As I mentioned in my last blog Amy, Tasha, Michelle and I headed to Poland a few days ago. We had a really good time, and were able to do quite a bit of sightseeing in just a couple of days.
I’m going to write a post on our actual time in the city in the next few days, but today wanted to do something separate on the tour we took of Auschwitz.
I’m not really sure how to properly convey what this experience was like. It was overwhelming and surreal at the same time. I have visited a number of WWII sites over the years, and each one always brings varying emotions. It’s hard to describe.
When we arrived at Auschwitz it was around 10am. It was overcast, and there was a low fog, making it very eerie. We toured two sections of the area: Auschwitz I and Auschwitz II- Birkenau. Auschwitz I was the original camp which used buildings that existed as Polish military barracks prior to the war, and Birkenau was an enormous complex built during the war to hold around 100,000 prisoners at a time.
Most of the bunkers have been torn down, but a sea of chimneys remains: Railway tracks that brought prisoners in to Birkenau:Rubble from one of the four gas chambers located at Birkenau. They were all demolished by the Nazi’s in the days leading up to liberation: The railway tracks and platform. From here prisoners were divided in to those who could work and those who could not. Those who could would proceed to the right of the track (next to the watchtower visible in the corner) through the gates to the work camp. Those who couldn’t (mainly the elderly, and children under 14 and their mothers) would walk farther down the track to the gas chambers. Entrance to the work camp:Again, I don’t really know how to describe this experience, so I’ll leave you with just the photos and short explanations above.