Last week the Durrants from Wroclaw and the Lloyds from Lodz came to Katowice for the day, and we all visited the Auschwitz-Birkenau prison camps. It was a sobering day for us, but yet it is something every person should see. It’s a lesson in history which should never be repeated. The two camps are about three kilometers apart, and there are shuttle buses which go between the two locations. The grounds now have some trees and grass, but when the camps were operating, there was nothing but dirt and mud. When the Germans knew the war was ending, they bombed and burned the camps in hopes to destroy the evidence of this atrocity. Parts have been reconstructed, and some of the the sites were left in rubble. We saw many heart-wrenching pictures and sights, enough to bring tears to our eyes. It’s all a very sad memory of people who had totally lost the Spirit of Christ and were without conscience or feeling. We pray it will never happen again.
At Auschwitz we were greeted with barbed wire fences everywhere. These buildings have all been reconstructed using as much as the original material as was possible.
The barracks were lined with tiers of bunks for sleeping. Sometimes as many as 10 had to sleep in one bunk. One barrack, which was not a very large building, held as many as 700 people at one time. People had to find a spot anywhere they could for rest at night, and it was wall-to-wall people.
This is a view of the tracks inside Birkenau. The trains came through this archway into the camp, and it was about where this picture was taken that they came out of the “cattle cars” in which they were transported and “sorted” as to where they would go next.
Some of the barracks had bunks which slept three people to one bed.
The memorial in Birkenau is dedicated to the many people who lost their lives there.
This plaque at the memorial site in Birkenau was displayed in five different languages.
The ruins of the gas chambers which were underground.
The remains of the crematorium in Birkenau
Birkenau covers many acres of land, which at one time was filled with 90,000 prisoners. These grounds were lined with barracks, the remains of which we see here.
The Lloyds, the Durrants, the Reeds, and our guide, Marta – Marta’s English was excellent and her presentation was very informative.. She said she has been giving tours for about 7 years.