Trip Start Nov 24, 2009
11Trip End Dec 09, 2009
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The camps are about 70 minutes outside of Krakow in what was once a railroad hub, making it convenient to relocate prisoners there
For those of you who do not know exactly (or may even have Holocaust denial?!?!?!) the Nazi regimen in their attempts to eradicate the Jewish race killed 6,000,000 Jews from all across Europe. Between 1940 and 1945 approximately 1.1 million people, mostly Jews, were killed by the Nazis in the Auschwitz-Birkenau gas chambers alone. That makes this place the sight of the largest mass murder in history.
The site is mostly in tact, except for the gas chambers in the Birkenau camp where the Nazis attempted to destroy the evidence of their existence, as well as the vast majority of the wooden dormitories there which were taken down due to dilapidation over the years in fear that tourists of the sight may get hurt. In some of the buildings are displays of the piles of possessions of those killed such as suitcases, spectacles, Jewish prayer shawls and a very large mountain of hair that was shaved off the women in order to be used in textiles. Gruesome to say the least. Everywhere there are electrified (formally at least) barbed wire fences and random flowers and candles placed as memorials every day.
I don't really think I need to go into too many details here about what I saw so I will let the photos speak for themselves. I can only hope that they too serve as a reminder that humanity, although it is overwhelmingly good, can have a dark side that must be kept in check in order to prevent such tragedies from ever rising up again.