindness of Czech female inmates; crying for first time during imprisonment; psychological condition; rations.
REEL 5 Continues: arrival of food parcel from foster parents; sharing contents with sick child; description of roll calls; state of mind during incarceration; story of narrowly missing out on chance of obtaining new clothes and shoes from 'Kanada' store; reasons for post-war removal of camp tattoo; preparations for release from camp, 27/9/1944; arrival of foster father to collect her; journey from camp to Hamburg, 9/1944. Recollections of period as schoolchild in Hamburg, Germany, 9/1944-5/1945: reaction of foster parents to her relating experiences of time in concentration camps; return to school.
REEL 6 Continues: reaction to teacher enquiring about tattoo; suicidal thoughts; risks foster father took to obtain her release. Recollections of period as civilian in Hamburg, Germany, 1945-1963: post-war compensation process and discovery of part Gypsy origin; fate of biological mother; arrival of British forces, 5/1945; receiving Red Cross parcels; influx of German refugees from eastern Germany; presence of bomb sites in Hamburg until 1963; marriage and loss of child in road accident; background to move to GB, 1963 and meeting second husband. Reflections on Holocaust experience: psychological effects of experiences; attitude towards prejudice against Germans.
REEL 7 Continues: prejudice against Gypsies; attitude towards Romany origins; question of degree of awareness of Gypsy experience of Holocaust; role of Deutsche Sinti und Roma (DSR) organisation in Germany; visit to site of Auschwitz II-Birkenau, 1994; contact with sister through Red Cross, 1961; question of not receiving psychiatric treatment on offer to Jewish survivors.
One of the most memorable elements of the Holocaust Exhibition is the video testimony by survivors which accompanies visitors along the route. But what happened to the survivors after the Second World War? How did they rebuild their lives in the years that followed their release from Nazi persecution?
As the Allies advanced across Europe at the end of the Second World War, they came across concentration camps filled with sick and starving prisoners. The first major camp to be liberated was Majdanek near Lublin, Poland in July 1944.