Poland – Day 13 – Auschwitz and back

88 miles

Krakow – Auschwitz – Krakow

Given the weather was supposed to turn from sunny, hot, and the 90s (30 or something in Celsius) to rain, we decided to hole up in Krakow for a couple of days. As we were only an hour or so from Auschwitz, I decided that I was going to go whether it rained or not. Mark and MacBean had no interest. Martyn however thought it was something he should do.

When we arrived, we found that there were only timed entry tickets for the Auschwitz part of the memorial and ours was slated for 4:15pm and this was right around 11:00am. However, there are no restrictions on the Birkenau part of the memorial so we took the bus there

The first view of the camp many who were brought here would see.

As people arrived at the camp, they were often sorted into the “able” bodied and the “weak”.

The walk of death

The weak, women, children, the infirm were separated from the other people at the station and sent down this brick road. At the end, they would be shepherded to the gas chambers.

Recreated camp huts

I have known for a long-time that 6-million Jews were murdered by the Nazis. However, until I visited, it was hard to recognize how big that number was. The scale of the camp is enormous. These recreated huts went off into the distance

The remains of the destroyed huts

Behind them stood the remains of the destroyed huts which went on forever in every direction. The place was a massive slaughter factory.

A dormitory hut

The able bodied were forced to live in these huts. Originally, they had been stables to house forty horses. Instead, 400 people were crammed in to these cabins.

A pit by the gas chambers

At the far end of the camp you come across the remains of the gas chambers. They are a sobering sight.

The remains of the gas chambers

When the Germans began to retreat from Poland, they tried to cover up what they had done. They began dynamiting the facilities and force marched the inmates to Germany.

A memorial plaque in English

After exploring Birkenau neither Martyn nor I felt up to wait until later in the day to see the Auschwitz part of the camp.