Friday, December 9, 2011

Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camp

A week after visiting Dachau, we made our way to Krakow, Poland and spent an afternoon at the Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camp.  Perhaps the most famous of the camps, this experience was even more powerful than Dachau.  First, Auschwitz-Birkenau is much, much larger and the scale of things is therefore even more real.  Additionally, many of the items the Jewish people brought with them were found after the camp was seized.  The curators of the Auschwitz museum have turned these personal items into an incredible museum.  Seeing these items (suitcases, shoes, glasses seen below) brings a human connection to the experience and gives you a visual perspective on the vast numbers of people killed at the concentration camps.  Perhaps the most harrowing part was viewing a room (yes a large room) full from floor to about 3 feet high of human hair.  This was not allowed to be photographed out of respect to those who died.  Again, I leave this mostly uncommented as the pictures do speak for themselves.

Gas Canisters from Gas Chamber

Kitchen items brought by Jewish people

Guard stand where morning roll call occurred.

Gas Chamber

Birkenau Camp - this is where the majority of people lived and died and is a few kilometers from the main camp Auschwitz.

The living conditions were much more sparse here.

There were often 2-3 people in each bed as there wasn't enough space for everyone.

Entrance gate

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