Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Writing - Relief of Auschwitz



If I ruled the world (no I'm not a megalomaniac) I would encourage parents to take their children to one of the myriad of sites in this sad world where man's inhumanity to man has been witnessed. The point being to ingrain into the next generations psyche that there is never an excuse for violence.

Auschwitz 1


It is 70 years since the Russians entered the prison camp, built a soup kitchen and fed the starving inmates. I took the above photograph and the rest in today's blog in 2008 on a bright warm spring day that belied the terrors that were inflicted on fellow men in the name of science in these blocks. 
Contained in one of these enormous blocks is a display cabinet running the length of the room and up to the ceiling and behind the glass was a mountain of human hair.

Hair
As I walked past this horrific monument I found that I couldn't utter a word, in fact, observing people as they passed by no one was speaking. There were handkerchiefs dabbing at cheeks and the sights kept coming, in another room a mountain of suitcases, in another a mountain of shoes.

Shoes
Not to put too fine a point on it, but there is never an excuse for this level of brutality. 

In news bulletins the view we are shown tends to be of Birkenau, also known as Auschwitz 2. 

Birkenau (Auscwitz 2)

This is the view we are often shown when anyone mentions the name of the death camp on TV but in fact this is almost 2 miles away from the camp where at first Jews then Poles and Russians were held. Birkenau was built to accommodate many more inmates than the original camp. Once you pass through the arch your senses are assaulted by the sheer size of the camp. It was truly enormous.


The enormity of Birkenau

There are a few preserved huts in this enormous acreage, but for the most part all that remains is the heating pipe and the odd corner post.

Hut interior

The Germans didn't waste space inside the huts either. At each side of what was a brick built heating duct, there were two rows of bunks 3 tiers high. Each bunk held three adults and by my calculations that is around  four to five hundred people in each hut. There were hundreds of huts.
Of course that was for the lucky ones. These were intended for the people who were set to work! When the people were disembarked from the trains they were split into workers and then those to be sent to take a 'shower'.

Going to somewhere like Auschwitz or Hiroshima is not going to be a laugh a minute trip, but sometimes we need to remind ourselves of the level of depravity that the human animal can sink.

To finish I feel that it would be a fitting memorial to include some of the more creative side of human nature in spite of such adversity.


Holocaust
by Barbara Sonek


We played, we laughed
we were loved.
We were ripped from the arms of our
parents and thrown into the fire.
We were nothing more than children.
We had a future. We were going to be lawyers, rabbis, wives, teachers, mothers. We had dreams, then we had no hope. We were taken away in the dead of night like cattle in cars, no air to breathe smothering, crying, starving, dying. Separated from the world to be no more. From the ashes, hear our plea. This atrocity to mankind can not happen again. Remember us, for we were the children whose dreams and lives were stolen away.



God Bless