I get knots in my stomach just thinking about writing this one. But I’m gonna do it because I think there is some truth to this…
What I’m sharing is only a fraction of what you see when you tour Auschwitz and Birkenau (the 2 camps are about 3 kms apart).
Everywhere the Jews went, they were herded like cattle (actually even worse than that). Gas chambers where they were told they were going to “take a shower”.
One place where they burnt the bodies. Some Jews were selected and relocated into fenced-off areas on particular cities called “ghettos”.
When their time came, they were transferred to Auschwitz or Birkenau by cattle railcars. They would stuff 120 humans into a cattle car for extremely long commutes. Many people died in enroute. There was no food, water, bathrooms, and not even enough oxygen to go around.This horrifying scene is after the “selection” process – where they would decide who was fit and strong enough to put to work, and who was useless to them. The pile of bodies were part of the latter category.The Nazis didn’t let anything go to waste. They stripped the Jews of all their belongings and, on women, even their hair. They cut their hair off so they could sell it to the textile industry. They treated them like animals!Walking into a room with mounds and mounds of women’s ponytails that had been chopped off … made me want to vomit. They took their prosthetics (they sorted all of these belongings into different warehouses).
All of their kitchenware…Their leather suitcases…Shoes… Brushes, shaving kits, etc… there was nothing they didn’t strip them of.They numbered everyone. It was not just Jews in the camp. There were gypsies, Polish, Soviet prisoners of war, and many other nationalities. They numbered them according to whichever category they fell under. The Germans documented everything. Everyone that came into the camp, everyone that died. The photos of the children suffering and crying just made my heart sink. Can you imagine being a parent and trying to calm your child through this…Before the gas chambers became a huge thing, many of the prisoners were used for slave labor. They were malnourished and overworked, then came home to this type of bed…This was an execution courtyard. Many were killed against that wall. We woke up quite early to beat the tourist crowds (not thinking they would be too bad on a Tuesday Off-Season). This man intercepted us in the bus station as we were trying to figure out the tickets. In a nutshell, he offered us a deal to be our chauffeur for the day. Normally we would never take the risk of getting into a stranger’s vehicle…but we had an alright feeling about this guy. And it paid off! When we arrived to the museum site, there was only 1 other bus. When we finished (about 1.5 hour later), the whole parking lot was FULL of buses and everything was crowded. So we were glad we took a chance on this Polish fellah!
These are the real-life cattle cars that would transport 120 people to Auschwitz or Birkenau. The back end of Birkenau. “For Ever Let This Place Be A Cry Of Despair And A Warning To Humanity, Where The Nazi’s Murdered About One And A Half Million Men, Women, And Children, Mainly Jews From Various Countries Of Europe.”
Most of the gas chambers at Birkenau had been destroyed by the Germans to hide evidence. All that is left are the remains. Walking along the roads where prisoners were housed. Auschwitz became too small to contain the number of Jews and others, so Birkenau was built. The railway entrance to Birkenau. That’s probably enough for you to get the idea. If you are thinking of going, do it. It’s nauseating, yes. But very eye-opening and it makes the Holocaust very real.