Friday, February 25, 2011

day 9- auschwitz-birkenau prison camp

the morning view from our hotel window- Krakow
  I was nervous about this day. I've been to a prison camp before in Germany (Dachau) and it wasn't my favorite thing to do on a trip. But I wasn't traveling by myself, we were still a group of six. So I went along to the Auschwitz-Birkenau prison camp. It was a foggy and depressing drive. Perfect weather for the day.
 "Work makes you free"- the first lie prisoners were fed as they entered the camp. The "B" was put upside down by the prisoners as a quiet act of defiance. 
 The German army took over these Polish army barracks. Now they are the museum. You can go in each building to see giant maps and pictures, and windows into rooms with piles of shoes, hair (since they made the jews shave), luggage, glasses, everything left over from the jewish prisoners (that wasn't taken and used by the army.) It all made me sick. Especially the windows with all the kid stuff.

I hated that when the women with babies and children got off the train back then, they sent them directly into the chemical showers. But then I was glad that they didn't have to suffer there. I cried the whole time. I don't remember it being this hard to handle, but now that I'm a mom, I think it has changed me. I can't imagine my little family going through what they did- it was just too close to my heart. I felt a little ridiculous crying (I think I might've been the only one?) Oh well. It's what I do. That's why I can't watch sad movies or read sad books. I can't deal.
Adam took all these pictures. I didn't feel like taking any and turned the camera over to him.

This is where the director of the camp was later hanged after he was found guilty. (Read below.) It was facing the camp, so it's the last thing he saw.

 After Auschwitz we drove down the road to Birkenau, where they started building prison housing because they were out of room. The German army blew up this building (the crematorium) to try to hide evidence of the killings. The rubble still stands as a reminder.

 Behind this explosion you can see a field full of chimneys- the only thing remaining of the houses.
a memorial
I know it's important for us to never forget that this happened, because that's when it could happen again. The kids in Poland visit Auschwitz at least twice during their school years- 8th and 11th grade. It is very eye-opening and raw going to a place like this- even if it is sad. It was nice having a tour guide- she was full of information and answered all the questions. We learned a lot about what went on there. So very sad. I think the camps make such an impression on me, that I don't ever need to see another one. An interesting experience if you've never been.

And this is the end of a sad post. 


Rachel said...

its just so sad, but what an interesting experience, but you are right, probably not one that you want to repeat. But an amazing trip, I am loving all the posts!

Mama Swalz said...

Great job with this post Sini. You are doing an awesome job blogging our trip - I should just copy yours!

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