travel, Travelblog

To the hell and back: Auschwitz.

I’ve been in Poland, in Krakow exactly.
Once I was there, it took me few days of deep thinking to decide should I go to Auschwitz or not.
Well, I decided to go. Even without a group of friends that were going there as well. My decision was to go alone. If you are wondering why, my answer is – because of a feeling.
I really wanted to feel that place as deep as possible. Maybe it’s because of my cultural background, maybe because the topic of holocaust has always been so close to my thoughts, maybe it’s even because I knew I wanted to follow my own feeling without being forced to share with others. Well, I decided to go.

Auschwitz concentration camp was a network of concentration and extermination camps built and operated by Nazis in occupied Poland during World War II. It was consisted of Auschwitz I (the original concentration camp), Auschwitz II–Birkenau (a combined concentration/extermination camp), Auschwitz III–Monowitz (a labor camp to staff an IG Farben factory), and 45 satellite camps.

Here, hundreds of thousands of people were barbarically murdered in the name of the supremacy of one race.
Polish political opponents first. Jews, Romani and Sinti people, homosexuals and sovietics prisoners later.

Immidiately after the first step through the famous gate with the inscription “arbeit Macht Frei” – “working makes you free”, I felt the death all around me.

Temperature was incredibly low, around -10c, and I feel it getting lower and lower with every step I took getting closer to the heart of the camp.

Entering the first buildings, I felt, on my back, all the cruelty of that place: in one of the rooms I found thousands and thousands of tons of female hair piled one on another. Nazis were cutting hair off of the prisoners and selling it in Germany, to weave fabrics and even to fill mattresses and pillows. People were simply sleeping and wearing the results of the horrors of the world.
This thought and this image is still spinning in my head.

I visited a few buildings. While I was taking one step after the other on the frozen ground, my awareness of the wars’ insanity was getting bigger and bigger. The horrifying discover I made was the concept of the “gas chambers” which is even more dreadful in the reality.
The substance Nazis used for the murdering millions of people, was not “only” a gas called zyklon b. That’s the name of the pesticide that the human beast was using to exterminate its own brothers. Like bugs on a field. Like a plague that has to be extinguished. I could barely hold my tears. I’m not ashamed to admit that.

My mental stability was shattered. It took me few minutes, while I was walking out of the camp, to understand if I was able to visit Birkenau or it was already too much.
I decided to continue.

If Auschwitz camp is the hell, Birkenau, for me, was like meeting Lucifer in person.
The cold got worse and the railway that took millions of people to their death sentences, hit me directly in the stomach and mind.

I was barely able to breathe.

The only thing I was able to visit was one of the barracks of Birkenau camp. An experience I will never forget in my life.

Sun was almost down and the Shadows possessed the camp. I made the first step in the shack and a strong smell hit my nose and my brain.
Does the death, the fear and the desperation smell like that? I think so.
Inside the barracks many lines of wooden boards were creating so-called beds. The prisoners of the camp were sleeping, crying, freezing and dying there.
A hard smell of rotten meat was filling the air staying as witness of the cruelty and madness of the human kind.

I walked out in complete silence. There was no way to sleep the following night.

It was a shocking experience for me, like it probably is for every single visitor of the camp.
Terrifying, but useful. This place has to be preserved as warning to the whole human kind in order to not make the mistakes again.

Auschwitz is the living museum of the cruelty of the evil.

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2 thoughts on “To the hell and back: Auschwitz.”

  1. Although the history of the place brings chills down my spine, I also want to visit the place, if only to learn how to go about in the future. We must always take lessons from our history. 🙂 Great piece by the way.

    Like

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