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Europe » Poland » Lesser Poland » Auschwitz December 20th 2019

Auschwitz. Just one word that conveys so much and evokes so many feelings. When planning my trip to Krakow, I knew that I coming here was something I had to do. Just before my trip, I was talking to a friend who'd been recently and she'd been telling me how horrific she'd found it. This helped me to try to mentally prepare for the trip. I was picked up pretty early and taken to a bigger bus to go to Auschwitz. The journey wasn't too long and we reached the town of Oświęcim, which is where Auschwitz is located. Seeing the train tracks as we drove towards the concentration camp was heartbreaking. To think of those that made the journey never to return. I had heard/read that Auschwitz is really busy with people coming to visit. ... read more
Arbeit Macht Frei
Auschwitz I
Auschwitz I

Europe » Poland » Lesser Poland » Auschwitz September 18th 2018

Today was our visit to the Auschwitz concentration camp. A somber day, but a must. The name Auschwitz itself conjures up the Holocaust and its horrific images. Oświęcim is about an hour and a half drive from Krakow. It is and was a railway center, with connections east to Krakow, west to Wrocław (once Breslau) and Berlin and south to Vienna. Thus the town was selected as a central place to which to transport people which was removed from heavily populated areas. A Polish army barracks had been established at Oświęcim before the war. These brick buildings became Auschwitz I. Nearing Oświęcim, the tour bus again crossed the Vistula, the river that ties Polish history together. Off to the right was the railway bridge and at that moment a passenger train was on it. A reminder ... read more
Auschwitz Guardhouse
Auschwitz I Entrance
Entering Auschwitz I

Europe » Poland » Lesser Poland » Auschwitz October 15th 2017

My feet hurt. It was a long, long day. We were up before 5:30am and we got into our new hotel room in Krakow at 7:05pm tonight. We were supposed to have a formalish dinner with the group here in the hotel – salad, pumpkin soup, duck confit and xander fish (whatever that is) but we just couldn’t do another 2-hour dinner. We told our tour guide we were going to McDs and left. It’s 8pm and we have ate (Burger King in the mall across from our hotel), we have our aching shoes and socks off, and we will probably both be asleep within an hour. I do know one thing… we hit over 10,000 steps today! A teeny old lady and old man in the seat in front of us on the bus today ... read more
Highways in Poland
Entrance to see the Black Madonna
Priest Simon

Europe » Poland » Lesser Poland » Auschwitz July 2nd 2017

This morning we went to the Gallery of 19th Century Polish Art, which houses the most famous museum collections in Poland. These paintings reflect the aspirations of Poland. As compared to the art I saw in Rome, these paintings were very recent, more 1890s rather than late 1500s. Then we headed to The Princes Czartoryski Museum. Only one room was open for visitors, so it was kind of disappointing because the items on display were not labeled very well. For lunch, we went to U Babei Maliny ("Granny Raspberry") and, of course, I ordered pierogies. To my surprise, the cheese pierogies were sweet and garnished with powdered sugar. I have never tasted sweet pierogies, but it was very delicious. For the second half of the day, we toured Auschwitz and Birkenau Concentration Camps. It was about ... read more
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Europe » Poland » Lesser Poland » Auschwitz December 1st 2016

On the bus to go to our first stop. We drove through the chocolate box village of Zbylitowska Gora to see the place that Israeli children have named The Children’s Forest. I am not sure that we were prepared for what we were going to see as the village was so pretty in the snow. We walked through an empty wasteland past a memorial to the Poles who were massacred by the Nazis. In June 1942 about 10,000 people were killed including some 6,000 Jews with 800 children. Then we saw an area enclosed by a blue barrier, decorated with balloons and blue and white Israeli flags and children’s toys. This was the mass grave of the 800 children. This was heartbreaking and it was here that Don broke down. The question we have been asking ... read more
Auschwitz 1
Birkenau entrance - Auschwitz 2
Praying & singing Hallel in Auschwitz-Birkenau barrack 4 on Rosh Chodesh

Europe » Poland » Lesser Poland » Auschwitz June 23rd 2016

The trip that Hannah and I took was amazing and deeply moving. Before I close the blog on our pilgrimage, I want to try and collect my impressions and those thoughts that have persisted and maybe begin to make meaning of it all. I expect this to take the form of three more posts: on the National Socialist “project” and its conduct; on “remembering and forgetting;” and on what I think it means for me and for us. What follows is my antepenultimate post. (I have always wanted to use that in a sentence!) * * * Since returning, all I have to do is close my eyes to see the vastness of Birkenau. Rows of barracks and a forest of chimneys divided by barbed-wire, as far as the treeline in the distance. A pair of ... read more

Europe » Poland » Lesser Poland » Auschwitz August 4th 2015

Perhaps no single word has the power to invoke such strong emotions as Auschwitz. What happened there is beyond comprehension. Here I present photos and commentary from my trip to the camp sites last month.... read more
Just inside the infamous gate - just in case you thought you were at a holiday camp.
A communal toilet at Auschwitz.
Against this wall countless numbers of prisoners were shot.

Europe » Poland » Lesser Poland » Auschwitz August 3rd 2015

We had a busy day today which was troubling and thought provoking to say the least. The day started with breakfast in a paper bag from a corner shop....pain au cabbage. That's not the Polish name but it describes it well. A kind of croissant with cabbage goo in the middle. Not for everyone and not something that I'll rush to taste again. Still, when in Rome and all that.... The shop was in the Jewish ghetto of Kraków. An area of 320 buildings that housed 20,000 Jews from 1941 to 1943, when the ghetto was "liquidated". Most people were killed there on the spot while others were sent to Auschwitz and other camps. There isn't honestly much to see in the ghetto but it was eery to imagine life there. This is the location of ... read more
Entry gate at Auschwitz
One of many guard's towers at Auschwitz
Shoes

Europe » Poland » Lesser Poland » Auschwitz July 8th 2015

All we hear about Auschwitz is the horrifying statistics. An estimated 1.1 million men, women and children, Jews, Poles and homosexuals, were slaughtered here. It is unique because as well as being the largest camp, it is the only Nazi facility that doubled as both a death/extermination camp and a concentration/labour camp. I will try to describe my experience at this haunting place but it is difficult to put it into words. I was not aware before visiting that there are two completely different parts of the Auschwitz Concentration camp. Auschwitz I and Auschwitz-Birkenau. These are about a kilometer apart from each other and present completely different styles of concentrations camps. Auschwitz I in filled will tall brick town houses, along straight lanes. Without any knowledge of where you were, you could be mistaken to ... read more
Arbeit Macht Frei
Auschwitz I
Auschwitz-Birkenau

Europe » Poland » Lesser Poland » Auschwitz March 6th 2015

Here are the pictures that I took on my visit to Auschwitz. While there, it was a struggle to try and judge what is and what isn't photo appropriate. There are places where pictures are forbidden and any decent human being would respect that wish. These pictures cannot even begin to do justice to what actually happened there and the emotions a person will feel walking those hallowed grounds.... read more
"Arbeit Macht Frei"




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