Running hot and cold (and hot again) travel blog


It was almost an all day drive to get to krakow via Auschwitz.. The fog was very thick, and the day looked dismal.

We had several stops throughout the day to meet the regulations. The first place we stopped was like a miniature village with buildings made of huge lumps of wood and thatched roofs.

There was a huge building that was sort of a restaurant, sort of a roadside stop for truckers and buses I assume, part motel. We stopped at 9.30 and everyone went silly eating more as if they hadn't had brekky 2 hours earlier. We kind of wandered around with looks on our faces that said what are you all doing?

There was a turnstile arrangement to pay for pee like entering an event. The machine gave you a ticket and then you had to scan the bar code. Too bad if you were busting.

We knew we weren't going to have a break for lunch and so we had to buy some snacks for along the way. But people acted like it was the last supper... And they bought some stuff for lunch as well from the servo. Fully stocked we were back on the bus and headed off again. We got off at Auschwitz and realised it was a superb day. The sky was so blue, the buildings looked so benign. It looked like any other loutish destination however inside it held horrors. Our guide was very knowledgeable. He kept saying ladies and gentlemen pay attention to .....

We saw things that should never have happened, that should never have been invented.

So there was a conference of 13 men who had to decide what to do with the problem of the Jews and of course other pow's. These 13 men came up with the final solution.

We saw the rooms full of hair, the shoes, the glasses, the clothes, the wooden legs,the suitcases,the gassing agent Cyclone B. We saw the gassing room, the ovens, the group gallows. We saw the barracks.. We saw the execution area of mass shooting in the head. This was a specially prepared wall where the people had to line up facing a specially made surface of straw and sand to absorb the blood and bones and brains etc. They used a special gun that shot bolts like killing animals. Very well thought out.

The reason they needed the final solution was they had been too efficient in gathering them all up and it became an administrative and logistical nightmare. Far easier to get rid of them once and for all and if course to rid the world of Jews. They tested their gas and found it was good, realising they could get rid of large numbers if they built purpose built facilities. So they did. The difficulty then became that they could kill more than they could cremate in the ovens hence the mass graves, and only partially burned bodies.

It was surreal to walk on this land of so much horror on such a beautiful day.

From this camp we went to birchenau which was just a few kilometres down the road. Again, more barracks, more gas chambers, more mass gravesites. And the train line.. The bit you see in the pictures... It really was the end of the line. Come for a shower they said... After a week in the freight trucks with no toilets or washing facilities why would you say no..

We must never forget what people are capable of.

We went from here to krakow. I was tired and wimped out of the proposed excursion to the the laundromat/bar which we worked out separately was on the other side of town. After the steps in krakow I knew I needed to rest as my knees were in danger of giving out. I had dry bikkies and tea, and went to bed head full of things I will never forget.



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