Birkenau

auschwitz-birkenau: one of the emotionally toughest places we have ever visited

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Leisure travel can be associated with feel-good moments, adventure and lots of photographs for memories! But it’s not always that. There are times when travel is not a joyous experience but a valuable one all the same.

Being in Poland and witnessing with our own eyes the sites of the major concentration/extermination camps added a whole new dimension to what we already knew.

At the beginning of the guided tour of Auschwitz, we took a few photographs but upon entering the buildings, it simply didn’t feel right. Photos are allowed in most areas but we couldn’t bring ourselves to photograph for reasons we can’t quite explain, maybe out of respect(?), we just don’t know! So this post contains only 2.

Translates to "Work will set you free"
Translates to “Work will set you free”
One of our few photos of the camps - the train tracks leading into Birkeneau
One of our few photos of the camps – the train tracks leading into Birkenau

“Despite everything, I believe people are really good at heart” – Anne Frank

After visiting Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp, we have to say that it was VERY hard to believe that some of those who ran those camps had a heart at all.

What words can we use to describe seeing and walking through the camps? Confronting, heartbreaking, gut-wrenching…. The thought of such atrocities still brings tears to our eyes.

Seeing the tons of hair that had been shaved from heads, the pile of thousands of shoes and mountain of suitcases of those sent to the concentration camps was very overwhelming. The 1.3 million people murdered at these camps became “individuals” right before our eyes. All these images we have seen before in reference books or in other museums but seeing the actual items seemed to hit home a lot harder!

To hear about the medical tests inflicted on individuals, witness the living conditions and walk through the gas chambers and crematorium, it certainly stirred up a lot of emotions. We felt so sad but also felt sick in the stomach at those who were able to commit such crime upon others.

Visiting Auschwitz-Birkenau is not a “tourist attraction”, it educates! It teaches us that we should never let such horrendous acts happen again to anybody on this Earth.

Auschwitz-Birkenau holds so much significance that everyone should visit at least once in their lifetime to pay respect to those who died in concentration camps.

“To forget the dead would be akin to killing them a second time” – Elie Wiesel (a holocaust survivor) 

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