Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Work Makes You Free

So, Auschwitz was very interesting, and disturbing. We walked through the gate that read "Arbeit Macht Frei" which means: Work makes you free. How condescending! These prisoners were forced to walk through those gates to conduct work that never made them free.

We saw a very disturbing amount of hair that had been kept. I learned that a lot of the hair had been used to make blankets and clothes. It was not something I knew about nor really wanted to see. The children were always the saddest. There was a picture of a girl after they had been freed, and she was 14 yrs old, but she looked 60. That brought a wave of saddness on.

When we went to Auschwitz-Birkenau (the second Auschwitz) we saw the train platform that everyone was dropped off at. And the gas chamber - however the gas chambers had been destroyed by the SS Men before they were over-taken by the Soviets.
When we went to look at the barracks that were really horse stables turned into barracks, we saw a gentleman who was with his grandson we believe and a friend. The grandson was videoing him. He ended up having been a survivor. He walked into the barracks and went straight to his old bunk and lay down. It was amazing! He even mentioned that he had been there when he was 8 yrs old to 11 yrs old. I cannot imagine what must go through his mind coming back to this place. It is so unfathomable for those of us so removed from it. I can go through the camp and listen to the tour guide and read the history. But to have lived it, wow! I don't know.

On a brighter note....after our "downer" of a day, we decided we needed to perk up! So, we had a great dinner and then hit a few bars. We were shushed in a bar...stupid people! We're in a bar, and we were asked to be quieter! Can you believe it? We were pissed, needless to say. We then went to a different bar and had a much more fun time....let's just say there were tables and there was dancing....put two and two together!

The city of Krakow, after seeing the history, is very pretty. The main square is lovely. And there is a market that is quite fun to look around at. Here are some final pictures of the city. It definitely helps to see the city after going to Auschwitz. It lets you know that there is good out there and that what happened, although real, didn't stop this town from becoming beautiful!

I would definitely recommend going to Krakow if you ever have the chance!

1 comment:

  1. Those definitely are some beautiful pictures! It's so nice to know they were able to bounce back from the atrocities of Auschwitz. Wow! What a blessing for you to be able to actually see a survivor from the camp. I am with you and can not imagine the emotions he must have been feeling from returning there after so many years.

    Glad to hear for the most part it was a great trip!