Do you ever have those regrets not paying attention in school? Do you wish you could go back? I never enjoyed History growing up. I’m one who always knew who Hitler was, but never understood how terrible of a person he was. Until! I was taking a trip to Poland to meet some of my family members for the first time. I had decided to stay in Krakow since it was close to some of my family.
I had done some research to see what there was to do around Krakow and let my daughter decide. She told me that she wanted to do Auschwitz.
Now, at this time, I was clueless. I started doing more research on the Holocaust so I had more of an understanding of it. I couldn’t believe what I was reading. It brought me to tears to read and learn about all of the torture these humans had to endure.
The time had come to catch the bus and visit this site. I wasn’t prepared to hear or see what I did. How could someone do this to another human being?
Walking through these gates opened my eyes to the horror these people suffered through. I didn’t realize that someone so cruel could hold so much hatred for someone being different than them.
We walked down the gravel path to visit a few buildings that hold some photographs and artifacts. Seeing photos of the prisoners in the shape they were in brought tears to my eyes. How could someone be so cruel? I can’t get this wrapped around my head that someone could do this. You hear the stories of the medical research some went through. It’s sad how everyone had to stand during roll call and be counted until everyone got back from the factory. It could have been hours. It didn’t matter.They barely fed them.
When the people got to camp, the Nazis would take their suitcases, shoes, and any goods they had packed and took for themselves. They stole from them and left them to die. Below is just a small amount of what was taken.
The Nazi’s killed anyone for any little reason. They had a firing squad where they would shoot them and was known as the “The Death Wall”. One story is one man alone shot about 25,000 people. No, that is not a misprint. 25000 people.
When I walked into the gas chambers, my heart felt heavy. You could see the scratch marks on the wall where people were trying to get out. Then, they would throw you next door into the crematorium. Sick, Sick People. There is no way you could leave this area without crying.
After awhile, this place got too small so they had to make camp at a bigger location to bring in all the people. The new camp was not too far away. This is called Auschwitz-Birkenau. They would tell the Jews they were going to take showers, but little did they know, they were off to die. They would get off the train and the SS guards would look them over to see if they were strong enough to work. If they were, to the right they went. If they were not, or a child, you went to the left to take a “shower”.
We got to see the remains where they demolished the gas chambers and crematorium. The Nazi’s tried to say this never happened by getting rid of this. There is no way to hide the crime they did.
By this area is the ditch were they would just throw the bodies like it was garbage. Today, they have a beautiful memorial to show their respect.
After visiting this area, we went to the bunkers to see where the prisoners lived. I’m not sure if you want to call this living. They had 6 or more people in one bunk bed. Their toilets were in the middle of their bunkers with no flush. You can imagine the stench.
This was the end of the tour, but something I will never forget.
There is still a lot to learn about the Holocaust. I’m so glad my daughter wanted to visit here. Since then, I have been there one more time and also visited some spots in Krakow related to it.
I recommend visiting here and witness this for yourself. It is an experience you will never forget.
One of the original train carts.
Ashes of a few of the remains.