Auschwitz II – Birkenau Experienced
Auschwitz-Birkenau is the world’s biggest concentration camp established by the Nazis during the World War II in Poland. It is also world known symbol of the Holocaust. Auschwitz Camp-I is the starting point of the holocaust tour before Birkenau. For lone traveller or group of tourists who don’t have any vehicle or tour guide can visit Birkenau by a shuttle bus provided by the camp. It’d only take a few minutes to reach the place. Having completely a lone long tour the Auschwitz 1, I knew in my mind that there’s something’s missing that I hadn’t seen inside the camp based on the pictures that I Googled before I came down to Krakow. And so, I asked the young American-Jewish lad stood next to me busily taking pictures if there’s another camp aside from the 1. From that, I walked around looking for some knowledgeable person to ask if there’s a way I could possibly get to the next Camp, good thing that the people I asked with could speak English & showed me directly to the location of the shuttle bus rightly in front of the Auschwitz office.
My excitement had no bounds that my holocaust exploration didn’t ends there. According to the infos I got about Birkenau ” It was initially served as a concentration camp and as a place of deportation of Poles, alongside Soviet prisoners. In 1942 it also became the biggest camp of immediate and mass extermination of Jews, Poles, Roma people and representatives of other nations & ethnic groups.” Usually, some visitors declined the opportunity to visit Auschwitz 2 – Birkenau, it’s there that the impact of holocaust can be fully felt through the collosal size of the slaughtery done of the second camp. It became the most savage of all the Nazis death factories with thousands of prisoners held that time. As I went through the entrance of the gate of Birkenau, a vast & wide expansion of space was flashed before me as if an endless horizon. It was really a huge camp with little remains bricks barracks at the left side and a wooden barracks at the right side that used to be a quarantine area. At the furthermore part of the camp lies the numbers of the crematoria ruins and at the most top part is the remains of dynamited gas chambers, which was destroyed during the Auschwitz Jews uprising when thousands of Jews refused to be herded to the gas chambers. Auschwitz-Birkenau is the spot of the tragedy, inhumanity and the survival of the will. The former barracks of the prisoners turned museum stands as a testament to the incomprehensible atrocities of the second WW while paying tribute to the millions of lives unjustly taken. It was also considered concentration camp hell to the prisoners who were frequently struggle to survive the ruthless of the Nazis regime.
If someone would try to visit Poland, Auschwitz is the first top place that I’d certainly recommend because when you get there you’ll become completely immersed and loose track of time. Some fond moments of your life that you went through in the past were easily slipped away in your mind temporarily while inside the camp. Visiting Auschwitz added ones historical knowing for sure, that it is even more tragical comparing in the Philippines. I was even telling the holocaust survivor that I’m grateful to God Philippines isn’t a part of Europe, ‘coz if it does surely my parents and my ancestors would have been slaughtered & by that I won’t be here where I am right now. The feeling of gooseflesh in Auschwitz-Birkenau wasn’t that forceful comparing to that in the Auschwitz I, yet, so many questions had come in mind if I were one of those prisoners, would I be able to survive and stay strong still till the liberation day? Just try to think, during that time, kids & teens were being separated by their parents so as wives would be separated to their husbands before they were herded to the camp, lucky it’d have been to be if you’ll meet your family & friends inside the Auschwitz camp.
Cramming inside the camp mixed with other prisoners coming from other countries, so as diseases was expansely scattered around because of hunger, the lack of tidyness and personal hygiene, adding the lack of heater which the worst during winter, prisoners had no winter clothes to warm themselves but dressed them in a striped rags. Their possessions and their own clothing were taken out from them. Well, history as it is but it will remain as reminders but a warning to humanity around the globe that holocaust remained a painful memories and human suffering to those who experienced the genocide war and occupation.
My Auschwitz –Birkenau tour was an experienced worth to tell, that I saw, I felt, I cried, the anguish and grief of those holocaust victims.