|Auschwitz I - main registration building|
Up early we had our delicious free breakfast and went to meet up with the tour group heading to Auschwitz I and Auschwitz II - Birkenau. It is hard to know what to say of this tour other than this is something everyone should see. If you cannot see it then read about it and educate yourself. What happened in this part of the world during WWII is uncomprehendable. Novels like Schindler's Ark may make people out to be heroes when there is always another side, but they also give insight into details that will leave you speechless, and sometimes a little nauseous too. I read Schindler's Ark shortly before this trip and am still trying to make my brain understand some of the things that I learned. I don't want to go into too much detail, I think everyone should find their own way to absorb history but here some things that really stood out for me personally.
|Main Gate: Work Brings Freedom|
Auschwitz II - Birkenau was the death camp. When Auschwitz I was deemed not to be efficient enough for extermination, it was expanded here. Birkenau had a capacity of up to 200 000 people. Most of the barracks here used for prisoners were prefabricated horse stables. These were meant to house 52 horses during war times for armies. Instead they were used to house on average 450 prisoners. Sometimes up to 700. The gas chambers and crematoria at this camp were run by 'special' groups of prisoners. These groups were exterminated every few months and replaced by new prisoners. Probably once they were deemed to know too much.
|Auschwitz II - Birkenau|
|Birkenau - Over 175 acres|