Auschwitz – Birkenau

There won’t be any photos with this blog, not even of the infamous front gate. We set off from our apartment in a private mini van and were dropped off at the Auschwitz ticket entrance about 90 minutes later. We were assigned a very knowledgeable guide and roughly 25 of us were given yellow stickers to signify which group we belonged to. I couldn’t help but feel the irony of being labelled with a yellow ‘badge’.

We visited Auschwitz first, and as the tour went on, the horrors revealed increased. The enormous amount of hair shorn from the victims after they’d been gassed. The victims prosthetics and medical aids in a huge pile. Their cooking pots, and the most affecting for me, their suitcases, still bearing names and adresses.

These people were told they were being taken to a new place and instead they were crammed into railway trucks, deposited at Birkenau, seperated into two groups, one for those capable of work and one for those were not. The latter were marched straight off to be exterminated.

Birkenau was, for both of us, more moving. The terrible sleeping quarters for the women are still pretty much as they were. Dark, stifling hot in the summer and well below zero in the winter.

Words to describe what we saw are difficult to find, despair, crushed hopes, horror, inhumanity. It is hard to comprehend how people could commit these atrocities on their fellow humans. We are glad to have gone, we don’t want to ever return but I’d urge everyone to go and see what humanity is capable of, and to vow that it will never happen again…

2 thoughts on “Auschwitz – Birkenau

  1. margaret21

    For some reason, the women’s sleeping quarters were closed the day I visited. But the visit I made to both places is etched on my soul. In fact the several experiences we had in Poland giving us some small idea about the lives and deaths of Jews in Europe during that period will stay with us forever, and have become the abiding memory of our ‘holiday’ there, even though we had colourful, fun experiences too.


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