Auschwitz II, Birkenau

Auschwitz I was kind a small compared to Auschwitz II, Birkenau. It wasn’t until we visited Birkenau, I really saw how massive this was. The camp was HUGE. Many buildings in the camp was destroyed by the Nazi’s when the war ended. They wanted to destroy as many evidence as possible. All of the gas chambers and crematoriums at the Birkenau camp were destroyed. Many of the barracks too. Left was only the brick pipes of the barracks.

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In my next post, I’m coming up with some more cheerfull photos of Poland. I had a whole sunday in the city of Krakow where I explored the old town. Stay tuned!

Auschwitz: a visit to the concentration and death camp

On saturday I went on a four-day trip to Kraków, Poland with the office where I work and a lots of new colleagues. A few days before we went, we got an email saying that we were going to visit the concentration camp / death camp Auschwitz. I don’t know what words to use for it not sound wrong. Saying that I was happy that we were going, sounds so weird, but I must admit that for quite some time I’ve wanted to go to Auschwitz. I’ve been thinking it would’ve been a very interesting place to visit, but I never thought that I’d get the chance to go there. You just don’t book your holiday to Auschwitz… So when got that email telling that we were going, I was somewhat excited in a weird way.

Auschwitz is such a massive monument in the world’s history. It is something so big, it’s very hard to grasp. You can’t really understand it, at least not me. I know what happened. I know about all the cruelty and all the horror that happened there, but still… it’s hard to grasp the extent of it all.

Being there, I thought it would be way more emotional that it was. I didn’t cry my eyes out like I thought might happen. I think that I unintentionally put up a wall, to distance myself a bit from it. Even with the invisible wall, I didn’t turn into a stone face. There were several times when I were teary eyed and got the chills. That happened when I saw pictures of frightened kids and kids clothes. They had also taken care of all the hair they shaved of the people in the camp. It was so much hair! We also went into one of the gass chambers, well the only one left on the camp. You could see the scratches on the wall and the oven they burned the bodies in. That was aweful to look at.

We were allowed to photograph everywhere, expect in one of the blocks where they human hair was located. I took a lot of photos, but there were things I didn’t have the  heart to photograph. All the belongings they’ve taken care of (shoes, glasses, suitcases with names on etc) were left unphotographed. So was the gas chamber and the tiny standing cells where several people were put and often were sufficated.

I knew from the beginning that these photos needed the black/white treatment. No colors could do this place justice. The whole place was too drepressing.

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