Sunday, April 08, 2007

Krakow - Auschwitz & Birkenau

4/8/2007 - Jennifer and I hit two different countries over my April break - Poland and the Czech Republic....and i loved them both...for different reasons...yest again i am angry with the stupid dictator who ruined where i live...bucharest....the two countries we were in were under communist rule...but no dictator worked there...its quite upsetting, because in my opinion bucharest and romanians in general are still trying to get over his rule....they don't know how to make their places beautiful and better and i think they are still scared that someone will come and take it all away....its a hard place to be....and every time i leave it its harder to come back....ugh....but while in poland, krakow more specifically, we made the trip to auschwitz and birkenau....the major concentration camps in poland...where many jews died because of hitler's grand plan....below are the pictures from our visit to this very emotional place....

this is the entrance gate to auschwitz....to work is to be free....that is the sign above the gate in, and of course was quite sarcastically put there....auschwitz was one the first concentration camps, which grew too small for the nazis to really try and carry out their disgusting plan...when they realized it was too small they built birkenau...if a person ended up in auschwitz they knew they had a larger possibility of living compared to ending up in birkenau....

this is one of the many guard towers located around the perimeter of auschwitz....very few people tried to escape from here....the control was that great...when i was in dachau germany and saw the concentration camp there i had a hard time accepting that the germans who lived in the area had no idea what was being done inside the walls...here in poland, the polish were either forced to work along side the prisoners or were driven away...the nazis actually destroyed seven or more towns located around the concentration camps to use the building materials....the poles were treated a bit better, unless they were jewish of course, but not much better....


this cell was a solitary cell in building 11 of auschwitz...building eleven is where you were sent when you broke rules or tried to uprise against your leaders...this was generally a horrible place to end up and many folks were killed just outside the walls of this building....by shooting...they were tried in building eleven for whatever they had done, stepped out into the courtyard and were shot...the metal symbol is the current day accepted symbol for auschwitz...the day we were there a survivor was being interviewed in the gas chambers...in german, so i wasn't sure what he was saying...but i just can't imgine revisiting such a place of horror if you were there when it was truly in use....but i guess that is how the world learns from its mistakes....from people explaining the past horror....the question is...do we learn????

this shot is taken from the outside of the auschwitz camp...it shows how many lines of barbed wire there were and the lighted path where the guards walked daily...the building on the right is on the inside and where prisoners were kept in deplorable conditions and the building on the left is where the officers of the guard were stationed when not working....just a few meters away from the gas chambers....its just gross....

from auschwitz its a ten minute drive to birkenau....the death camp....this is where many people got off the train they were brought in and walked directly to the gas chambers....they had four industrial sized chambers where the smoke never stopped pouring from....people who were brought here and didn't go directly to death usually stayed in birkenau for a few weeks before they made the long walk to death....this is the entryway where the trains would come in from all over eastern europe...
within birkenau the thing that stuck me the most was the sheer size of the place...it was completely planned out and built for the destruction of people....just mind numbing...you see the buildings stretch on for so long....and sometimes the building is gone, but the chimney remains....you can still see some that have the insides in-tact....as you see below

this is the inside of a building where people were kept...anywhere from 200 to 500 people at once...and they would sometimes go to work in hard labor camps, but generally they would spend their time in these buildings doing nothing except waiting to die...its just horrible to imagine...
my final shot is one of the barbed wire and guard tower in the back ground...again, the sheer size of this horrible place was mind blowing to me...it was a gloomy day, which was the way it should have been...and there were many people there, but the level of respect was good to experience...it just boggles my mind how one group of people can do something like this to another group of people because they are different....but i guess i shouldn't be so suprised as it continues to this day in so many ways....anyway...if you have never been to a concentration camp and experienced the horror and the rememberance of a place such as this, you need to go...it is horrible and disgusting and necessary to see with your own eyes, so you know what it looks like and can stop things like this in the future....

2 comments:

BrendanStamp said...

They say it never happened. They say it never was. They say this because they have never been, never they to feel the loss.

Slavery, Indentured workers, Reservations, Crusades, Freedom Fighters/Terrorists, Ethnic Cleansing and Local disruptions. Hatred has been called many names over the years, absolute hatred in other areas has been excused simply because the executors were victorious and controlled the history books. Had the other side won, would these places now be shrines to purity and sanitisation? The mind chills and the gut tightens to wonder at the minds behind such places.

Thanks for reminding us that such things were, and can never again be.

With love and friendship.

Lucky.

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