Trip Information

Auschwitz II - Birkenau
Auschwitz II - Birkenau (8)
Trip Date:2008-10-16
# Photos:3 [View]
Countries visited:Poland
Viewed: 3276
This travelogue contains the pictures from my trip to Auschwitz. I went on the trip as part of a project called Lessons From Auschwitz, which is ran the Holocaust Educational Trust. It was a one day trip. We flew from Glasgow early in the morning to Krakow and returned in the evening.

When we arrived in Poland we got on coaches which took us to a town called Oswiecim (the Nazis renamed this town Auschwitz). Here we were shown around a Jewish cemetery. The cemetery was pre-war and our visit was to show us that Jews were able to practice their religion freely before the Nazi regime. The cemetery was in the middle of the town.

After this we made our way to the camp. Auschwitz is split into three parts:

-Auschwitz I. This was originally a forced labour camp but was slowly turned into a death camp.
-Auschwitz II - Birkenau. This was the largest death camp established by the Nazis were 1,500,000 Jews were murdered.
-Auschwitz III - Monowitz. This camp was never completed.

Our group only visited Auschwitz I and II.

Auschwitz I felt quite like a museum. There where many exhabitions including huge piles of human hair and shoes taken from prisoners on entry to the camp. The entrance to Auschwitz I bore a sign saying 'Arbeit Macht Freit' or 'Work Sets You Free'. Auschwitz I only contained one gas chamber.

In comparison Auschwitz II - Birkenau is a massive site. Alot of the buildings were destroyed by the Nazis covering their action or burned down by the Russins to control the spread of disease. Auscwitz II - Birkenau has the iconic railway lines were many people reached the of their journey and entered the gas chambers. There were six gas chambers at Auschwitz II - Birkenau. The area is covered by a strange silence.

I learnt alot on my trip. The aim of The Lessons From Auschwitz trip is to educate young people about the Holocaust so that they can pass on the lessons that humanity has learned to their peers. The main lessons that I learnt were:

-We should be more accepting of everyone in our communities. Every persons beliefs, culture and skills are valuable to our society and we must not discriminate against those who are different from ourselves.
-We must stand up for what is right. There were many bystanders in the Holocaust who could have made a difference. Although it is unfair to blame the bystanders for the Holocaust, we must realise that we have the ability to influence politicians and other people who have a great deal of power.

I will conlude this with a fact that I learnt on my trip. In Britian if someone important or special dies we have a minute of silence as a mark of respect. If we were to do the same for the 6,000,000 Jews that were killed across Europe during the Holocaust we would stand silent for over eleven years. We must remember the past and learn from it, so as not to repeat the horrors that plagued our world less than 70years ago.