Blogs from Auschwitz, Lesser Poland, Poland, Europe

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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 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"

Europe » Poland » Lesser Poland » Auschwitz September 9th 2014

Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum southern Poland 8 September 2014 On arrival to the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum, we took a guided tour around both sites which took from 11.30pm to 3.30pm. Our guide was excellent and gave us so much information. This is a memorial and museum in Auschwitz, Poland, which includes the German concentration camps Auschwitz 1 and Auschwitz II-Birkenau. It is devoted to the memory of the over 1.5 million murders of Jews from 22 countries, in both camps during World War ll. The museum performs several tasks, among them research into the Holocaust. The area covers 191 hectares, twenty of them in camp Auschwitz I and 171 in camp Auschwitz II. Since 1979 the former concentration camp has belonged to the World Cultural Heritage and more than 25 million people have visited the museum. Last ... read more
Auschwitz 1 Camp Poland - murdured peoples items found (2)
Auschwitz 1 Camp Poland (13)
Auschwitz 1 Camp Poland - murdured peoples items found (7)

Europe » Poland » Lesser Poland » Auschwitz June 1st 2014

***VERSIÓN EN ESPAÑOL MÁS ABAJO*** Conflicted. One word that perhaps begins to capture the emotions and thoughts going through my head during the last few days. Krakow: A Jewish community that once flourished with over 60,000 souls was decimated during World War II. Walking around it's now revived and rebuilt Kazimierz neighborhood, where the former Jewish quarter prospered for over 700 years with its several synagogues, now full of poshy restaurants selling pork dishes to tourists and a community with a mere 200 Jews filled my heart with sadness. In Krakow, not much remains of the Ghetto on the other side of the river except for its main square full of empty chairs as part of a monument to commemorate the lives of those who will never come back to fill them. Seeing what remains of ... read more
Main Ghetto square with the empty-chairs monument
Map showing camps from where Jews and others came from
Only 6 of these gas cans were used each time to massacre 2,000 people

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 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"

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




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