Wednesday, April 30, 2014

auschwitz & birkenau

Ya'll can catch up on my first two posts about Poland here and here.

Auschwitz and Birkenau.

You don't go to Auschwitz for the sight seeing. You go so that you will never forget the horrors that happened there. So that humanity will never repeat it, because that was humanity at its worst.


There really aren't a lot of words to describe Auschwitz. Even after going, there's a part of me that still can't believe it really happened. I saw the hair cut off of 20,000 women's heads. I saw 80,000 pairs of shoes. Their names and addresses on their luggage, because they thought that they would get their belongings back. I walked through the cells of their jails where they were starved to death, suffocated, and forced to hear the gunshots from the shooting range outside of their prison cell. I walked through the gas chamber.

It is still so hard to believe it happened. That humans did that to other humans. To families, to children and babies.

Since there is no way to really explain it, I'll share some of the pictures I took.







From Auschwitz, we went to Auschwitz-Birkenau about 10 minutes away. This camp was primarily a death camp, and had railroads that led straight through the gates and all the way to the back of the camp where the ovens previously were. When the Allied countries got close, the Nazis bull dozed the ovens to try and destroy evidence of what happened in the concentration camp at Birkenau.

The strength we felt at this camp was inspiring. At one point towards the end of the war, Jewesses refused to enter the gas chambers. The Jews who were forced to incinerate the bodies decided to revolt, and overheated one of the ovens so that it exploded when a previously planned escape had failed. Their courage and efforts to change what was happening were inspiring, even if they did not succeed at the time.

Between where the two main ovens were is a monument showing the history of death in mankind, ending with a monument depicting humans being killed in the gas chambers. In front of the monument are plaques in every language of those who were killed in WWII with the text: FOR EVER 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, MAILY JEWS FROM VARIOUS COUNTRIES OF EUROPE.





It was devastating to see. It wrenches at your heart and still feels unbelievable that people could do such a horrific thing.

One of my good friends that I teach with is Jewish. I've learned a lot about the Jewish culture from her, and continued to think about her during this trip. Even after seeing all of it, it's hard to realize that it's real. That mankind can really be that heartless. But it did happen, and now it's our job to make sure we never let it happen again.

I'm sorry that this post was such a depressing post, but I think it needed to be shared. I know many people will never have the opportunity to visit a concentration camp, and while pictures don't do the history of it justice, I think not sharing it at all would not be a continuing effort in remembering those who died there.

"For ever let this place be a cry of despair and a warning to humanity..."

2 comments:

  1. Wow, looking at these photos just tugs my heart. I was actually reading about this museum the other day. Before, I took a trip to a Holocaust museum in Washington DC and to think that people went through that is just devastating. On a happy note, I am so glad that we found each other and I LOVE your blog! I am excited to get to know each other sweet girl :)

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  2. Wow. This is just totally hearbreaking. I went to a Holocaust museum several years ago, and I'll never forget the feeling you get while you're walking around and learning about the absolute horror and evil things that went on during that time.

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xoxo

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