‘Breivik made a mistake when he spared me’

“Breivik made a mistake when he spared me, if you look at it from his perspective,” Adrian Pracon, 21, told the Oslo district court on the 25th day of the right-wing extremist’s trial.

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On July 22 last year, Breivik first bombed a government building in Oslo, killing eight people, before going to Utoeya island, northwest of the capital, where he opened fire on young people taking part in a summer camp hosted by the ruling Labour Party’s youth wing (AUF).

Sixty-nine people died on the island, most of them teenagers. The youngest victim had just celebrated her 14th birthday.

As the now 33-year-old confessed killer looked on, Pracon told the court Friday he had become far more politically active since the massacre, contrary to Breivik’s stated goal of strangling support for the Labour Party, which he blames for making Norway a multicultural society and laying the foundation for a “Muslim invasion”.

“The Labour Party is even dearer to me today,” Pracon said.

Eloquently, he told the court how on July 22 he had first tried in vain to swim to safety through the icy water surrounding Utoeya.

When he surfaced he had been almost face-to-face with the killer who was standing on the shore, shooting at the youths in the water screaming: “I will kill you all!”.

When Breivik turned towards him, Pracon, out of breath and still in the water begged him: “No, don’t shoot!”.

The killer, only five or six metres (16-20 feet) away, had raised his weapon and taken aim: “It looked like he was unsure whether to shoot me in the heart or the head.”

But then, after an eternal moment during which he was certain he would die, Pracon saw Breivik suddenly turn and walk away, before he heard other shots as the killer continued his massacre despite pleas from the frantic campers.

Later shot in the shoulder as he pretended to be dead at another spot on the island, the young survivor told the court he was still haunted by the question of why he had been spared.

“The question of why I was saved when others begged for their lives but were not, is a heavy strain,” he said.

At the beginning of his 10-week trial, which began on April 16, Breivik had told the court he had spared Pracon because he reminded him of himself as a boy and because, according to the killer, he looked like a conservative and not a “cultural Marxist” like the others on the island.

On Friday, Pracon said he did not believe this explanation, but could not provide another answer to the question that haunts him.

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