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The winter of Auschwitz is colder...

Reading a post in a friend's website this week, I got motivated to try to expose the feelings I had when I visited the Concentration Camps of Auschwits and Birkenaw. Maybe it isn't a "Beautiful Post", because, certainly it's dificult write good words about bad things.
 I hope you enjoy the way I'm exposing this place and feel with me a little bit of the sensations I had there.

My first contact with the Concentration Camps was almost six months before I went to Poland, at Imperial War Museum, London. The room at Holocaust's Section, were is situated the model of  Birkenaw's Camp,   is so big as a volleyball camp. So, we are talking about the biggest concentration camp of the world.

The name "Auschwits" includes a group of concentration camps made by Germans at the Second World War, located at the southern part of Poland, in the city of Oswiecim, 60 km from Krakow. Althoug not the only German extermination camp, this place has become a widespread icon of terror, genocidee and Holocaust. To arrive there, It's possible take a minibus at Krakow Bus Station in the morning and return in the evening.

When you buy the tickets to the camps, you buy the acess to the Museum when you can watch a small movie explainingthe historic context and the function of the local in the War.

Auschwits itself is the first camp, the smallest of the group, the administration center of the complex. It was possible to arrest almost twenty thousand people in the buildings of Auschwits.  The majority of them were intelectuals, homosexuals and people considered anti-social.
The notorious main gate of Auschwitz.

It was usual the prisioners leave the camp during the day to work hard in other parts of the camp and return in the evening, when they read the slogan that was placed in the main gate of Auschwitz: "Arbeit macht frei" , that means "labour brings freedom". The hard work allied with the poor hygiene and food conditions, made the mortality statistics grow up.

Each building of this camp show the statistics of each group of prisioners that were there. So, there are "Poland Buildings", "Holand Buildings" and so on. Some buildings shows things of people dialy routine, like shoes, eyeglasses and clothes, but the most striking are the things that were "stolen" by the soldiers from the people, like documents, luggage and their hair.

A pile of eyeglasses "stolen" from the people
The building number 11 was the place they used to test the experiments with lethal injections to kill the prisoners. The number 24 was used like a whorehouse, were the "best prisoners" received a gift and the women could have a better food condition. They killed almost 70.000 people in this camp. A gas chamber and a creamatorium were also built there.

Although Auschwitz is famous by the quantity of Jews arrested and killed there, but in reality that the most Jews groups that came from all parts of Europe were murdered at Birkenaw.

Birkenau, or Auschwitz II, was a vast factory of death holding a thousand of people. A train track efficiently pass the main building, enter into the camp and go to the "dividing platform".

The track to the "Dividing Platform"

There was a doctor that evaluated the health condition of each prisoner as they stepped of the train. If was pointed to the right, the prisoner march unknowingly directly to a gas chamber. If was pointed to left, the person was judged  after working, and live a little longer. It was this place, that families from all over Europe were torn apart for ever.

Birkenaw was, like the others, surrounded by eletric fences and barbed wire. But , beyond be bigger, has worst living conditions if compared with Auschwitz. Except the main gate and the gas chambers, the buildings had wood walls, were the wind can enter and exit by the holes, precluding to turn the rooms hot.

I could feel the cold winter of that place, when I took just two negative degrees, wearing sweaters and jackets in an evening that a I consider one of the colder sunsets of my trip.Could you imagine feel fifteen, maybe twenty negative degrees, wearing just that striped pajamas?

The first gas chamber built at Birkenaw was called "The Little Red House," a brick cottage that was the destiny without return of a lot of men, children and women that never had the option of choose the destiny of their live. The gas chambers were discribed as showers, and the people received numbered hooks to hang their clothes on, conned to think they were coming back. The Nazis didn't want panic, to maintain regular their  mass killing of over four thousand people per day.

You can view more photos of Auschwitz in my facebook album: "The Colors of Auschwitz", and read more about my experiences at Poland in my post : "Semana no Gelo". Thanks for reading and if it's possible help me sharing this post.

Regards from Brazil.

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