Auschwitz - the black mark in our history

Near the small Polish town Oświęcim lies a subject which many of us wish was never built. Auschwitz, the largest Nazi's concentration camp is composed of 2 areas, the Auschwitz I and Auschwitz II (Birkenau) camps. You can easily spend a day in this area, exploring and learning about the daily lives of people imprisoned in this hell hole.

We started our tour in Auschwitz I which served as an administration center of the complex and nowadays has a museum in almost every building in the area. Starting with the history of WWII and its effects on the Polish people, continuing to examples on how the buildings were setup for sleeping, pictures of the ghettos and transports and finally finishing with the gas chambers and areas of execution of the prisoners. Some of the buildings are lined with pictures of the prisoners' headshots with their name which makes you shiver all over when walking by the thousands of tormented faces. The tour of the complex can take anywhere from 2 - 4 hours, depending on your patience to deal with huge amounts of tourist groups and your interest in the history.

The second, much larger camp, Auschwitz II (Birkenau) is only a few kilometers away at the end of the town. You can take any of the plentiful taxis in the area or of course use your own transportation to get there (Turn right out of the gate of the first camp and then just follow the signs). Once you get there, be prepared to be in awe as to the size of the area. The tourist count is a bit less than in the first camp as some people don't even make it here and the area is larger, so they get dispersed around. You can walk through the camp, visit the insides of the buildings to see how the prisoners lived, where they slept in, where they went to bathroom etc. At the far end of the complex, there are the infamous baths aka gas chambers where the prisoners were horded right off the trains, stripped off their clothes and gassed to death. The gas chambers are nowadays all torn down and also half the camp's barracks are gone with only the heating chimney's left behind.

The visit to Auschwitz will leave you wondering for days how something like this is even possible in our world and how any human being could even be part of such an atrocity.