(photo credit: REUTERS)
The head of Rome's Jewish community and a TV crew spent a horrifying night in Auschwitz on Tuesday after being locked inside, following the official ceremony held there commemorating 70 years since the camp's liberation.
Riccardo Pacifici, the head of Rome's Jewish community, was trapped inside the infamous death camp alongside journalist David Parenzo and three members of an Italian film crew, according to Italy's ANSA news agency
They were at the site filming a live episode for the Italian TV show Matrix and had already acquired the necessary authorization to film there.
Around 11:00 p.m., however, as taping finished up, it became clear that they were locked inside the camp and that security guards had already left for the evening.
Calls for help went unanswered as temperatures continued to drop in the freezing complex near Krakow, Poland where 1.5 million people were murdered during the Holocaust. Crew members eventually broke a window to get out, setting off an alarm in the process.
Police arrived at the scene and questioned the five Italians for hours. During the incident, Pacifici managed to tweet about the unfolding situation, saying "We have been held by Polish police for an hour inside Auschwitz after filming Matrix. A disgrace."
"The crime is not "intrusion" but exiting without waiting for Auschwitz security, who was already gone!! There are three ranks of Police here," Pacifici wrote as more and more police officers arrived at the scene.
Hours later, Italian diplomats managed to secure the group's release from police custody and the crew quickly headed back to Rome.
Pacifici later wrote a message of gratitude to Italy's president Pietro Grasso, saying "Thank you to president @PietroGrasso for his kind call of solidarity after my harsh experience at Auschwitz."