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Visits to Auschwitz

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I have always wanted to visit. They say no birds ever sing there, is this true ?

 

No. Do you think birds study 20th century history?

 

Been to Dachau.

 

It's just up the road. Names are funny, aren't they?

 

'Dachau': 'Roof meadow'.

 

'Buchenwald': 'Beechwood.'

 

Benign place names which can never mask the horrors which went on there.

 

Dachau is about an hour and a half's drive away. It's local. It's not remembered every day, but it will never be forgotten.

 

I grew up in a place (not too far from where you live - a few hundred miles south) where slaves died to support Hitler's plan. Alderney (Channel Islands) was the home to 3 slave camps: Norderney, Borkum and Rift. They were not extermination camps, but the death rate was high. The wall at Longis Bay is estimated to have cost 1 slave per foot ... and it's a very long wall.

 

I now live near a place where he tried to carry out his extermination policies.

 

I'm acutely aware just how inhumane man can be to man. I'm also very fortunate. I live in a place not so far from where people did horrendous things to others and the people who live here are acutely aware of what Hitler's regime did. It's not forgotten, nor is it commemorated. There are no memorials to the Third Reich.

 

I live in one of the most beautiful places on the planet. There are memorials - but not to Hitler's lot.

 

One of my favourite places is the Heldenkreuz - the Heroes cross. I suppose it's the local equivalent of a war memorial, but it's not in the village, it's up a nearby mountain and it looks down on the village. It's dedicated to all the soldiers who died for their countries.

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I would like to go to see it I bet it is terrifying I have alot of respect for Jewish people and admire them. I also have a deep feeling of sadness inside whenever I watch films related to the holocaust or when I think about the families today of millions of of Jewish people murdered because of ignorance that should never be repeated.

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I've been a couple of times. The schoolkids munching sandwiches (really!) annoy me, then I got annoyed at myself for getting annoyed. It's a grim place, you can see where Father Kolbe died and peer through the barbed wire at the decaying barracks. A place without God.

 

It's a chilling place, it's just too much to take in. The corridors are lined with photos of inmates with their date of incarceration and date of death. Very few lasted more than a year. The mounds of hair and glasses are still there. And the old huts are still standing, or at least the chimneys are, the wooden parts have rotted away.

 

Gorecki, the Polish composer heard about a message written on the cell wall of gestapo headquarters near Krakow by an 18 year old girl. He composed a symphony using the girl's words and rare permission was granted to film the symphony at Auschwitz, unbearably moving:

 

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But remember: if you weep for the Holocaust you give the green light for the slaughter of innocent Arab men, women and children today.

 

I'd forgotten what an appalling poster Angle was till I read this.

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I've been a couple of times. The schoolkids munching sandwiches (really!) annoy me, then I got annoyed at myself for getting annoyed.

 

I went in November, glad I went but not a pleasant place to go.

 

The thing that really annoyed me was in the Sheds in Birkenau and people had written/graffitied on the chimney/furnace thing in there.

 

There weren't many people when we went, so we had the tour with the lady and then she took us across to Birkenau and then we had the chance to walk around on our own and we were actually alone in a lot of the buildings which was a bit creepy.

 

The bits that got me were the room in either block 18 or 22 (I can't remember the number properly, but the one with the torture rooms in the cellar) when it was the bit where only four men could stand at any one time and then the room with the hair and the gas cannisters which brought out the magnitude.

 

Obviously the gas chamber at Auschwitz as well, you could see the marks in the wall where people had been scratching when they were dying.

 

It does astonish me that human beings could be so evil, and such a short period of time ago as well.

 

Definitely somewhere people should go. Like I said, I went in November and there aren't many days when my mind doesn't flick back to it in some way or another.

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I've never visited Auschwitz but did visit the site of the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp some years ago.

 

I found the experience extremely upsetting. The photos in the site museum alone were enough to bring me and my ex-girlfriend to tears. Standing next to burial mounds where many thousands of people were slaughtered was worse.

 

I remember vividly visiting a small grassy cemetery. This tiny field is the tomb for fifty thousand Russians. Insane.

 

I imagine that for most of us it would hard not to be affected by this site, or any of the other sites of former Concentration Camps.

 

When I visited Belsen, I was young, naiive and believed that this sort of thing could never happen again. But that was before the conflicts in the former Yugoslavia, Sri-Lanka, Somalia, etc. Ironically and sadly even the Israeli state is only one step away from such behaviour these days.

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