The victims did not enter the gas chamber through the door shown in the photo above. This door was for the SS men to enter the room, which was used for a bomb shelter by the SS men stationed at Auschwitz.
I put this photo on my blog because it is a favorite of some of the readers of my website.
The title of my blog post today comes from a line in a news article which you can read in full here.
This quote from the news article, cited above, is about the gas chamber in the main Auschwitz camp. The following quote is the words of one of the students, who went on a trip to Auschwitz recently:
I could tell some students were incredibly hesitant to enter one of the gas chambers, a place where thousands of innocent people were killed.
Chillingly, it took the Germans two days to kill the first innocent group due to a lack of knowledge in knowing how much Zyklon B to add to the chamber.
From killing hundreds in days, the Germans tweaked the quantity of Zyklon B pellets used and could now kill thousands in minutes.
We entered, and you felt an incredible sense of what those entering the chamber would’ve felt – though obviously nowhere near as terrifying or shocking.
A concrete bunker it was, just a room with plain concrete walls, a plain concrete ceiling and very claustrophobic.
My photo above shows the opening into the gas chamber from the oven room where the bodies were burned after the gassing. According to the Holocaust legend, 2000 Jews were gassed at one time, but this would have taken months to burn the bodies in the few cremation ovens that were in this building.
After the students had seen the gas chamber in the main camp, they toured the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp.
The following quote is from the news article:
[Auschwitz] Home to millions of people during World War II, we all know the outcome of the holocaust – the pain it caused, the separation of families, the killing of men, women and children of all ages.
But it’s not until you stand in the footprints of those innocent people who were killed because of their race, belief, or way of life, that you grasp maybe just one per cent of the feeling that prisoners felt when stepping off the train.
The irony of stepping off that train, onto the platform, and inhaling your first drop of fresh air in days.
This quote is also from the news article:
Standing on the platform, I look to my left and see an endless train line – running deep into the woods that helped the Germans disguise the true purpose of Auschwiz [Auschwitz].
I look to my right and see the iconic building that shadows the death camp – looking forwards and backwards just fields, fields as far as the eye can see.
It’s near impossible to describe the day, the place, the feeling of standing in a spot where millions of people were once murdered.
Tracks were built inside the Birkenau camp in 1944 to bring the Jews to the gas chambers on either side of the tracks. The tracks ended at the gas chambers.
The news article continues with this quote:
Now a museum, Auschwitz I [the main camp] is something I will never, ever, forget.
Prior to arrival [at the main camp], prisoners were shown images of a ‘swimming pool’ with green grass, flowers and beautiful countryside in the background – a lie which clearly worked.
Little did they know this swimming pool’s only purpose was to extinguish any fires that broke out – and lying directly next to the ‘pool’ was endless amounts of fencing, barbed wire and lookout bases to stop any prisoners escaping.
When I visited Auschwitz, for the first time, back in 1998, I asked to see the swimming pool, but I was told that it was not on the tour.
My tour guide told me that there were two swimming pools at Auschwitz, one for the prisoners and one for the SS men, but she would not show me either pool.
When I returned in 2005, the swimming pool for the prisoners was still not included on the tour, but I found it myself as I wandered around on my own in the early morning.
The swimming pool is now called a water reservoir on a sign board that was erected some time after my visit to Auschwitz in October 2005. The words on the sign board are in Polish, English and Hebrew; the sign reads as follows: “Fire brigade reservoir built in the form of a swimming pool, probably in early 1944.”
Note the clever way that the Nazis disguised the Fire brigade reservoir by putting diving boards there. God forbid that today’s British students should know that Auschwitz prisoners were diving and swimming at a death camp.