Scrapbookpages Blog

March 25, 2017

The enormity of what transpired through this gate

Filed under: Holocaust, Uncategorized — Tags: , — furtherglory @ 11:20 am

InteriorGate.jpeg

The gate that is shown in my photo above is the same gate that is shown in the photo below. The road through this gate goes through the middle of the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp. Elie Wiesel wrote in his famous book, entitled “Night” that he walked through this gate.

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Recent photo of a gate inside the Birkenau camp where student visitor is resting

The following quote is from a news article, which includes the photo above: http://www.spencerdailyreporter.com/story/2397625.html

Begin quote:

Krakow is the home of Auschwitz. Auschwitz was actual several camps in the Polish area. Auschwitz was the original camp, then there was Auschwitz II Birkenau and Auschwitz III Monowitz. The original Auschwitz was mostly a political prison where Birkenau and Monowitz were more what one would think of as extermination camps. They were split into two groups. One was for the use of labor until their usefulness was gone. The second group were automatically sent to the gas chambers.

Warsaw had what was known as the Ghettos. Jews were segregated into these areas where they were overcrowded and had no food. They waited here until they were deported to the camps. To this day, there is still an uneasiness for the Jews in Poland.

End quote

I am totally confused by this article. I wrote about Krakow on my website at http://www.scrapbookpages.com/Poland/Kazimierz/Kazimierz01A.html

Does the person who wrote this article think that the Auschwitz camp was in the city of Krakow?

KrakowGate1940.jpeg

The old photo above shows the “Krakow gate”

Auschwitz or Oswiecim? Which came first?

Filed under: Germany, Holocaust, Uncategorized — Tags: , , — furtherglory @ 8:09 am

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The photo above shows the entrance into the Auschwitz main camp

Oświęcim, the town formerly known as Auschwitz, is in the news today; you can read the story at https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/24/world/europe/poland-auschwitz-nazi-stunt-sheep.html

Begin quote:

Malgorzata Jurecka, a spokeswoman for the district police office in Oświęcim (Auschwitz is the German spelling), said late Friday that 11 people were detained — six Poles, four Belarussians and one German. “At the moment, we are gathering and securing all the evidence connected with this case to determine the exact involvement of the individuals in this dramatic incident,” she said. “It was macabre.”

End quote

I wrote about Auschwitz on this previous blog post: https://furtherglory.wordpress.com/2016/05/31/why-auschwitz-was-picked-as-the-location-for-a-concentration-camp/

My photo of a house on the road to the town formerly known as Auschwitz

The town of Auschwitz was originally founded by German people in 1270, according to historian Robert Jan van Pelt. The town is now known by its Polish name, Oświęcim.

The original name of the town was Auschwitz and it was known by this name when the three Auschwitz camps were in operation; the Germans did not change the name of the town and they did not keep it a secret that they were turning the brick barracks, in a suburb of the town, into a concentration camp for political prisoners.

When the Auschwitz camp was set up, more than half of the inhabitants of the town were Jews and the second most prevalent population in the town was Gypsies.  There were very few Polish people in the town.

When I visited Auschwitz for the second time in 2005, I asked someone at the hotel, where I was staying, to call a taxi for me, because I wanted to go to the town. I was told that I was the first American to ever ask to see the town.

After visiting the town, I wrote the following on my website:

The actual town of Oświęcim has virtually nothing to recommend it to a typical tourist. As far as I could see, there were only four hotels in the town in October 2005, and no night life.

There is a 17th century Catholic church at the entrance to the Old Town, and the ubiquitous Duke’s castle on a bluff overlooking the Sola, a small stream that passes for a river, but nothing is left of the original castle except a small tower, now obscured by trees, which is not at all impressive. Like the church, the castle tower will never make it into most tourist guidebooks.

The town is completely devoid of charm. No famous artists come here to paint. There is no house that has been preserved as the birthplace of a famous person, nor any important historical buildings. The town square is surrounded by very ordinary looking buildings, constructed during the last 200 years, and has only one building of interest: the District Court.

An ugly looking modern store built right in the middle of the town square has totally ruined any character that Auschwitz might have had. There were no thatched-roof cottages, no log houses, nor half-timbered buildings that I saw on my trip there in October 2005. The town now has a population of 50,000 and it appears that most of the residents live in high-rise apartments built during the Communist era.

There are many ordinary towns in Poland and it is only because Auschwitz has become the most famous town in the history of the Holocaust that anyone today marvels at how ordinary it is. Yet a suburb of this ordinary town is included in every package tour of Poland or Eastern Europe: an afternoon of horror at the Auschwitz concentration camp, sandwiched in between stops to see the famous salt mine and the Black Madonna, the other main tourist attractions of Poland.