Blogs from Auschwitz, Lesser Poland, Poland, Europe

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Europe » Poland » Lesser Poland » Auschwitz July 19th 2013

Took the local mini-bus the hour and 40 min journey to Auschwitz, arriving before 10am means that the museum is free. There were already a lot of people there at 8:30am, tour groups as well as independent people. IN fact couldn’t believe the number of people we saw today. The whole experience here was not what I had imagined. I felt moved last year visiting the museum at Hiroshima, I didn’t get the same feelings today, more somber. The camp at Auschwitz is surprisingly intact, 28 or so large brick buildings, today was a lovely sunny day and they are set in lawns with nice trees, all oddly pleasant. Very hard to picture the horror that went on. The museum is well laid out with exhibitions in the various buildings. There were a few personal stories ... read more
Birkenau

Europe » Poland » Lesser Poland » Auschwitz July 17th 2013

Auschwitz ... in a word ... Grim! Auschwitz, the Nazi's largest and most efficient extermination camp, is located about an hours drive from Krakow. I don't usually do this, but I am going to provide you with some terminology. Otherwise, I think the following blog is unnecessarily confusing. I would like to note, however, what a brutal world we live in, when I have to make a clarifying distinction between two types of camps that should not exist at all. "Concentration Camps" were camps established by the Nazis to hold (or "contain"), without trial, labor leaders, opposition party leaders, communists, religious leaders, some Jews (as compared to all Jews), homosexuals, gypsies, captured prisoners and other people in a position to challenge Nazi authority, or whom the Nazis did not like. Many people died in these camps, ... read more
Auschwitz I
More Auschwitz I
Jews Imported From All Europe

Europe » Poland » Lesser Poland » Auschwitz July 6th 2013

I was in the killing fields in Cambodia a few months ago. I was surprised to learn that Pol Pot's regime killed 2-3 million people in Cambodia using brutal force. They didn't want to use bullets because they needed the bullets to shoot at their armed enemies. So, as truckloads of people were brought into the killing fields, they used clubs and knives to kill them. Whereas here in Auschwitz, the Nazis had enough bullets but decided to use deceit and indirection to kill the Jews, because they felt it was more efficient than bullets. When the Jews arrived in Auschwitz, a Nazi doctor would look at each as they walked by, and decide which ones he felt would be healthy enough to work for a few days, months, or weeks before killing them. All others ... read more
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Europe » Poland » Lesser Poland » Auschwitz March 31st 2013

A single movement of a thumb. Either to the left or to the right. Decided the fate of more than a million people during WWII. I visited the Auschwitz concentration camps as part of a spring (Freezing cold, heavy winds, no spring at all.. ) seminar at AGH university, Krakow. We were taken to visit Auschwitz during one of the days, and it will remain etched in my memory forever. Jews, Soviets, Poles, Hispanics, Homosexuals; more than a million of them passed through the gates of Auschwitz Birkenau, the second of the Auschwitz and the one of the largest concentration camps operated during the WWII. The train stops in the middle of the camp and people are herded off towards the central ramp dividing the two rail lines. They stand in a queue, shivering in the ... read more

Europe » Poland » Lesser Poland » Auschwitz August 5th 2011

This morning I was up relatively early, so I wandered around the rest of Old Town before heading back to Auschwitz. I think one of my favourite (if not my favourite) things about Europe, is their Old Towns and the cafes/restaurants with outdoor patios everywhere you go. It's such a perfect way to pass an hour. Or two. Or five. Anyway. I wandered around, took some more photos of the churches and other buildings, the Gate at Florienska and the Barbican. I walked past a statue that had the word Grunewald on it... I couldn't help but think of Grindelwald and Harry Potter. Yes. Nerdom coming through, right there. Ahem. From there I bussed back to Auschwitz to actually see the camp this time. Well worth the trip back. Unlike Birkenau, or Dachau to a lesser ... read more
Florianska Gate
Barbican
"Work makes you free"

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Europe » Poland » Lesser Poland » Auschwitz August 2nd 2011

Right, well I misjudged my time today... but I still had a good day. (photos will be added tomorrow. I'm tired) I got up relatively late, but lounged around in the morning anyway. The hostel makes you breakky whenever you get up, so there's no rushing whatsoever. After planning and looking over a few things on my laptop, I headed out to the bus station. Plan was to visit Auschwitz-Birkenau today. Didn't exactly work out as planned...? I took the bus there without a problem - I got there at 2:30pm thinking I'd have plenty of time. Everything I read said you only need 90min per site (Auschwitz, Birkenau), so I figured I'd have no problem making the last bus back at 6:20pm. Or notttttt. Apparently I take my time at these things... which I do. ... read more
The front Gate
The infamous railroad track
The road to certain death

Europe » Poland » Lesser Poland » Auschwitz July 30th 2011

On a cool grey Polish summer day we went to Auschwitz and nearby Birkenau-Auschwitz ll concentration camps. These are names that for all our lives have been associated with horror and cruelty: humanity’s capability of inhumanity. We went first to Birkenau, where all is left just as it was with very little change, except for some ruined buildings that must have fallen over time. The sheer size of this camp took our breath away. We entered one or two of the accommodation blocks which are open to allow people to see the living conditions of those who suffered here. We walked and we looked, trying to grasp the reality of what we saw. Everywhere in this huge camp there were people also walking and looking, mostly in silence, witnesses to this horror. In the midst of ... read more

Europe » Poland » Lesser Poland » Auschwitz July 9th 2011

After my train trip from Warsaw to Oswiecim, I went and checked into my hotel and put my bags down. Oswiecim is better known by it's German name Auschwitz, The Nazi's largest concentration camp. So I headed out to the camp. After a bit of looking around at the buildings left, I headed off to the Museum to have a look at the exhibition they had on the concentration camp. The museum had pictures of what it would have been like for the Jews when they stayed in the camp. I could only look for about an hour, because it was very sad, and so I then went outside -Sitting in the sunshine but haunted by the souls of the men, woman and children who were killed there.... read more

Europe » Poland » Lesser Poland » Auschwitz July 3rd 2011

Days 43 2nd June Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum, Poland “Nations who forget their own history are sentenced to live it again” Lest we never forget…. Countless words have been written about the Holocaust and many writers have struggled to find adequate words to express their feelings having visited the Polish State Museum Auschwitz-Birkenau. Many of us use the word ‘unbelievable’ but rarely use it in the true sense of the word –beyond belief. Truly I can say that Auschwitz-Birkenau is beyond belief; it IS unbelievable that members of the human race could inflict such atrocities in a calculated, planned, efficient and above all systematic way. It was murder in the first degree. I, like a lot of people of my age, learnt and knew about the Holocaust and concentration camps, not only from history lessons at school ... read more
Arbeit macht frei
Camp Fence
Typical transport. Locked doors, no windows, 4 vent slits on each side. Guard on front.

Europe » Poland » Lesser Poland » Auschwitz July 2nd 2011

Day 015, Saturday July 2 Today was Auschwitz. Like I said it rained, hard, the day before. Couple that with Alyssa’s foot being border line out of commission, we took it easy, bought her some new shoes (since the others were likely the culprit for the current paediatric problem) and some sweet anti water jackets (raincoats, but my way of saying it is better). We stayed in and planned the next two days with her foot up as best we could. But today, we woke up at 8 am, and at 9 a tour bus (we booked the night before) came to the front door of the hostel to pick us up. It took about an hour to get to Auschwitz from Krakow, and once we arrived you knew you were there. It was insanely busy, ... read more
Auschwitz Execution Block
Single Fence Post
Auschwitz 2 Living Quarters




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