Propel into Poland - Country #8

Auschwitz Travel Blog

 › entry 13 of 36 › view all entries
Auschwitz gate - entrance into hell

 

WELCOME TO AUSCHWITZ

Poem by Mike Subritzky (1998)


"Welcome to
Auschwitz." The survivor said.
A paradox really, he's a Christian and his name is Stanislaus.
I step down from the bus and blink into the kaleidoscope
of a dappled morning sunlight. Nothing has changed!
It is all still there! Just like the photographs taken by the Home Army.

No bodies, but the awful presence of death,
enormous death, 10 kilometres of death
Auschwitz 1 - A Slave Labour Camp
Auschwitz 2 - A Death Camp
Auschwitz 3 - A Chemical/Munitions Factory
Death envelopes me, engulfs me, enters my body
through my eyes, mouth and ears,
whilst in the hedge-grove a song bird warbles
Perhaps a blackbird or maybe a thrush.
Auschwitz crematorium body disposal


I am afraid and the hyper-vigilance of the soldier returns
I want my rifle, bayonet and combat gear.
"Jesus protect me." I whisper

I stand beside Ada Steiner - Auschwitz No. 67082,
she is from
Haifa and the blue wound on her forearm
is clearly visible. For her this is no visit,
she is returning to the nightmares of her childhood.
Stanislaus also bears the blue wound,
they nod and greet each other, children who survived.
One a Jew and one a Christian.

"My dear Comrades!
I could not eliminate all lice
And Jews in one year.
But in the course of time,
And if you help me,
This end will be attained."


So said Hans Frank,
Nazi Governor General of
Poland.

Auschwitz, 10 kilometres of death
A true monument to German Efficiency!


The gravel crunches beneath my feet
as we walk between the electric wires
and enter the gate, the sign reads
"Work Will Set You Free"
Another bloody paradox.
All dehumanized-tattoed with number


And all the while Stanislaus calls the numbers:
Eighty thousand Russians starved here...
Thirty thousand Poles; gassed mostly...
Two hundred and fifty thousand gypsies...
Many thousands of political prisoners, mainly German...
and 2.5 million Jews
"Zyklon B" at its very best.

January 27, 1945, and Liberation.
7000 starving inmates remain,
836,525 items of women's clothing,
348,820 items of men's clothing,
43,525 pairs of shoes, 460 artificial limbs,
7 tons of human hair...and so he continues...
I see the mountain of children's shoes,
and leave the warehouse as the tears begin to flow.


In the sunlight once more, I walk down the avenue
past the work-party gallows, towards the gas chamber
and the sole, remaining crematoria.
I hear the sound of gravel (and bone fragments) crunching underfoot,
and the warble of the songbirds nesting in the hedge-grove.
I will wash away the taste of death tonight
with a bottle of good Zubrowka vodka, and sing
But I shall never forget this day,
or this place, or the murder that happened here. NEVER!
AlicjaK says:
hmm, this is only one small part of what had happend between 1939 and 1945 (and longer till Stalin's death). Try to "imagin" circa 200.000 man (between them 1 women) killed by shoot in back of a head. Who they were: soldiers, teachers, lawers, doctors, clerks, just all of them it's someone's fathers, brothers, sons. Where their bodies are? Pretty close to present Poland (Katyń, Ostaszków, Kozielsk and more)
How to find enough tears to cry, because what we could did more nowadays?
Posted on: Apr 05, 2008
kristinasub says:
If i get 1 more life to live, i wouldn't understand such things, as i still can't understand some things that happened in my ex-country , known as Yugoslavia ... human stupidity and cruelty has no limit
Posted on: Mar 16, 2008
Amanda says:
Mark, I suppose I should say thank you for giving me this incredibly moving pictorial of Auschwitz... but how awful. I wasn't anticipating how emotional these pictures would make me - tearing up at work is never smart. It's so brave and important when traveling to stop and see things like this, and really have the full impact of the reality of it all, but so difficult as well. I admire you for choosing to spend any moment of your vacation there; and for bringing us the story back.
Posted on: Dec 10, 2007
Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!
Auschwitz gate - entrance into hell
Auschwitz gate - entrance into hell
Auschwitz crematorium body disposal
Auschwitz crematorium body disposal
All dehumanized-tattoed with number
All dehumanized-tattoed with number
Largest no. Jewish Europeans killed
Largest no. Jewish Europeans killed
3 main camps - this is Auschwitz I
3 main camps - this is Auschwitz I
Electric fences prevented escape
Electric fences prevented escape
Executed mass murders on epic scale
Executed mass murders on epic scale
Also had around 40 satellite camps
Also had around 40 satellite camps
Bunks of concentration camp inmates
Bunks of concentration camp inmates
Sign spells out Auschwitzs horrors
Sign spells out Auschwitz's horrors
Nazis regularly murdered children
Nazis regularly murdered children
Cannisters used to gas victims
Cannisters used to gas victims
Pile of deads artificial limbs
Pile of dead's artificial limbs
Collected womens shaved hair
Collected women's shaved hair
Jews-over 90 percent of all victims
Jews-over 90 percent of all victims
All stripped of every possession
All stripped of every possession
Former utensils of gassed victims
Former utensils of gassed victims
Wall where many folks were executed
Wall where many folks were executed
Birkenau - Auschwitz II death camp
Birkenau - Auschwitz II death camp
Hitler ordered mass extermination
Hitler ordered mass extermination
Shipped in cattle-cars like animals
Shipped in cattle-cars like animals
Let this place be a cry of despair
Let this place be a cry of despair
Hope sun sets on sad human chapter!
Hope sun sets on sad human chapter!
Auschwitz
photo by: EmyG