Perhaps a cold, grey, and rainy winter day is the right setting to see this place of death. Auschwitz was liberated in January 1945 by the Soviets and a museum was created here in 1947 to present the murders that happened here during the Third Reich.
Auschwitz is a very big site so a guided tour may be more helpful to understand the various sights and history of the place. Standing at the entrance, I ponder whether work does indeed set us free? This sign is a replica though after the original was stolen and cut up.
You soon will be lost in a sea of monotonous identical buildings. This is where the guide can be helpful to select a few buildings for exhibits.
The exhibits showcase the sad stories that resonated throughout these walls.
Historic photographs on display show the Jews being separated upon arrival.
While they brought limited belongings with them, the Nazis would force them to abandon their possessions next to the trains.
Some would be sent to death right away. These are the gas cylinders used to kill.
Various artifacts from the victims are shown en masse to further emphasize the extent of murder and suffering.
The disabled had little chance to survive long here.
Prisoners would crowd together to sleep on straw mattresses.
Communal bathrooms for the lucky ones.
Gloomy rooms ... gloomy corridors.
Many photos of prisoners lined the corridors, with the dates of arrival and death. Many could not survive past a few months here.
The gas chamber would finish off over a million Jews in both Auschwitz and Birkenau.
Birkenau is a much larger concentration camp comprising of over 300 prison barracks, with each housing about 300 people. The vastness of the place was a bit haunting.
Retreating Nazis tried to destroy the gas chambers and cover up their war crimes.
There were more monotonous blocks, which were designed for horses, not humans.
Inside, you had to fight for a bed spot. The unlucky ones get to sleep on the floor.
This is a very sad place.
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