If you have the stomach for it, dare visit one of the most depressing places on earth, the most notorious killing ground of all human history, Auschwitz.
Anyone familiar with history knows the name Auschwitz very well. This sleepy little Polish town houses Hitler’sconcentration camps where thousands were exterminated. This is the epicenter of the Nazi Holocaust.
- This is not for the weaker heart. If you are prone to depression or nightmares, or emotional disturbance, avoid visiting.
- If you have kids, leave them at home. This is not an amusement park.
- Take a guided tour first it is informative but rushed. And then follow it up with a personal visit where you can take you time visiting the place.
Auschwitz I: The first camp of Auschwitz. There are military barracks, information boards, and photographs. It is the section of personal belongings of the prisoners that is the most disturbing of all.Knowing that common people who used these everyday articles like glasses and shoes were so mercilessly worked or tortured to death is gut wrenching. The only remaining gas chamber is here that was restored.
Main Building: There is a museum,which displays the horrors of the Holocaust. The theater here runs a 15-minute footage taken by the allied troops on the day the camp was liberated. It is a very-very moving experience. It is highly recommended but extremely disturbing, just like most other things at Auschwitz. Simply put, the weaker hearts would do well to avoid it all together. There is a bookstore, which has all kinds of relevant books. Be sure to buy a guidebook.
Auschwitz-Birkenau: Situatedat a distance of 3km from Auschwitz I, is the bigger compound of Auschwitz-Birkenau. You would do well to walk this distance. There are the buildings where the prisoners were shaved and given the prison clothes. There are ruins of the erstwhile gas chambers. The most disturbing part is the visit to the ponds where ashes of the dead were unceremoniously dumped. It can take a long time to visit the entire site and you might feel a gloomy depression all over the place. The experience can be surreal to frightening to downright hollowing.
Respect: It is a must that you respect the place where thousands met their painful end. Be somber and decent. Anyone with a heart cannot escape this place without feeling pity, empathy, and respect for the dead.