> Sasha's Blues: Photo diary. A road to Auschwitz.

Photo diary. A road to Auschwitz.

I remember when I was 14 and I found a book about Auschwitz in my dad's drawer. I became so interested in the subject, I probably read every single book about concentration camps I could find in the library.
Some might think it's a rather macabre subject for a 14 year old to be reading about and you're probably right. Things I read in those books were so unimaginable to my young mind it took quite a few years for me to actually understand the magnitude of what was going on in the Germany occupied Europe.
Last winter I finally got to visit Auschwitz.

It was freezing in Oswiecim, -20°C during the day, nights were even colder. We drove for 800km to reach Poland and got to Auschwitz around 10 A.M. It was snowing lightly and the mist around the camp just made it look even more frightening. The moment I stepped on the camp site, the overwhelming feeling of saddness took over me and there were a few moments I could not stop myself from crying.

"Arbeit mach frei" or "work sets you free" sign at the entrance to Auschwitz I.

Blocks in Auschwitz I.

Blocks were filled with black and white photos of inmates, that were taken when they arrived to Auschwitz. Under photos was the year they were born and the year they died. Their faces were pale and cheeks hollowed - some of them not even eighteen years old.

Block 10 and 11 were almost certain death in the eyes on inmates. Block 10 was used for medical exeriments on men and women. Most of them died as a result of these inhumane experiments.
Cells in Block 11 were used for torture. Various punishments were being carried out, for example being locked in a dark chamber for days or being forced to stand all night for up to twenty days in one of four standing cells.
Between blocks was the death wall, where thousands of inmateswere lined up for execution by firing squad.

Death wall between blocks 10 and 11.
The most heartbreaking part of the trip, to me at least, was the crematorium. I stood there and observed the high crematorium chimney. It took me a while to even step inside the gas chamber - a long and narrow room with poor lightning. I felt claustrophobic. I glanced at the walls and they were scratched. Marks from dying victims fingernails.
Crematorium chimney
Double electrified barbed wire fence
One of the watchtowers in Auschwitz I
Gallows on which Rudolf Höss, commandant at Auschwitz, was hanged on April 16th 1947
Auschwitz II - Birkenau
To me, it was a somber and unforgettable experience.

If you have an opportunity to visit this piece of history,  you should. It will stay with you forever.

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