Auschwitz 'hell on Earth': RT correspondent spends night at Nazi death camp
“It was extremely evocative. Auschwitz [Nazi concentration camp built in occupied Poland] is hell on Earth. And when you go to hell at night and you have the watchtowers and the barbed wire casting their shadows, and almost following you around everywhere, it’s almost terrifying if you like,” Slier said in an interview to RT.
Found by chance, old letters once written by a young Flip Slier took RT journalist on a personal mission to follow her relative’s last path from home to a Nazi death camp.
“I started off to find out what happened to Flip Slier. During the course of my research I found out that 119 members of my family had been killed. Most of them were gassed in Auschwitz. I am talking all about my grandfather’s brothers and sisters, my great-aunts, my great-uncles, my cousins, my great-grandmother,” she said.
Flip was gassed in Sobibor concentration camp in Nazi-occupied Poland. He was only 17 when the Netherlands surrendered to the invading Nazi army. Within two years, he was sent to a labor camp. It was there, hands callused from digging canals, but with access to paper and a pen, he sent the majority of the letters to his parents.
During her investigation Slier met a grandson of Rudolf Hess, a commandant at Auschwitz.
“Essentially I was meeting a grandson of the man who was responsible for killing my family and I felt conflicted about meeting him. But he has separated himself from his family.”
She said the man is using the Hess family name only to spread the message to the world that Auschwitz must not happen again.
“Of course it’s a message I appreciate. I asked him whether or not he thought that the Holocaust could happen again and he said ‘Yes’.”
According to Slier, today we are witnessing the attempts to re-write history, 70 years after the end of WWII.
“And only by finding out what happened to our families, only by recording the testimonies of people who were there ,we with facts can stop this revision of history,” she concluded.
Watch Paula’s story in ‘119 Lives Unlived’ documentary which premieres globally on RTDoc and RT International on May 20.