Shauna's HomeEurope 2007Auschwitz-Birkenau
|Most of you know what Auschwitz is but for those of you who do not then I will explain. It is a concentration camp located oustide of Krakow Poland where 1.6 million people perished. Many people assume that the concentration camps soley murdered Jews but in actuality 80% of those were Jews and the remaining 20% were prisoners of war, homosexuals, and intellectuals (to name a few). This is one of the most deadly camps that existed during WWII. Most of the people that crossed it's threshold were immediately sent to death, it was more of a death camp than a labor camp. The entire camp covers a large amount of space. There is Auschwitz 1 that consisted of mostly male working prisoners. The reason they were mostly male is because they were the ones that were viewed as capable of working. Most of the women and children that passed through were immediately killed. Dr. Mengele was a Nazi doctor that spent a lot of his time at Auschwitz 1. He would keep some prisoners alive solely for experimentation. These experiments included (to name a few) sterlization techniques, gassing techniques, and his personal fascination with twins. He used humans as his personal guinea pig. The second part of the camp was Birkenau. It is about a mile trek from Auschwitz 1 and we walked this path to get a feeling of the path the prisoners walked. It doesn't sound like a long way but when you are starving and walking in freezing tempratures it is inevitable that many people would not survive. Birkenau had barracks as well as gas chambers. Altough, it was most famous for the chambers. When the Nazi's got wind that the red army was approaching they took dynamite to a lot of the buildings to eliminate some of the evidence. The ruins of the gas chambers you see in my pictures have remained untouched and preserved.
I have shared the facts of Auschwitz with you butI don't have much to say about my personal feeings. A lot of people have asked me how I felt when I was there and I don't think that words can explain it. Imagine standing in a location where 1.6 million people perished off the face of this earth at the hands of another race. The whole idea of it is unfathomable that I doubt you can put yourself in that position. Even while being there it was tough to wrap my mind around the atrocities that occured but it did not take me much time to realize that I was standing on a mass grave. Needless to say, it was an indredibly sobering experience. I will share this with you...I wept...I reflected...and I grew. I don't have many times that I am speechless but this trip has made me so. It was a life changing experience that I will carry with me forever. I am sure that my pictures will speak for themselves.
Locations Visited: Krakow
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