Auschwitz Extermination Camp

Trip Start Jul 04, 2010
Trip End Ongoing

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Campingplatz Pod Debowcem

Flag of Poland  ,
Thursday, August 19, 2010

Today we visited the Auschwitz Extermination Camp. Our first history lesson was some time ago in the Terezin Concentration Camp in Czech Republic. We then experienced more in Berlin, with the Holocaust monuments and museum. However Auschwitz was place with the most horrific occurrences, and the sole reason we came across to Poland to learn about. Innocent people were sent by train to Auschwitz from all over Europe to be executed. We saw the train landing, where people were unloaded and the Nazi guards divided them into two lines. 75% of the people in the first line which consisted of women, children and weak men, were sent to gas chambers and killed. The fitter men were sent to barracks and used for slave labour. A lot only lasted a period of weeks or months before they died. The estimate of people killed at Auschwitz is around 1 million, over a period of only a couple of years. To put a bit of perspective on this number, we've been told 60 million people died in WW2, but 10 million of these were Holocaust victims – people murdered/slayed/killed. The camp was so big, there was Auschwitz 1, 2 and 3. The Nazis had about 6 crematoriums, disposing of 8000 bodies per day, but this still wasn’t fast enough to keep up with the slaughtering and hence the mass graves were used. The horrificness isn’t just about the numbers. Jews were told they were being relocated and packed all their most important belongings to travel this journey. Some were separated out of German society and used their own money to pay for a rail ticket to Auschwitz, being mislead into believing they were going to a better place. Instead, on arrival, their belongings were taken and they were told they to undress and enter a shower. The door was closed on 2000 at a time, and they died over the next 15 minutes to half hour. The Nazi guards extracted gold fillings before putting corpses thru the furnaces. All clothes, shoes and belongings were sent back to Germany for use by civilians.

Out of all the sad stories, there were very few positive ones. However the guide showed us a photo with two young girls in it, and noted the date on which the photo was taken. It was the day after the Nazi’s stopped the selection process and all arrives were sent to the camps. Had the girls arrived the day earlier, they would not be alive. Today they both live in Australia.

We camped at another very simple caravan park, this time they had a small bar/restaurant. We saw two other tents in the caravan park, but not sure if people were staying in them or if they were erected so it didn’t look like a ghost- park. There were two guys running the bar, and Kel and I were the two customers! The guy didn’t show us the menu as it in Polish, he asked us what we felt like (Kel said Chicken, i said Lamb), and two of the most delicious meals were delivered. Oh I nearly forgot,... when we walked in Queen was playing at 90% volume! They didn’t know we were mad fans, and changed it to a quiet Jazz song. When he bought out our big Polish beers, Kel had Freddie reinstated. I think every country we’ve been to, we’ve heard Queen playing at some stage (just like it’s rained in every country). I still can’t work out how people can enjoy songs sung in a different language. 6am start tomorrow, to head to Munich.
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