One random morning we decided to head of to finally pay our respects at Auschwitz. The ride there from Frydek-Mistek was an interesting one, as thanks to the GPS we were navigated on a lot of back roads, which in Poland are very reminiscent of Albania with lots of pot holes and in general not the greatest of condition.
Upon arriving to Auschwitz, we seemed to have come at the same time as a massive (100+ easy) group of high school kids from Israel (they had their flags out). The front entrance was packed with people but once you get through you arrive at the famous front gates stating “work makes you free”, Arbeit macht frei, (the original gate sign was actually stolen last year, and they now sadly have a replacement). The feeling that you get walking around and in the camp is indescribable. At certain points tears do come out (for me it was seeing the death wall, and gas chambers/furnaces (they were joined at this part of camp).
The exhibitions inside the old barracks are deeply disturbing, and the starvation one even more so (could only glance in, the pictures were too troubling). There are stories throughout talking about the bravery and resisting which considering the circumstances faced are incredible. There are of course a lot more horror stories.
Writing about going to Auschwitz is extremely difficult, its not the place you go to enjoy yourself, but more to see this horrific landmark and pay respects to those that suffered needlessly, all for the stupidity and futility of war. The things that humans do to each other is despicable.
After this part of the camp I was definitely in no mood or emotionally ready to see what was literally the extermination camp of Auschwitz Birkenau. One is enough.
Lest we forget