We went to tour Auschwitz-Birkenhau concentration camps today. The bus ride is about 1-1 1/2hr outside of Krakow. The countryside is picturesque.
I’ve read more than a few books about the holocaust and even toured a camp outside of Berlin before, but I was still not emotionally prepared for this tour. The guided tour was obviously informative, but had a more intimate focus on the prisoners themselves. That, along with the actual clothing, items, and hair of the victims, the sheer fact that they were simply here to be exterminated, was put “in your face”.
I fought back the tears and I was not the only one.
Entering the Auschwitz camp, the sign reads, “Work will set you free”.
The execution wall.
The gas chamber.
The Birkenhau camp is just massive rows of prisoner blocks housing prisoners before gassing them in the chambers.
The foundations of the blocks are all that is left, but some are still standing.
Over 1,000,000 people (mostly Jews) died in these 2 camps alone. 75% were killed upon arrival. Approximately 7,000 survived.
Rows of people, their faces and names.
The paperwork of the people brought to Auschwitz.
The ashes of one representing all.