Auschwitz, Poland

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August 31st 2009
Published: October 14th 2009
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Auschwitz I CampAuschwitz I CampAuschwitz I Camp

Auschwitz I, the main camp in Oświęcim. In August 1944, it held about 16 thousand prisoners (roughly 10 thousand Jews, 4 thousand Poles, and 3 thousand prisoners from other ethnic groups). Thıs building was built by the Nazis as a brothel for the camp guards, as well as an induction center for incoming prisoners.
I took a daytrıp by myself to Auschwıtz as Emıly told me she could not handle goıng. I would say ıt was defınately one of the thıngs I was most ınterested ın doıng ın Europe. Of course there are so many books and movıes wrıtten about the holocaust you could say ´Yeah yeah I know I know´, but actually seeıng ıt ın person was some what lıfe changıng. Seeıng the realıty of ıt all was unreal. I defınitely look at thıs through a dıfferent perspectıve and I am glad I was able to travel here. I would lıke to go back one day because I feel lıke I mıssed many parts of the camp that were not covered ın my guıded tour. I would recommend, ıf you can handle, to vısıt thıs sıte. I tear up thınkıng about my tour here and everythıng that was descrıbed to me. It ıs so ınsane that thıs ever happened.

Please note some descrıptıons and pıctures are detaıled.

Additional photos below
Photos: 39, Displayed: 22


Arbeit macht freiArbeit macht frei
Arbeit macht frei

"Arbeit macht frei" is a German phrase meaning "work brings freedom" or "work shall set you free/will free you" This was considered an insult because the only way these prionsers would be free is when they died.
Auschwitz IAuschwitz I
Auschwitz I

electric fences
Camp Orchestra - SS photo 1941Camp Orchestra - SS photo 1941
Camp Orchestra - SS photo 1941

The camp orchestra had to assemble here to place marches while the prisoners filed past. This was to help the prisioners keep in step and make it easier to count them as they went to and from work
Digging the Foundations for Block 15 - painting 1948, by Auschiwtiz survior Wladyslaw SlwekDigging the Foundations for Block 15 - painting 1948, by Auschiwtiz survior Wladyslaw Slwek
Digging the Foundations for Block 15 - painting 1948, by Auschiwtiz survior Wladyslaw Slwek

As the number of inmates increased the SS decided to englarge the camp. In the spring of 1941 construction began on 8 new buildings (now blocks 4-7, 15-18) All work was done by prisoners rather than by contruction machinery. Supervised by the SS and prisoner overseers (Kapos) who beat them at the slightest oppourtunity, they dug foundations, carried bricks and bags of cement and pushed wheelbarrows full of gravel and sand. Many died in consequence.
Woman PrisonerWoman Prisoner
Woman Prisoner

Notice her pınk triangle on her clothes. People were classified into different categories of imprisonment. Homosexuals, Roma (Gypsies), Jews, Politcal Prisoners, Soviet POWs and other ethnic groups.
Block 11 "Death Block"Block 11 "Death Block"
Block 11 "Death Block"

Known as the Death Block, Block 11 served several functions. The most important role was the central camp jail. Most of these pople were suspected by the camp Gestapo of involvement in clandestine activities such as attempting to escape, organizing mutinies and maintaing contacts with the outside world. In the basement, known as the bunker, were punishment cells where the SS confined prisoners regarded as guilty of violating camp regulrations. In 1941 prisoners senteced to death by starvation were held here. Over the period of September 3-5, 1951 the SS carried out experiments in the basement with Zyklon B on 600 Soviet POWs and 250 Polish political prisoners who were selected from the camp infirmary as human gunea pigs in prepration for the mass murder of Jews.
Inside Block 11Inside Block 11
Inside Block 11

Block 11 is the only block that has not been restored and is still in its orignal form along with room decor.
Black WallBlack Wall
Black Wall

This is where executions by shooting took place. Also, not shown, where other tourture devices where prisoners where hung up by their limbs and stretched for hours until they died. 20,000 people were murdered at the Black Wall at Auschwitz I.
Zyklon BZyklon B
Zyklon B

Zyklon B was stored in airtight containers; when exposed to air, the material released gaseous hydrogen cyanide. These are used containers on display at Auschwitz.

In Room 5 of Block 4, there is a huge glass display case, about the size of a walk-in closet, filled with hair cut from the heads of an estimated 140,000 victims, most are considered to be from Women and Children given the length of the hair.
Textile made of human hairTextile made of human hair
Textile made of human hair

This was described to me as human hair that was then turned into textile or netting.
Block 5 - SuitcasesBlock 5 - Suitcases
Block 5 - Suitcases

Going thru these rooms was especially difficult. The tour guide reminded us not to think of a room with a bunch of stuff, but to remeber that these are individual items that belonged to someone that came to Auschwitz. People were being sold this idea of a somewhat utopia where they would have a nice house, new business oppurtunies and were instructed to mark their suitcases for later identification to be brought to their new homes. This was all a facade. You can still see the names written on the leather cases, these cases were not returned to their owners. Instead they were stripped of anything valuable in an area of Auschwitz called "Canada" (back then Canada had this ora of being a paradise of rich land, therefore peoples riches went to this area)

When the Soviet Union liberated Auschwitz-Birkenau on January 27, 1945, there were 80,000 pairs of shoes in the camp.

19th October 2009

thank you
thank you for going. and taking pictures.
25th October 2009

What a horrible place.
2nd November 2009

I can't imagine what must have been going through your head during this experience. So sad and disturbing.

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