Life

Radio review: Chilling revisiting of Auschwitz horrors

Nuala McCann

The Reunion Auschwitz Survivors Radio 4

iPM Struggling to Divorce Radio 4

The reunion that marked the 150th anniversary of this series was chilling.

Sue McGregor interviewed four survivors of the Nazi concentration camp at Auschwitz.

Susan Pollack, Anita Lasker-Wallfisch, Zigi Schipper and Lily Ebert shared their past.

They spoke in a “matter-of-fact” way about the day-to-day horror of their lives.

Things started slowly in the 1930s, one said.

First, her brother could not continue in school because the numbers of Jews in further education was capped, then her father could not get a job.

A woman spoke about how, as a young girl, she stood in line at the concentration camp, waiting to be assessed. Somebody whispered in her ear, “Don't say you're younger than 15”. She stood up tall and lied and said she was 15 and that saved her life.

“There were no hugs, no kisses, no embrace. My mum was just pushed away with the other women and children. The dehumanisation began immediately. I didn't cry, it was as though I'd lost all my emotions,” she said.

They spoke of the terrible gnawing hunger that ate at your insides and how the piece of bread handed out in the camps got smaller and smaller.

Zigi lives with the memory of seeing living human beings thrown onto the flames of crematorium five.

It wasn't an easy listen, but it was worthwhile.

The programme, iPM, starts with the listeners' stories. We heard from two people about their “struggle to divorce”.

After 37 years of marriage, things started to go wrong for Peter and his wife. It took him by surprise, he said, and cited retirement as a pressure and part of the problem.

There followed heartache, pain and stress.

Carol feels like she wasted 30 years of her life. Although she consented to a divorce, it still cost her £60,000 and took three and a half years.

It's very complicated – it's never just ticking boxes and signing papers. It's a rollercoaster of emotions, said Carol.

Both called for a “no fault divorce” - to avoid all the blame and the pain entailed.

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