There’s really not much that I can say about Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camp that hasn’t been said before. From early 1942 to late 1944, 1.3 million people (90% of whom were Jews) were killed here.
Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camp is an absolutely shocking place, and you can’t help but be affected by it. One sees documentaries and reads about the things that happened here, but when you’re actually walking through it, reading about some of the terrible things that occurred in the very room/s that you’re standing in, it’s just overwhelming.
One room that actually made me cry was full of wall to floor display cabinets of the belongings of prisoners that were taken from them when they arrived. Each cabinet is themed, and one of them is just full of children’s toys, dolls and children’s clothes.
Everybody should visit this place once in their lives. It certainly makes you question things, and can change your perspective on life. It’s hard to believe that despite the fact that this sort of this is in our past, us human beings still persist on engaging in conflicts and inflicting horrors on other people today. I visited in July 2010.
I was wondering whether or not I should do a blog update about this concentration camp, and ultimately decided yes because I think as the events of World War II fade ever more into the past, it can become easy for people to forget about what happened, or not attribute as much importance to it. People must never forget.
If just one person reads through this and stops to think about things, perhaps think about the armed conflicts going on in the world today with a different perspective, then this entry has served its purpose.
One thing that has always stuck in my mind has been the self reflection from the Germans about how this could have happened, and it’s not a question that is easily answerable, even today. It was a number of small developments that cumulated with what happened. This is exactly why today, when people start preaching hate and intolerance, we cannot give them the time of day – it all begins with one person and a few words.
Respect other people. Love one another. Never forget.