© Manca Juvan

We came across this large field in our attempt to locate the site of a concentration camp on the island of Rab. Comparing the reality in front of us to the printed old map indicating this camp for civilians, it all seemed so incomprehensibly bigger now.

Then, an unexpected storm approached. Suddenly, I found myself trudging through the marshy grass field, my feet with every further step becoming wetter and wetter. Within moments, while my step was already sinking, I traveled back in time, to the year 1942.

On this island where water was otherwise scarce, a sudden autumn storm then flooded the camp. The section where mainly women, children and elders were stationed was hurt the most. It only took moments, according to the survivors' testimonies, for hundreds of tents to be soaked and blown away, and the interned shouting in panic: The sea's rising, we'll sink!
Flood water was rising so fast that it went up to people's waists, and its force was such that it carried away the children. But, none of them had any other place to go. Children were found next morning on the barbed wire and in the nearby spring. Dead. Drowned.
Soaked myself in only moments from this otherwise normal April weather storm, standing on this very field now barely flooded, I could almost feel the screams and panic which that night storm brought.


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