Friday 29 November 2013

Never forget

As I've got older, I've developed more of an interest in history although I've always had a facination with WW2 and have always wanted to go to Poland and visit Auschwitz.  The opportunity presented itself to do just this, this year and that's exactly what Mum and I did.

I don't want to upset anyone with the following pictures, but I'm a strong believer that EVERYONE should go and see what happened in our history to ensure that as a world, we NEVER let this happen again...

Whilst visiting the camp didn't affect me in the way that I thought it would (I genuinely believed that I would be balling the whole way round and I wasn't) I found myself getting angry that something as horrific as what happened could have happened in the first place and the length of time it took for anyone to do anything against Hitler..
 Mum and I at the entrance gates of Auschwitz..
 One of the barracks

Although very imposing, it was smaller than I thought the camp would be, and it had proper brick buildings and pavements..
At least 20 people slept in each "bed" area

 The firing wall..
 One of the guard look outs
 Roll call tower - at roll call, the prisoners could be standing out for up to 12 hours at a time..

Double barbed wire fencing

Some of the gas canisters found that the Nazi's used to gas to death millions of people..
 Incinerators used to burn the bodies of the dead

The Nazi's used to strip the prisoner and keep all their belongs - this are just some of the children's shoes that were found when the camp was liberated in 1945 by the Russian Red Army.

After visiting the horrors of Auschwitz, we carried on to Birkenau which was the second camp built only a few km away..
This is the picture that most people remember when they see a war film, the train tracks leading to the entrance to Birkenau where once all the Jewish people and all the other nationalities arrived, they were made to stand in line and selection would take place - those that were deemed fit and strong enough to work - lived, the rest were sent down the lines to the gas chambers..

The view of what's left of some of the barracks..
When the Nazi's heard about the impending arrival of the Allies they began destroying all evidence of their crimes.  Papers, records, buildings were all destroyed. However, the remains of the 3 gas chambers they built to execute millions still exist....

We also visited Oskar Schindler's Factory - he was the man that saved over 1,200 Jews from death by employing them in his enamel factory..
This dome lists the name of every single person he saved.

Some of the pots, pans, plates that the factory produced during the war.
On the way back to the Jewish Quarter which is where we were staying in Krakow, we went via the Ghetto wall that still stands as a reminder of what happened in Poland...

We also visited the Salt Mines and after walking down 268 steps (Mum took the lift)! my legs were like jelly!
 Was worth it though, you could lick the walls!!

Mum and I spent 5 days in Poland, well, 3 really after flights there and back and it was an amazing experience.
 They even have Avon!!!!!

I can wholeheartedly recommend the trip to everyone.


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