08 May, 2015

Kraków part VII - No words

Another must-visit when going to Krakow, one that takes you beyond anything you can imagine and leaves no words to describe.  A small town called Oświęcim that would probably never be known if it hadn't been renamed to Auschwitz and used as scene of the most systematic destruction in history. 

Infamous entrance to the main camp Auschwitz I, with brick-build barracks that once belonged to the Polish army

Even though the outside looks like a collection of abandoned row houses, the inside tells a different story...
From all over Europe, through the selection process to the gas chambers - with every step precisely documented and pictured
Empty zyklon B canisters
Symbolic urn in one of the barracks
Numbers that are too abstract to comprehend - behind each lies a pair of shoes, a pot, a suitcase, a prosthesis, glasses, a broken toy, a pile of hair...
Block No. 10, in which sterilization experiments were conducted
"Wall of death" between block 10 and 11
Surgery & protection ward - needless to say whoever got inside was anything but protected
Apell place & "Death block"
Gas chambers & crematory
Gallows on which camp commander Rudolf Höss was hanged in 1947
Sight of the labour camp Auschwitz III - Monowitz.
Outside of town, a small village named Brzezinka after birch trees, known under it's German name Auschwitz II - Birkenau.
Unlike tha main camp that tells the story through museum exhibits, the camp in Birkenau is an open-air museum, with brick barracks on one side of the tracks, and wooden barracks/its remains on the other

Endless fields of chimneys and barbed wire...
Sanitary facilities for 2000 people
At the end of the tracks, a rather unsuccessful attempt to cover up the gas chambers and a memorial with plaques in several languages
~ the end ~

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