Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Auschwitz, Important to Remember

While in Poland, we toured the Auschwitz Concentration Camps. This is the entrance to Auschwitz 1. The sign reads, "Arbeit macht frei". The Polish army used to train on this site, so the barracks were taken over for prisoners when the concentration camp was established here. There were lots of people touring Auschwitz. The sun was shining, although there was a very quiet and somber feeling in the air.
These are written records that the Germans kept on the prisoners of Auschwitz. Towards the end of the war, they quit keeping these records for prisoners who were sent directly to the gas chamber from the trains. As a result, no one knows exactly how many people died here.
These are the beds in the women's barracks at Auschwitz 2, called Birkenau. Crammed with bodies, lice and rats, freezing cold in the winter...these were certainly miserable places of rest.
Only one gas chamber remains at Auschwitz. The Germans tried to destroy as much as they could before the occupation ended. The inside was dimly lit; it was startling to see a cement room where so many innocent people died. In the neighboring room stood two ovens, used to cremate the bodies after they were pulled from the gas "showers".
This memorial stone pays tribute to the victims of Auschwitz. The stones were laid there by visitors as a token of remembrance. May we never forget the horrors we are capable of.

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