Trip Start Mar 19, 2008
Trip End Jul 01, 2008

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Flag of Poland  , Southern Poland,
Monday, May 12, 2008

My day in Auschwitz was quite simply jaw dropping. Although the experience was at times spoiled by annoying tour groups, 95% of my time spent there was well worth the trip. Standing alone in a room knowing that thousands were beaten, starved, and suffered on this very spot is impossible to describe. People from all over Europe were brought to this place to be systematically slaughtered; its difficult to think how disgusting our race can be at times. I'm going to just jot down some notes I took while on the trip through the camp.
      I toured Auschwitz II, one part of the larger Auschwitz Birkenau complex. This consisted of forced labor camps, factories, prisons, and extermination complexes.
      Three to four MILLION people were killed at the Auschwitz-Birkenau complex, with over one million killed at Auschwitz II.
      15,000 Soviet POW's brought here; only 90 survived.
      One exhibit consisted of a room with two clear containers on either side. The dimensions of the containers was 50feet in length, 20feet in width, and 10feet in depth. Two of these containers held the shaved hair of victims, one held shoes, and another luggage. This is just a portion of what was found at the camp.
      1st months of operation, prisoners slept on a straw floor, then straw mattresses, then triple stacked bunks w/ 2 men per bed. Beds were required to be made up to military standards every day.
      During one month, up to 10,000 were killed per day.
      All prisoners were beaten and tortured; whipped, hung by their hands, water boarding, clubbed, forced in "standing cells", forced into manual labor, ect.
      The shaved hair from men and women was sold into the textile industry for use clothing and fabric.
      112,000-140,000 Jews from the Netherlands were taken; only 8000 survived.
      60 square kilometers around Auschwitz-Birkenau were evacuated to keep the camp a secret.
      Jewish underground kept a record of all guards who beat, killed, or tortured the inmates at the camp; allowing many to be prosecuted after the war.
      The daily required roll call could last up to 12 hours. During this time, the inmates were forced to stand outside in all weather conditions and with no breaks.
      Gold teeth and jewelry were removed after executions.
      22,000 people starved to death in Holland in the winter of 1945 while the Germans still occupied half of the country.
      The Warsaw uprising lasted 63 days and caused the complete destruction of the city of 1 million by the Germans. The uprising was spurred by Stalin as his armies were approaching. Stalin halted his armies advance as the uprising began, giving no aid to the Polish rebels.
      Poland's military contribution during the war equals that of France and Canada; even while Poland was a occupied and conquered country. Poland had an army of 600,000 operating outside of the country; it was controlled by Poland's government operating inside Great Britain. 
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