I’ve always been interested in history, particularly the past 100 years. On one side we’ve done amazing things; we’ve traveled faster than any other being on this planet with cars and aeroplanes, flew in space and dived deep in the oceans, improved civil rights around the globe and invented an intraweb of wires that allows you to see this blog now. If there were an opposite side of the coin the WW2 concentration camps scattered across Europe and in particular, Auschwitz-Birkenau are some of them.
We took a guided audio tour of Auschwitz I where they’ve setup a museum with multiple exhibits. I think the guide did a good but difficult job of explaining the history, buildings and how the people lived and died in the camps. The exhibits and guide did it in a tactful manner and lasting just over two hours, it was a pretty somber experience. There was the second part of the tour, of camp II which was called Birkenau and we climbed onto a bus to get there. We were allowed to walk around at our own free will and take any of the buses back.
I was shocked at how big the camp really was, with a long rail track going straight up the middle and rows of shacks on both side as far as you could see. Most of the buildings wood has been salvaged by the surrounding towns, pulling it to make new buildings and repairs. They’ve reclaimed quite a bit and have about 30% of the buildings up.
While we were there we noticed there were about two hundred of Israeli military around (unarmed of course) and we had overheard one of the soldiers saying they were on leave. Just as we were leaving they started with speeches and music. It’s then that I realized what the point of the museum really is, to remember the past as history. It’s important not to dwell on history but still remember it, so these horrible things don’t repeat themselves. The reason we don’t fall off of our bikes anymore is because it hurts so much.
If you want more information about the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camps, I suggest clicking here for wikipedia.org
We took quite a few photos, you can view them on Flikr by clicking here or below