Friday, September 14, 2012

Auschwitz and Birkenau

It is hard to put in words what we saw today. Auschwitz was the largest Nazi concentration camp and death camp. Estimates believe that over 1.1 million Jews died here.

It was chilling to be on the actual site where the horror happened. Despite learning about the holocaust and even hearing the survivors' stories, the preparation hardly helped blunt the emotions this visit conjured. This wasn't long ago. It happened in the 40's. And, imagining people just like us being evicted from their homes unexpectedly, crammed into cattle cars, and taken to a random place out in the country only to be starved, tortured, experimented on, worked to death or sent straight to be executed is unimaginable. But it happened for 5 years... And it is documented and photographed and the sites still remain. It is still so real. How could one person do this to another? I cant stop thinking about it. And, to be a bystander... Just watching Jews and other minorities disappear. I wonder what they must have been thinking and where they thought they were going. Did they know they were being murdered and in such horrible ways? Or did the nazi propaganda mask everything?It is just mind boggling and I could go on for hours.

Anyways, since most people will probably never visit this historical site, I am posting a lot of pictures so that you can try and imagine the horrific genocide that took place here. I still don't think the pictures can show just how gruesome of a place this must have been.

1. Gas chamber where over 2,000 people could be killed at one time
2. Millions of shoes that were stripped from the Jews and other prisoners (if you have been to the Holocaust Museum in DC, imagine that shoe display times 100)
3. Crematorium
4. One of the actual train cars that carried hundreds of men, women and children to their death at Birkenau.
5. Work Makes You Free
6. Prostheses, crutches and medical devices that were taken from the Jews
7. Anyone who tried to escape thru three layer thick barbed wire was shot to death.
8. Bathroom facility. The Jews were allowed to only go to the restroom 2 times a day for 30-40 seconds at a time.
9. Glasses or specs so they are called. This is just another one of the many items that the Jews had to give up.
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Anna Jay said...

Thank you for sharing this! Loved what you wrote about seeing it.

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