…Sharing, Winter Trip 2010… (Part 6) Auschwitz-Berkenau, the darkest history of human kind…
Well, my journey continued! This is one of my most favorite places to visit, not a very pleasant place in fact because of its dark history which happened here about 70 years ago. But it is a very good place in terms of learning, learning about the darkest history of mankind, one of the saddest ever tragedy happened on earth! We can still feel the pain or chills while visiting it.
Auschwitz-Birkenau, the Nazi’s Concerntration Camp! UNESCO World Heritage Site 1979
Honestly, this is a must-visit place for everyone who planned to travel to Poland… This is the place where we learn about our most important lesson of humankind!
For those who craze for the crime scene series like C.S.I or Criminal Minds. Well, be prepared, you are about to visit one of the most famous crime scene locations in the world!
Chills haunted all of us while visiting every part and every building in the camp, although you can only see stuffs left behind by the victims and the buildings, you can still tell what happened here about half a century ago… the grave for the 1.1 million lives, not including those who were not recorded…Sometimes you can even feel that you’re still breathing in the air full of ashes…
So, where is Auschwitz-Birkenau?
It is located about an hour drive from Krakow. To visit Auschwitz, one needs to visit Krakow 1st, which is easier for you to travel to Auschwitz-Birkenau…
Tour is available in Krakow, you can join the tour (advisable) with only 99zloty for students with ISIC Card and it takes about 6 hours for the whole trip, without meals! So, you have to prepare for yourself some snacks just in case you get hungry! You also can reach there by public transports, but it’s only recommended that you do it only in summer time.
“For five long years the name of Auschwitz aroused fear among the populations of the Nazi-occupied territories.
It was established in 1940 for the Polish political prisoners. Originally it was to be an instrument of terror and extermination of Poles. As time passed, the Nazis began to deport to the camp people from all over Europe, mainly Jews- citizens of various countries. Soviet prisoners of war, Gypsies, Czechs, Yugoslavs, Frenchmen, Austrians, Germans and others …” depicted from the guide book, from Auschwitz-Berkinau.
Now, the camp in Oswiecim (KL Auschwitz 1) and in Brzezinka (KL Auschwitz 2-Birkenau) which is just 3km away from KL Auschwitz 1 maintained as museums open to public.
8.00am-3.00pm from 1st December to 28/29 February.
8.00am-4.00pm from 1st March to 31st March and from 1st of November to 30 November.
8.00am-5.00pm from 1st April to 30th April and from 1st October to 31st October.
8.00am-6.00pm from 1st of May to 31st of May and from 1st September to 30th September.
8.00am-7.00pm from 1st June to 31st August.
The museum is closed on the 1st of January, 25th December and on Easter day.
Too bad you are only allowed to take pictures at the outdoor!
Most of the pictures in this blog are in black and white setting to pay respect to those who had been sacrificed …
During the tour, a guide will be provided at the entrance and he/she will guide you all the way from Oswiecim (KL Auschwitz 1) to Brzezinka (KL Auschwitz 2-Birkenau).
The most important constructions and objects in Birkenau are the remnants of four crematoria, the gas chambers, the cremation pits and pyres and the special unloading platform where the deportees were selected and also pond with human ashes.
Once you get through the ticket check point, you will reach the main entrance, and above the main gate at Auschwitz –through which the prisoners passed each day on their way to work, there is a cynical inscription: “Arbeit macht frei” (Working brings freedom). In my humble opinion, I think it should be rewritten to “Working keeps you alive”. XD
After that, you will be guided to visit some of the most important exhibition rooms. The exhibition shows the living conditions of the Auschwitz prisoners, who died in the camp as the result of torturous hand labor, hunger, disease, experiments, executions and a range of punishments and torture.
You will keep your eyes wide open while visiting some of the exhibition rooms like a room displaying almost 2 tons of hair shaven from the victims, others like the proves of the crime committed by the Nazis, a room full of containers for Cyclon B, the toxic gas used to exterminate the prisoners, a room filled with suitcases, daily utensils and others… Try to imagine, how many lives have to be taken just to get this amount of stuffs?????
Block 11-‘The death block’, is the must visit building in the museum, “This block was a prison within prison, completely isolated from the rest of the camp. The ground floor and cellars are preserved in the original form.
The courtyard between blocks 10 and 11 is enclosed on two sides by high wall. The wooden blinds on the windows of block 10 were installed to prevent observations taking place here. At this “Walls of Death” the SS shot thousands of prisoners, mostly Poles. In the yard in front of block 11, SS men administered punishments in the form of flogging and hanging prisoners to special stake by their arms, which are bent behind their back”, taken from Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum Guide Book.
It reminds me of the conditions in the camp while I was there. Before I continue my blog, let’s close your eyes for 1 minute for mourning to those who have sacrificed in the camp…
Want to know more about the camp? Have you heard before about Josef Mengele? If not, let me tell you a bit about him, he is also known as ‘The Angel of Death’. He was a SS Officer and physician in Nazi Concentration camp Auschwitz-Birkenau, infamous for his human experiments in the camp. Some of his experiments like changing the eye color through injecting chemicals into it, amputations of the extremities, sewing the identical twins together to become conjoined twins… These were what those victims suffered in the camp… They were having an inhuman life back then… Can you imagine how lucky we are in this modern time?
After visiting the 1st museum, go to KL Auschwitz 2-Birkenau (Brzezinka) which is situated about 3km away from Oswiecim (KL Auschwitz 1).
Here, you are about to witness another concentration camp which is larger and only made by wood. The condition here is worse if compared with Oswiecim (KL Auschwitz 1). Here we can visit the view of prisoners’ living quarter as they really were, wooden barracks, wooden bed, toilet and etc…
From what the guide told us, they were only allowed to go to toilet twice a day, otherwise, they would have to ‘settle’ their urgency in the barrack. From what we see in the pictures, those who sleep upper layer will pass down their ‘unwanted’ waste to the 2nd layer, then gradually to the ground… Disgusting? Well, these were what they had gone through during the World War 2…