Auschwitz, Poland, Part 1

The content of this post is very emotional. I truly wish that all my blog visitors will read everything from the first to the last sentence this time. I know that a lot of people like my posts because of beautiful photos and sometimes they don’t read the content. I do the same thing from time to time when I visit other blogs, especially when the posts are very long. But please, read this one, I can assure you that you will learn a lot from it, although the photos are not tempting and attractive, actually they are quite shocking.

If you ever happen to be in Krakow , Poland, or in the vicinity, one of the must places to visit is definitely Auschwitz Former Nazi Concentration Camp.

I hope everyone could have the chance to visit this place. It is very important to see, learn and be shocked by the things that people were able to do to other people.

My boyfriend and me visited Auschwitz  by organized bus tour that we booked through Viator.

The Images that you are going to see there are shocking. But the worst is that those kind of cruelties, people still do to each other around the world nowadays. Maybe not at the same level, but very similar though.

Therefore I believe that all of politicians and the military commanders from all over the world, should be forced to visit this place before they take any responsibility of their duties. Maybe in this way they will learn something. Maybe a lot of their crazy decisions that puts in jeopardy other human beings and make them suffer will be prevented from happening again.

The basic elements of Nazi ideology were hatred towards democracy, communism, and Jews, combined with a belief that the German people were superior to others.

Their intention was not only the aspiration for political domination of Europe and the world, but also plans for far-ranging demographic changes in Eastern Europe in line with Nazi racial doctrine. Their intention was to dominate, so they decided to get rid of the Jews, Roma and Slavs, (mainly the Christian Orthodox), and the communists of course.

The liquidation of the ”People of east” took different kind of forms, such as Germanization of racially valuable individuals, through various measures intended to reduce fertility and increase mortality to direct physical extermination.

The concentration camps started to function in the Third Reich from 1933, when Hitler and his party NSDAP, took the power. They started imprisoning all the people that were undesirable elements for them.

Those people were mainly Jews, but also Jehovah’s Witnesses, German homosexuals, common criminals, and all the others who did not support the Third Reich.

Germans did not only had the concentration camps on their own territory but, they started making them in the occupied countries as well.

In 1941 most of the European territory was conquered by Germany. It was just matter of time when the leadership of the Third Reich was going to make decision regarding the ” Final Solution of the Jews Question”. All Jews regardless of age, sex or views were about to be killed.

The method they used in this racist extermination policy were starvation ghettos, collective executions and the murder at mass scale in gas chambers in several extermination centers.

Auschwitz  museum and memorial was opened in 1947. During the WWII, it was the largest extermination Nazi Center and it is the only one to be preserved in its original condition.

There you can see camp blocks, barracks, and guard towers.

A lot of personal items that once belonged to the deportees, that were found on the camp grounds after the liberation are exposed in the museum.

There are also objects connected to the life of the prisoners in the camp.

It is heart braking to see how much those people that were brought there were suffering.

After the visit to the first block building and after seeing all these photos of prisoners my eyes were already filled with tears.

Germans were bringing them at the camp by trains.

source, https://www.sbs.com.au

Sometimes they traveled more than 10 days to reach the camp, stuffed in wooden train wagons in very difficult conditions.

The sad thing is that most of those people who were brought there was told that they will move into the place where they will have a better life and living conditions.

source, Pinterest

Some of them were even giving their last savings in order to get the ticket for the train.

Later on Germans were telling them that the only way they can escape the camp is through the crematorium chimney in the form of smoke.

By the camp entrance, you can see the building where the admission of the new prisoners was taking place.

The block buildings are museums today, there you can learn all about how the prisoners were deported, how the selection was made, the way there were exterminated, what happened to their personal belongings, how their hair was cut and collected and used for the fabric production.

You can learn all about the life of the prisoners, and what was happening to the children that were deported to the camp.

Source, http://observer.com

The sanitary conditions were also terrible. The prisoners were sleeping crowded on the floor. Theoretically each two-stories block building had the capacity for approximately 700 prisoners, but the camp was overcrowded and in practice there were many more people in each building.

Prisoner functionaries made things even worse by harassing the prisoners with various prohibitions and obligations such as allotting too short time for the prisoners to relieve themselves. They were allowed to use toilets only two times per day, once in the morning and once in the evening. In the case that prisoners couldn’t control their needs they were tortured and murdered by guards.

Germans also did a lot of medical experiments on prisoners. The experiments were mainly commissioned by SS, the Wehrmacht, and German pharmaceutical companies and research institutes (some of them are still operating today). It was also opportunity for doctors to advance their careers (after war most of them escaped the justice for what they did in Auschwitz).

source, http://allthatsinteresting.com/josef-mengele-nazi-experiments

Mass sterilization, drug testing, infections with typhus in order to determinate its incubation period, experiments on twins, and research into changes caused in the human organism by hunger were carried out. Most of these procedures were carried out in painful manner, without anesthetics or any concern for the victims’ subsequent fate at the block 10.

