Our 2011 Eastern Europe Trip
Page 6

We spent a half day at Auschwitz I and II (Birkenau) concentration and death camps. The Nazis cruelly, heartlessly, and efficiently murdered over one million people here. Some of my pictures will have comments that were on plaques and photo. I couldn't write it any better (or worse) than that.

Here is the "Work makes free" sign in at the entrance to Auschwitz I. This prison camp was a Polish military barracks. Most of the brick buildings existed before the Nazis took over. Many were added using slave labor and bricks from homes that surrounded the camp. The camp is now a museum that contains exhibits of both Auschwitz I and II.

Here is a street of brick barracks that housed Jews, Poles, Gypsies, and other prisoners before Aushwitz II was built.

This is our Aushwitz guide: David Kennedy (from Wisconsin). He is pointing out the Nazi plan to have Auschwitz be the main "disposal" site for all of Europe.

This map shows the plan of KL (Konzentrationslagers: Comcentration Camps) Auschwitz I and II and the rail lines leading to them.

These speaks for themselves...

This is the "Death Wall". Men and women, stripped naked, would be held against the wall by two guards while a third would shoot them in the head. The bodies would then be taken to the crematory for burning.

This is the Auschwitz I Crematorium. It is small compared with the Auschwitz II Crematorium. Incidentally, the Camp Comandant Rudolf Höss (not Hess) lived with his family in one of the buildings beyond the crematorium. He was hung after the war.

Here is the iconic view of the rail road tracks leading into Auschwitz II AKA Birkenau.

This is a diagram of Birkenau. In the lower left you can see the train lines entering the camp Inside, on the right are the wooden barracks that housed the men. The crematoriums are in the rear.

The women we housed to the left of the tracks in brick barracks.

All that are left of the wooden barracks are the few preserved - shown in the lower picture.

This barrack building was the toilet building for hundreds of men in the 20 barracks next to it. The drainage was terrible and the septic system did not function well. Many died of toilet related diseases.

One of the remaining barracks contains bunks. 10 men shared a bunk. They were 3 bunks high and 20 on each side of the barracks. 1800 men could be packed in 1 barracks. There were 19 barracks in each row and there were 9 rows of barracks. There were a total of 171 barracks holding over 200,000 men.

One curious note: The barracks were originally designed and built as pre-fab farm stables. After the war most were removed and reused as farm buildings.

This is a model of a Birkenau Crematorium (there were 4 of them). It shows the gas chambers and ovens. Not very nice!

That's it for Auschwitz. We'll move onto more pleasant things.

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