Auschwitz is sad. Really, really sad, and I have been postponing writing this blog post for that reason. I’ve uploaded a few pics below of the camp. They are all still very disturbing to me, so you can think twice before you decide to look at them.
We all know the basics of what happened here – 1.1 million people were put to death by the Nazi’s at this killing factory. Auschwitz is massive, and being there in person and seeing the space finally turned that number into a more real figure for me.
There were many sections of Auschwitz that you’re not allowed to take pictures of out of respect for the victims. What you can’t see through pictures are things like the massive piles of pleated hair of thousands of victims. You see, the Nazi’s would keep everything (the hair, glasses, shoes, clothes, combs etc.) from their prisoners in large warehouses houses within the camp… everything would be recycled and sent back to Germany.
Even more than walking through the gas chambers, exhibits of these warehouses effected me the most because they tell a story about just how organized, cold-blooded and efficient Auschwitz was.
Birkenau (the section of Auschwitz that was specifically designed for genocide) stretches on and on. While the grass is now green here, the air and the memories are still sour. You can still see the railroad tracks that brought prisoners to the camp, and then the spot where they were quickly sorted for hard labour or for death. The gas chambers and warehouses are partially burned down as the Nazi’s quickly tried to cover up the worst of their war crimes.
It was all overwhelming, and I think I will just stop there.
Quote from memorial plaque: “Forever let this place be a cry of despair and a warning to humanity, where the Nazis murdered about one and a half million men, women and children, mainly Jews from various countries of Europe.”