Auschwitz-Birkenau

I wasn’t intending to do a post about Auschwitz’s concentration camps. I believe a lot has been said, talked about, and documented about it. However it was really touching experience, and for what I’ve felt there it deserves a few words.

It’s a good thing if you see some of the most important movies and documentaries before you go. And a tour guide is essential. Otherwise what you will see will be nothing but a ranch in ruins with barb wire around it.

But when you know the belief people had when entering those gates or even before getting to Poland. According to the guide even some people both the ticket expecting better life conditions than the ones the ghettos Nazi putted them on provided.

The lies began at the gate, and ended in the “shower rooms”.

People would arrive in trains, and were asked to place their name on the bags and told they would come for them, which is why they should be identified. Two lines were made, man, and women and children. After, two other lines would form in each, the death line and the suitable for work line.

The few “suitable to work” would survive less than a year. One of the corridors show photos of prisoners and the date of entrance to the camp and date of death, rare were the ones that would have the next year registered. To the horrible conditions in the camp we have to add the meals (if you can call coffee in the morning, a piece of bread in the afternoon and a sausage in the night meal).

These trains would arrive to Auschwitz from Greece for example from a 10 day journey with 10 people per carriage, and not the normal one we are used to, more like where horses are carried (back in the day).

Obviously most people would arrive weak and sick. These would go directly to the gas chambers. Given a hock with a number, asked to dress their clothes and made believe they would be taking a shower before getting to their accommodation; people would enter calmly to their death place (and I can tell you, its creepy being inside a gas chamber knowing what happened there. I would instinctively watch the open door for any movement).
And after, nothing was wasted, hair removed for mattresses, valuable items from the bags sold to support the Nazi cause, clothes for future prisoners, golden teeth…but millions.

I believe this to be what shocked me the most, not so much the act or its brutality, but the number.  2 tons of hair was found upon the liberation of the camp by the soviets, hundreds of bags, a big room full with shoes only.

This shows a horrifying mixture of the German efficiency and Nazi coldness. A killing factory always looking for efficiency.

I understand how prejudice works, and I believe it to be nowadays an unconscious survival technique. That’s just how we work.

But from walking to the other side of the road as a safety precaution and possible offending the person on the other side of the road to the extermination of an entire race goes a long way, and I just can’t figure out what leads someone to think like that, and so easily lead other people to do it as well. Just can’t get my head around it, and from Auschwitz I’ll always take that question with me. How does one hate so much other races, put one blonde blue-eyed race over all others, and manages to cause such a horrific thing always hidden in political intentions.

 

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