Primo, Luciana, Vanda and Franco arrived there after a 4-day journey and Franco and Primo were immediately separated from the women. They said quick goodbyes on the platform of the judenrampe, expecting to see each other again soon. Franco and Primo were assigned to Monowitz, the industrial plant that was part of the Auschwitz complex. Luciana and Vanda entered Birkenau, the heart of the extermination process, with its huge mass murder structures consisting of gas chambers and crematory ovens which in February 1944 were fully operational. Only 10% of the passengers of each convoy entered the camp: all the others were gassed. For the four friends it was an indescribable experience. Luciana and Primo were lucky in that they were able to work, she as a doctor in the camp infirmary, and he in the Monowitz chemical laboratory. Franco and Vanda were less fortunate. Vanda was condemned from the very start: within a very short time she was reduced to skin and bones. Luciana went to see her every evening but was able to do very little for her. In August, Luciana left the hell that was Birkenau. She was sent to Hessisch Licthenau, a sub-camp linked to Buchenwald and returned to Italy in July 1945. Vanda died in one of the last gassings in the autumn of 1944. Franco survived the camp, but during the evacuation of Auschwitz in January 1945, he was killed near Gleiwitz. Primo returned to Turin in October 1945 after wandering around Europe. Luciana wrote in her account of life in Birkenau “All that remained to us of Franco and Vanda were two photographs.”


Multimedia interactive exhibition
Turin • 27 January | 20 March 2010
Fossoli • 25 April | 11 July 2010
5-20 September 2010
Roma • 12 October | 27 Novembre 2010