Auschwitz I and Auschwitz II – Birkenau.

There’s no easy way to write about this experience.  It overwhelms.  It is beyond comprehension.  The quiet, now, at these camps, muffles the howling.  The howling of the universe, of mankind, in reaction to this now sacred ground and its never to be forgotten past.  We walked in silence; speaking seemed trifling; meaningless.  We arrived early, before the buses and the crowds and had these camps and their dead to ourselves.  Life changed, today.

The first sight of Auschwitz, as you approach from the town of Oswiecim

The first sight of Auschwitz, as you approach from the town of Oswiecim

 
The band played at this site as 'prisoners' debarked from the trains.

The band played at this site as 'prisoners' debarked from the trains.

 
Just a few of the "Blocks" in Auschwitz - the older of the two camps.  The Germans learned at this camp; they used the information gathered here to build and run Birkenau

Just a few of the "Blocks" in Auschwitz - the older of the two camps.

 
A bunkroom where Polish political prisoners first slept.  Crowded and unheated, but with a semblance of a mattress.

A bunkroom where Polish political prisoners first slept. Crowded and unheated, but with a semblance of a mattress.

 
Rows and rows of toilets filled one room

Rows and rows of toilets filled one room

 
Four to six workers shared each 'bunk'

Four to six workers shared each 'bunk'

 
The 'sorting' symbols used in the camps

The 'sorting' symbols used in the camps

 
Another view of the Auschwitz Blocks

Another view of the Auschwitz Blocks

 
Birkenau, where the Nazis perfected their technique.  Mostly in ruins.

Birkenau, where the Nazis perfected their technique.

 
The interior of a Birkenau block

The interior of a Birkenau block

 
Latrines at the back of that same Birkenau block

Latrines at the back of that same Birkenau block

 
A block with bunks still standing

A block with bunks still standing

 
The hastily destroyed Birkenau Crematorium II

The hastily destroyed Birkenau Crematorium IIThe end of the line. Literally. The tracks stopped at the location of the three crematoria in Birkenau

 

For more evocative and thought-provoking photos of these two concentration camps, visit the website at Remember.org.

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