Back in March I made my way to the beautiful city of Krakow, Poland. The reason I visited this gorgeous city for three days was to visit the death camp Auschwitz. This was the most horrifying yet terrifying experience of my life. I travelled to Gatwick Airport, London to visit my friend coming from Brighton so we could travel to Krakow together.
I have always wanted to visit this horrific, historical site and I finally got the chance to go during Easter. Even though I should have been studying for my French and Irish exam! This was a once in a lifetime experience. Stepping foot onto these grounds was an emotional rollarcoaster.
Every step I took was a step across a mass grave. The sadness, grief, anger, guilt and betrayal all hit me at once. It was as if all the people who were murdered here left their feelings on this site. It’s as if these poor people left their pain here on earth to let everyone who visits to feel just like they did. Trapped, tortured, hopeless, abused and murdered.
The tour my friend and I bought was off viator. I highly, highly recommend this tour! It was amazing and the most rewarding experience of my life. My friend and I got our own private driver. He picked us up from our gorgeous hotel at 9:30 in the morning. (Subscribe to read more about my hotel in Krakow). He was so lovely and welcoming. His English was really good too! I was worried that I wouldn’t understand the guide that we got but I didn’t need to be worried at all. He brought us traditional Polish sweets for our drive. (LINK TO TOUR)
The tour began as soon as we got into the car. Our guide drove us to the Jewish Quarter. He walked us around the area with us showing important parts of history. He also brought us to parts of the area were filmed for the movie Schlindler’s list! The Jewish Quarter was interesting because it was a mixture of old, historical buildings and modern buildings also. It’s beautiful.
When he was finished showing s the Quarter he drove past Schlinder’s factory (If you are travelling to Poland and want to visit the factory I know a place where not many people know that sell tickets to the factory. So you don’t have to wait in long lines! I hate it and I most definitely know you do too) Oskar Schlinder is a very respected man throughout the world for the work he did during this horrific time and he will be forever remembered in history. Its amazing to see that his factory is still standing after all these years. It has been kept in a very good condition.
Heading back into the middle of the beautiful city of Krakow we were shown the Jewish Ghetto. Just like the Jewish Quarter the buildings were a mix between old and modern. The ghetto was were the Jews were placed by the Nazi’s. They were unable to leave this place unless they had jobs outside of the walls and they had to be back before a certain time. Two parts of the ghetto wall still stand to this day. Around the area of the ghetto there are signs with a lot of information about the area and what happened here.
Auschwitz Birkenau: Camp two
This camp was known as the death camp due to this site having five gas chambers/ crematoriums to carry out the Final Solution in 1941. It is estimated that between 1.1 and 1.6 million people were killed in this camp between 1941 until the day the camp was liberated on the 27th of January 1945. Yes the Nazis were still exterminating people on the day the camp was liberated then tried to blow up all the evidence of the crimes that took place on these grounds.
This camp is colossal in size and took us about three hours to walk around the whole site. You cannot rush walking through this place because you have so much to take in. As we walked around there was no sounds apart from our occasional scuffle against a rock. There were no plant or animal life apart from the trees that surrounded crematorium five and dead looking grass. From looking at the trees and grass and also the lack of animal life without knowing the history of this significant site you would instantly know terrible and horrifying things happened here. The atmosphere walking through this place was intense.
I believe everybody should visit this site of mass genocide and terror. It’s one thing to learn about Auschwitz from a book or documentary but physically standing in this site everything clicks into place and the impact of what one man can make his followers do. It’s terrifying!
Auschwitz: Camp one
If camp two was too horrific for you then I really suggest you don’t go to camp one because this camp has a lot more artefacts and evidence of how bad the Nazi’s actually were to the prisoners. My stomach was churning and my mind was running wild with thoughts like “how could anyone do this?!” and “how sick in the head do you have to be to treat people like this?!”.
I honestly could not believe what was truly happening here. You don’t read about what I witnessed in this camp in our history books let me tell you that. Josef Mengele’s “hospital” was found on this site and I could honestly say that if we were brought into there I would most likely have had to leave! That man was one sick fucker and I wouldn’t have been able to stomach standing where he did the most heinous acts on women, children and babies. He really was the Doctor of death. As our guide said “I wouldn’t call him a doctor because doctors help people, not kill them”. I absolutely agree with her on this 100%. Doctors study medicine to cure sick people and what that monster did was nothing other than torture. He used these poor innocent people for his sick, sadistic needs.
As we walked through these buildings all the mugshots of the prisoners hung on the wall their eyes boring into us as we walked past going from building to building.
Previously I have mentioned tour guides. My friend and I were lucky enough to get a husband and wife as our guides. They were so friendly, welcoming and made sure to take good care of us while we were with them which was really sweet of them to do.
The husband was our driver and our guide through the Jewish Quarter, Jewish Ghetto and Camp two. His wife was our guide through camp one. They were both amazing tour guides and had such good English. Before we went I was worried that we wouldn’t be able to understand our guides but that wasn’t the case at all.
This tour was quite expensive. It cost €300. My friend bought it for me as an early birthday gift. I believe that the tour was worth every single cent of the €300 spent because this tour lasted for around nine hours and was unbelievable. You should most definitely do this tour because it is amazing.
My opinion is that everyone needs to visit these horrific camps to see the hell people were put through. Auschwitz stands to this day as a warning to the world of how people can be so evil. It also stands as a reminder to never ever let this happen again and how we need to stand together as one to take care of one another instead of hurt people with our words and actions.
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