Thursday, August 15, 2013


On Rod's birthday (by accident not intentional scheduling!) on August 13th we headed to Auschwitz-Birkenau. Birkenau first.

Train car in which 23C weather feels yields 50C inside. Used to transport large numbers of Jews, many (apparently in some cases 100%) of whom would die en route.

Well spoken.

A bunker designed for ... something like 500 ... and used for 800. No heat, toilets (at least until German guards started to get sick), deep mud for floors ... generally horrifying.

As mentioned in numerous books, and by our guide, it's really quite striking what a low percentage of the people who ran these institutions were ever charged with anything, let alone convicted.

According to our guide people typically died after 2-3, sometimes 4 months in this place. We also toured Auschwitz proper. Few photographs and none that really seem to need publication. Visiting Auschwitz is something we are glad we did. We hadn't fully appreciated how emotionally draining it would be, and had scheduled a visit to the Wieliczka salt mines immediately after. Luckily there was a fairly long drive back to Krakow and out again in between so we got a chance to recover.

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