Auschwitz Travel Blog› entry 26 of 33 › view all entries
I must say that visiting this place was one of the most powerful points on my trip. It's like time stands still here, as a constant reminder of an event that needs to remain in our thoughts forever. Auschwitz touched my heart, and I would encourage everyone to visit this or a similar site at some point in your lives. It will change you.
I took an early morning train from Krakow to the city of Oswiecim (Auschwitz in German), Poland. For those that do not know, there were two separate death camps in this city, known as Auschwitz I and Auschwitz II Birkenau. I wanted to see both sites and the salt mine that is nearby in one day, so I was in a hurry. After waiting 20 minutes for a bus, I got impatient and started walking the 2 kilometers to the first site.
As I neared Auschwitz I, the stupid bus I had been waiting for flew by and pulled into the site. So much for that. As I entered the site, I was blown away by the size. Although there were buses and annoying people all over the place who had no regard for anything, the site had an eerie silence to it. As I walked around, the people seemed to vanish and it was just me there...alone to remember the countless tragedies that had happened here. Each of the buildings is now a small museum, containing the items of the individuals who did not leave the site alive. I was able to see the prisoner's beds, the firing range, the crematorium...
As I left the site, still shaken by what I had seen, I decided I still wanted to see Auschwitz II Birkenau. It was another 2km away, so again I walked instead of taking any bus. I don't know if it was a smart move or not, but I made it there in time to see the site. Auzchwitz II is largely destroyed, mostly by the Nazis as they escaped - trying to cover up all they had done. However, this site is equally eye-opening and should not be missed. You can still see some of the prisoner's quarters, many destroyed crematoriums...and as you stand among them, you can feel an eerie cold wind. I know I will never forget.