Auschwitz Travel Blog› entry 2 of 6 › view all entries
I woke up early to make sure I had a good hearty breakfast before I headed off on my first full day in Poland. I had decided to go to Auschwitz & I booked a tour that would leave at 9am. I got on a bus where the tour guide put on a video on an 80's style tv about Auschwitz from the Polish point of view, which was quite interesting as probably all of the documentaries I have seen & books I have read on the subject were probably by Western Professors (perhaps that's a bit of a generalisation). Again, the countryside & villages we drove through reminded me of where I was. This time however, the running theme was very catholic, with alters & statues of the Virgin Mary there to greet us at every corner.
When we arrived at Auschwitz, I suddenly found myself feeling quite nervous. I'd had an invested interest in the holocaust ever since I had met Otto Frank's step daughter a few months previously. She was a truly inspirational women who had her story turned into a play to raise awarness in children all over the world, which my friend had directed. The encounter had sturred me on not only to research the holocaust in much more deapth but also choose Poland as my first trip.
The first building encompassed a gift shop & cafeteria where we were told to wait 15 minutes until our tour would commence. Starting to feel more secure & confident in what was a pleasant environment, I had a cup of tea & then waited at the meeting point for my tour group to gather.
We then moved on to the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp which was almost just like a field with huts in it, although the Nazi's destroyed many of them before the Russians liberated the camp. When we stood in the guard tower over 'Hell's Gate' looking over the camp, I saw a photo taken from near where I was standing.
I expected my visit there to be quite emotional & at certain points there were definately emotions but generally I walked around feeling quite numb. I don't think a person can quite comprehend what your seeing or hearing whilst you are there. But certainly after reflecting on my visit & writing blogs like these it's helped & made me realise that that one day has influenced the way I've lived life since. I feel very strongly about Auschwitz being one of the places everyone should go to at some point in their life.