I have deduced from some of the comments on my blog that many of my readers have never visited Auschwitz-Birkenau.
I have lots of photos, which I took on my four visits to the camp in 1998, 2005, 2007 and 2008. You can see my photos on my website at http://www.scrapbookpages.com/AuschwitzScrapbook/index.html
If any of these readers ever do go to visit Auschwitz-Birkenau, this is what the experience will be like:
The first thing that most people do, when they visit Auschwitz-Birkenau, is to climb up into the tower at the top of the gatehouse. Unless you arrive there very early in the morning, you will have to stand in line and wait your turn to climb to the top.
From the tower, as you look out over the remains of the 425 acre camp, you will not be able to see all the way to the end where the International Monument is located.
After you climb down from the tower, your next stop will a row of barrack buildings, near the gate, which have been preserved. These building were in the “quarantine camp” when the camp was in use, but you will not be told this because Auschwitz-Birkenau was a “death camp,” so who cares if the prisoners die of disease. Dying of disease would have saved money on buying Zyklon-B gas to kill the prisoners.
After seeing the quarantine buildings, you will walk more than a mile to the end of the camp, where you will place the flowers, that you have purchased in the main camp flower shop, on the steps of the International Monument.
At the International Monument, your tour guide will direct you to the locations of the Krema II and Krema III gas chambers which are on either side of the monument.
You will not be told the following important information by your tour guide:
When the Auschwitaz-Birkeanau camp was in operation, the road through the camp continued on, into the farms and fields outside the camp. The local people in the vicinity of the camp walked through the camp on a regular basis. When the camp was turned into a Memorial Site, the International Monument was built on top of this road. The first thing that the local people had seen, as they walked on this road through the camp, were the gas chambers on either side of the road. Shouldn’t the gas chambers have been hidden from the locals.?
There was also another road that went through the camp on the other side. Local people used this road as a shortcut to get to the Catholic Church which was a stone’s throw from the camp. What was WRONG with these Nazis! Were they trying to get caught gassing Jews? Fortunately, the local people never squealed on them, or maybe they never found out about the gas chambers, which were in plain sight.
You can see lots of photos, which I took at Auschwitz in 2005, on this page of my website: http://www.scrapbookpages.com/AuschwitzScrapbook/Photos/index.html