Enter Alois Brunner
Woe is wondrously clinging: the clouds ride by. -- Anonymous
For almost a month after Alma's arrest, the record bears no trace of her existence. There is no evidence that she was tortured in the Dijon prison, but the practice was common. Word eventually reached Holland that she had suffered excruciatingly in Dijon and never fully recovered.
She and Martin were transported separately to an internment camp at Drancy, a satellite city still under construction on the Saint-Denis Road in the northeast suburbs of Paris. During the war years, seventy-six thousand Jews would be deported from Drancy, which the French memorialized as "the antechamber of the death camps." Most were sent to Auschwitz.
Drancy entry records of 12 January 1943 list Martin's and Alma's names. The latter is misspelled yet unmistakable: "Van Leeven Boomkamp, Alma (Rosé) -- Hol. -- 3.11.06 -- Vienne -- Utrecht (Hollande)." 1 Alma's birthdate, 3 November 1906, was given correctly, as were her birthplace ( Vienna) and last residence ( Utrecht). For the first time in her life, Alma Rosé became an anonymous cipher: at Drancy, she was 18,547.
It was a busy day at the camp. There were fifty admissions and three departures. A fifty-seven-year-old woman died, and two prisoners were freed.
The Drancy complex consisted of five tall concrete buildings surrounded by wire fencing. Internees were held in four buildings in the center, which French police guarded and administered for the Gestapo. In these stark surroundings, Martin observed his twenty-fourth birthday five days after his arrival.
Political events had diverted the complex from its original purpose of providing low-cost housing. The Third Republic used it to house Communist prisoners, then the Germans used it for French prisoners of war. Finally it became the stopping point for a helpless mass of men, women, and children -- Communists, Jews, and "friends of Jews" whose crime was to oppose Nazi policies.