Simon Gronowski's Great Escape from the 20th Nazi Convoy
Meet Simon Gronowski, a 92-year-old jazz pianist and lawyer from Brussels, and, above all, a Holocaust survivor who escaped from a deportation train to Auschwitz.
At the age of eleven, Simon Gronowski was locked in a cattle wagon with his mother and about fifty other people after a month’s imprisonment at the Dossin Barracks in Mechelen for the crime of being Jewish.
The train they had been herded onto was bound for the extermination camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the twentieth such mass deportation of Jews from Belgium. But this train trip would be unique in World War II. The twentieth convoy became the only deportation train in the entire continent to be attacked and stopped by resistance fighters, allowing around a hundred people to escape. Simon Gronowski was one of them.
In this podcast, the 92-year-old Holocaust survivor tells us the story of his spectacular escape from a deportation train to Auschwitz, why he befriended the son of Flemish Nazi supporters, and reminds us why we should remain vigilant against political extremism.
Behind the scenes as we interview Simon Gronowski, with his grandson Romain assisting with translation. © Dominique Reviglio
The jazz music you hear in the podcast is played by Simon Gronowski. © Dominique Reviglio
Simon's grandson Romain De Nys, Joe Wegecsanyi (Republic of Amsterdam Radio), Simon Gronowski, Julian Smith (Republic of Amsterdam Radio) and photographer Dominique Reviglio. © Dominique Reviglio
Train car outside of the Dossin Barracks in Mechelen, used for the deportation of Jews. © Dominique Reviglio