AuschwitzYesterday in Poland
The weather is certainly appropriate , 12degrees wet and cold, for the sobering day I have ahead.
I cannot ever remember a time feeling the way I do today after visiting Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp. To explain my feelings there is not one feeling. I am sad, ashamed, cannot believe “humans” could do this, scared we will repeat again ( and do in fact continually). But also recognise the human strength it must have taken to survive these atrocities.
I learnt so much today, too much to really take in. I stood in silence, pondering people’s lives, many times I could not even imagine what happened here. I’ve learnt of these atrocities during my school years, but nothing prepared me for this. To systematically kill over 1million people, primarily Jews, but also Poles, gypsies, scholars it is beyond reason or logic.
The museum at Auschwitz breaks your heart. There are graphic reminders, 2 tonnes of hair piled high ready to be shipped off to be made in to socks - can you imagine that. Piles of shoes, suit cases, glasses, wooden legs etc. Human life being left as a loads of there items to be shipped off for others to use. To see the wall where those who were sick or punished were shot with a gun directly to the head is sobering.
At Birkenau (Auschwitz II) we walked from the train station, like many condemned Jews and anyone else who stood up against the Nazis, down the same road directly to the gas chambers. They had the audacity to tell them to take there clothes off, remember where they are so you can get them after your showers. The complicity’s were enormous. They were shoved into gas chambers before dying in so much pain. Then the poor prisoners who were not gassed were made to cut the hair off the dead corpses, remove dentures and any other valuables. I’m not sure who had the better ending, dying in the gas chambers or dying of starvation and degradation.
Much of Birkenau is in ruin, including the gas chambers, but it is still evident how large a camp this was. The 3 layers of bunks would often have 7 or more people to a bunk. The living conditions were atrocious, little food, little warm, some without roofs. People who were not killed died from disease, frost bite and starvation. Those who survived when they were liberated by the Soviets had to live with the horrors for the rest of their days.
If you get the chance please go visit this memorial. These things must stop, genocide, ethnic cleansing whatever name you wish to put on it must stop. I’m sure it’s happening right now, but our western news doesn’t allow us to here the truth.
I’m struggling to look at the photos. I’ll add some tomorrow I hope.Read more