February 05, 2013
Auschwitz January 24, 2012
In front of the infamous 'arbeit macht frei' (labour makes free) sign. This is actually a duplicate because the actual sign was once stolen. Also, I did not mean to pose and take a picture. This was me standing there so my boyfriend could take a subtle picture. We thought we were not allowed to take pictures but apparantly we were (except for one room).
This post has been a long time coming but I feel like it's such a delicate subject so it really had to have it's place, I feel. I didn't post yesterday because of this and I won't be posting tomorrow. I will not express my opinions or personal thoughts in this post but only facts that were told by our guide.
Around this time last year, my boyfriend and me visited the concentration camps in Auschwitz, Poland. We had the opportunity to go along with a military visit to pay respects (they do this every year). It isn't something fun or something you enjoy but it is a big part of world history and I recommend everyone to go when you have the chance. We were there for a day and we visited both Auschwitz I and Auschwitz II-Birkenau. We walked in groups with a guide. The guide spoke into a microphone which was connected to our headphones so he wouldn't have to make much noise. Our guide's grandfather was brought to Auschwitz so the reason he took this job was very personal. I'll be sharing a few of the things he said in each of these places.
I hope no one feels offended by this post and please do not comment anything controversial. This is not meant as a reaction on the things that happened but to share my experience.
'Houses' in Auschwitz I. Many of the houses were made into museums. These were cells where hundreds of people had to live together. There was an area for women and one for men. I also want to add that we visited while it was -10°C (14 °F) and there was obviously no heating. Still, these were the best ones you could've stayed in because these had brick walls. In Auschwitz II, there were only wooden baracks.
This was one of the displays in the houses from above. A SMALL fraction of all of the glasses that were found when the red army liberated the camps. There were several other displays like these. The ones that shocked me most were protheses and children clothes. The one room we weren't allowed to take pictures in was a room filled with human hair that was found.
This was one of the gas chambers. There were holes in the ceiling that were used to drop poison through.
This was the room next to the one above. I think it speaks for itself.
This is a tiny fraction of Auschwitz II-Birkenau. It is a gigantic place with more houses and barracks. Lots of them are still intact, others have been destroyed.
There used to be gas chambers here as well. The place where a bit of water had been frozen was a grave.
This is probably the most typical image people have. All of the barracks were like this. It was very dark and really small. Up to ten people had to sleep in one 'box' and it wasn't much deeper then what you see here.
This was ment as the bathroom. Between work, groups of people got twenty minutes here. Our guide told us this actually served as the black market because the guards would wait outside, disgusted by the smell.
This is the last picture I want to share. These tracks go all the way through Auschwitz II-Birkenau. People arrived here with trains. Some of you might recognize this from the movie Schindler's list but actually, the movie was shot on the other side of the 'station' out of respect for this place.
You can obviously express your feelings but please only do this in a non-controversial manner with respect for what happened and other people.