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Poland 2015- Auschwitz Birkenau

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

In 2010 I was fortunate enough to go on a school trip to Belgium, visiting world war cemeteries and battlefields. I've always loved anything to do with the war and would put myself in the "war geek" category. Since then I've been wanting to take more trips like that and 1st on my list was Auschwitz. 5 years later I've finally done it.

Me and Sophie stopped in Kazimierz, Krak√≥w Poland. A beautiful place where the buildings have been preserved over the years so the architecture is just incredible. It all round has a gorgeous atmosphere day and night time, there's always something new going on and something new to discover.

We spent 3 nights in Poland and went on the auschwitz trip on the 2nd day. The morning of the trip we both felt tense and slightly apprehensive. You learn about concentration camps and what happened there but until you go you never take in the sheer horror of them. Auschwitz was the biggest concentration camp during the Second World War. Starting off at Auschwitz you learn about living conditions of the prisoners, the punishments and their everyday lives. Everything preserved and still the same as when it was first opened. Before going I was expecting to be very emotional however when you are on the tour it's more of an overwhelming shock. Seeing all those peoples belongings that they were stripped of. Suitcases, shoes, glasses, pottery and even hair some still in braids. We were taken into the very first gas chamber to be opened and I have never felt fear like I did then. You know how many people were crammed into the room. You see the holes in the roof and you know that those people were unaware that on the other side of the wall was a furnace. That was what hit me the most.

After Auschwitz you are taken about 5 minutes down the road to the Birkenau camp. The size of the camp was insane. Being able to walk down the railway tracks all those thousands of people came down in train containers. The atmosphere is dead and there aren't words to describe the feeling you have in the pit of your stomach. Most of the huts were demolished however the ones that were preserved still hold the living conditions of the victims. Unfortunately we did get caught in a thunder storm and were unable to go right to the bottom but the amount that I'd experienced I wasn't all that bothered. It's an experience I'm never going to forget and I feel as though it's something everyone should go and experience just once.

I feel so lucky to have been able to experience it all. I still have a lot of others things on my list of things to do and I hope they will be ticked off throughout my life. I've had an amazing 4 days and I couldn't be more grateful that it has happened.

1 comment on "Poland 2015- Auschwitz Birkenau"
  1. And I am feeling so lucky to have been able to witness that beautiful and breathtaking experience of Belgium with you. I really enjoyed your post.