Visiting Auschwitz-Birkenau Death Camps

Trip Start Sep 04, 2010
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Trip End Sep 24, 2010


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Flag of Poland  , Southern Poland,
Thursday, September 30, 2010

Today we drove out to Auschwitz-Birkenau, the Concentration/Death Camp. (Check out the state of some of the roads here – the truck looks like it's about to tilt over.) We were there for around 5 hours. There were actually three camps but the smallest one is no longer there. Auschwitz held around 2,000 prisoners. Birkenau held around 100,000 and was enormous. Auschwitz had only small gas chambers but Birkenau had four large gas chambers and they were in constant use. Between them over 1,000,000 people were killed there. We thought Stuthof Concentration Camp in France was a moving place. This was beyond words. Most of the buildings remain just as they were. They say the major difference now is that there is grass and trees. Back then there was only dirt and mud. Must watch Schindler’s List again. The death camps were closed for three days while he filmed there and his factory is in town not so far from our apartment. Apparently the person in change of scenery won an award for authenticity which is considered a laugh because he didn’t have to do anything as everything was in its original state.

Poland was 'liberated’ in 1945 but it was taken over by the Communists who only finally left in 1993 so it has only really been free for the last 17 years. The Western influence is definitely visable now but there’s still a lot of places that you could imagine hasn’t changed for many, many years. Check out the rusty skyscraper. It looks like it was only half-finished and then abandoned many years ago. We’ve noticed that sometimes they cover some of the worst buildings with large banners to hide the rust and decay!
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