Today we received sad news: Pascal Valliccioni; who had been prisoner of the Neuengamme concentration camp, passed away at the age of 92 on February 27, 2019. Last May he visited the Neuengamme Concentration Camp Memorial on occasion of the 73rd anniversary of the liberation. He not only talked to young people about his life, above that he wrote an impressive speech about his time as a concentration camp prisoner which was read to the audience by his daughter.
On April 5, 1944, Pascal Valliccioni was arrested at the age of 17. Before his deportation to the Neuengamme concentration camp, he was imprisoned in the prisons of Gap, Les Baumette and Fort Hattry. Up to his date of death he was haunted by the memory of the organized dehumanization, of the emotional distress and the humiliation by the SS. He always remembered September 1, 1944: “within a few seconds I stopped being a human being, I was nothing. Just number 43778. A ‘piece’- the expression the SS found for us when she counted us over and over again on the parade ground.” Valliccioni belonged to a group of French prisoners which was transferred to the Wilhelmshaven satellite camp. After closing the camp, the SS forced the prisoners on a death march of 330 kilometers length, which ended at the Sandbostel camp which now quickly turned into a death camp. After the liberation, Valliccioni and his fellow prisoners were looked after by the Swedish Red Cross and sent to Malmö for rehabilitation and recreation on May 10, 1945.
During the 2018 commemoration Pascal Valliccioni ended his speech with a question about the influence of the last time witnesses: Do you know that we bear witness in order to warn you? Do you understand that we do it in order to tell you that hate does not help? How can we protect ourselves? You have to rise up together, build a front, serve a noble purpose: Humanism, respect towards others, reconciliation.”
We mourn Pascal Valliccioni. Our thoughts are with his wife Juliette, his children and his grandchildren.
Overview of the Events on the Occasion of the 73. Anniversary of the End of the War and the Liberation of Concentration Camps (including Valliccionis speech): https://www.kz-gedenkstaette-neuengamme.de/en/news/news/bericht-zum-73-jahrestag-des-kriegsendes-und-der-befreiung-der-konzentrationslager/
Robin Evans about his grandfather: https://reflections.news/the-image-i-have-of-my-grand-father-has-always-been-the-same-that-of-a-hero-therefore-a-role-model/