Experiments performed by Dr. Josef Mengele or ”Angel of death” as many call him was the most cruel and brutal of all.

source, http://allthatsinteresting.com/josef-mengele-nazi-experiments

His experiments on twins included unnecessary amputation of limbs, intentionally infecting one twin with typhus or other diseases, and transfusing the blood of one twin into the other.

source, https://www.escape2poland.co.uk/poland-guide/fate-auschwitz-children

Many of the victims died while undergoing these procedures. After an experiment was over, the twins were killed most of the times and their bodies were dissected. Mengele personally killed fourteen twins in one night by injecting chloroform in their hearts.

source, http://beautifulcoilyhair.blogspot.com/2015/03/horrifying-tale-of-nazi-experiment-on.html

Mengele’s experiments with eyes included attempts to change eye color by injecting chemicals into the eyes of living subjects and killing people with heterochromatic eyes so that the eyes could be removed and sent to Berlin for study.

All sick and disabled people were immediately killed in the gas chambers because they were unable to work.

The rest were working in the factories, and in the camps. Our guide said that at the time the gardens of Auschwitz were very beautiful, because the prisoners were forced to work hard and make the gardens look amazing. Later on Nazis made the post cards of the camp with the message ”Greetings from Auschwitz”.

The prisoners were so brainwashed that some of them truly believed that they were living in the paradise, and they were sending back home those greeting cards, feeling proud of the place they were living.

Germans were collecting and separating all the personal belongings of prisoners. They were even removing the golden teeth from the dead prisoners.

They also had Camp orchestra. In the beginning the orchestra was made up from Polish political prisoners, but later on of prisoners of all nationalities, including Jews.

According to the Nazis view, music played many useful roles in the camp. The most important role was to improve the marching discipline when the prisoners were proceeding to work and returning to the camp also in front of the camp kitchen. Another task of the orchestra was to giving concerts, usually on Sundays for the SS.

There were men’s orchestra in Auschwitz I, Auschwitz II,  Auschwitz III, Birkenau and Monowitz camps and also in several sub-camps. There was also one women’s orchestra in women’s camp in Birkenau.

Visit to the block 11, the camp jail and the ,,Death wall” where the executions were taking place gave me chills. In this building several thousands of people were tortured and murdered most of them by the ”Lethal injections” (Phenol injections) to the heart.

Because the hospitals were full, Germans began putting sick people to death, by intracardiac injection of phenol in August 1941. The condemned were led to a room, ordered to sit on the stool. The SS, doctor was then making the injection directly into the heart muscle. The death occurred within a few seconds.

The corpses, were transferred into the other room and from there they were carried to the crematorium by other prisoners. Phenol injections were also used to kill Polish children from the Zamosc area and pregnant Jewish women.

The Roll-call square was the place where the prisoners had to line up for daily morning and evening roll call. During the roll call the prisoners were counted. If somebody was missing SS made them wait for many hours until the missing person was founded.

Sometimes this was lasting for many hours in bad weather (very hot, very cold, etc). During some roll calls, SS men picked out the sick or exhausted for death in the gas chambers. There were also public floggings and executions by hanging.

The Germans made people in Auschwitz suffer so much that for most of them death was salvation. Thousands of civilians were brought there every day in order to die. Some of them never actually became prisoners. They were taken directly from the trains to the gas chambers and those people were not even registered, so there are no exact records of how many people were actually murdered there. The most commonly used poisonous agent was hydrogen cyanide.

The only ones who were registered were those who was chosen to become prisoners. And it was in general about 10 to 15% of each transport. Because German needed the people to work for them and to do killings for them.

Usually the killing and getting rid of the dead bodies was done by prisoners. But those prisoners were also killed later. Those were strong men able to carry and load the bodies on the carriages, and burn them in the crematorium.

They were kept in separate camp, they had better living conditions, in order to be able to do the heavy job. But Germans never kept them more than few months. Because they wanted to get rid of the witnesses of their crimes. Today we know that because a few of them managed to escape.

Gas cans, used for the gas chambers in Auschwitz

Just next to the gas chambers and crematoriums, you can see the place where the first commandant of Auschwitz, SS-Obersturmbannführer Rudolf Höss, was hanged on 16 April 1947. They hanged him right next to his villa in Auschwitz, where he lived with his wife and five children.

Thanks to Rudolf Hoss, Otto Adolf Eichmann and under Himmler’s guidance, Auschwitz became the most efficiently murderous instrument of the Third Reich and the Holocaust’s most potent symbol. At least Rudolf Höss appeared at the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg on 15 April 1946 where he gave a detailed testimony of his crimes.

On 25 May 1946, Höss was handed over to Polish authorities and the Supreme National Tribunal in Poland tried him for murder. His trial lasted from 11 to 29 March 1947. During his trial, when accused of murdering three and a half million people, Höss replied, “No. Only two and half million—the rest died from disease and starvation”.

Höss was sentenced to death by hanging on 2 April 1947. The sentence was carried out on 16 April next to the crematorium of the former Auschwitz I concentration camp that was right next to his house.

Unfortunately thousands of other Nazis eluded justice by fleeing to South America after WW II and they never paid for their crimes…(to be continued)

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