Visiting Auschwitz-Birkenau

On the last day of my stay in Krakow, I paid a visit to the concentration camps Auschwitz and Birkenau. It is not the most pleasant place to visit, but I feel like you have to witness it yourself, so that our generation is reminded of mistakes made in the past. It is a part of our history that should be remembered.

There are several ways to get from Krakow to Oswiecim. I took the train, which is not very advisable. The train ride itself takes quite long, so it is probably best you take the bus if you are coming from Krakow.

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Once arrived at Auschwitz, I joined one of the English-guided tours. The tour first guided us in and around the buildings of Auschwitz. In the buildings there are several expositions varying from more information about the camps, the ways of deportation etc. I found it touching to see the faces of people who got deported to Auschwitz, the tons of shoes, glasses, suitcases etc. that were taken from them upon arrival.

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The second part of the tour was a short bus ride away, at Birkenau. The size of this camp already gives you a feeling of how many people were deported here. We walked along the barracks and got to know more of the living conditions of the prisoners. Unlike Auschwitz, the focus here is more on the camp as a memorial, instead of museum.

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One of the barracks was home to young children. Other prisoners had drawn several drawings on the walls. One of a kid playing with its toys, another of a kid going to school. These children grew up in the war, and had known nothing else in their lives. Most likely these pictures were drawn so that these children know what it’s like being a kid under different circumstances.

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This visit left definitely left an impression, only giving me an idea of what it must have been like for all the people who suffered here. It’s quite hard to put into words, and I could tell that others in my group were quite emotional as well.

Have you visited a concentration camp before? What impression(s) did it leave?

20 thoughts on “Visiting Auschwitz-Birkenau

  1. I haven’t visited a concentration camp yet, but as a history student, I know about the conditions there. I’ve also seen a few movies about the Holocaust. But it would be fascinating, yet sort of creepy to visit one. Was it scary?

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  2. I have never visited a concentration camp but I can imagine the impact it must leave on the one who has visited. It’s quiet a dark history. Thank you for sharing your experience.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This is a tough one to go through. It strikes you halfway through about the horror of it. It hit me in phases as I walked through the camps. Even the natter of the crowds could not take away from the poignant memorabilia that tends to overwhelm.

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  4. I am sure it was a very overwhelming experience!
    You are right, as sad as it is to be reminded of that part of our history, it is important that we don’t forget!
    Have you ever seen the movie “The Boy in the Striped Pajamas”? It is a fictional story based on the Holacaust, but it is a very realistic fictional story, if that makes sense. Grab your tissues for it!

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  5. We too have not visited any of the concentration camps. And there is quite some content in print and in the web about the atrocities. It saddens to see how humans treat each other throughout history with genocides. We need to be reminded never to let this happen again

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  6. One day I want to visit. Sadness but yes it needs to be remembered. There are some small factions out there who say the holocaust never happened.? So there were clothes and shoes there? I would have been a mess even before seeing that. On our trip to France we have the opportunity to go the Somme Battlefields. Last year we stopped at a roadside cafe etc and I had an feeling of sadness. Later we found out that it was on part of the Somme battlefields. We also have the opportunity to visit Normandy. Defiantly will be going to the Somme but not sure yet about Normandy. Thank you for such a thought provoking post xx

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  7. The images sparked a sense of sorrow within me making me imagine & ponder the extent of torture that the inmates had to withstand. Thanks for sharing the images accompanied with your words generated loads of emotions in my heart, According to your convenience please do read some of my writings would love to know what you think about them 🙂

    Warm Regards,
    Sidharth
    https://sweetdevil69.wordpress.com/

    Liked by 1 person

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