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WW2 KZ Camps in Auschwitz


CJ_DK
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(By the request of The Junkman (AJ), I am posting this thread about my trip to the historical grounds of Auschwitz. I will do my best in telling this sad and horrible story in English (not my first language), and I hope that everyone here will overlook any grammatical errors that you may see)

 

 

My Trip to Auschwitz in Pictures

 

The biggest and best known KZ camp from WW2 is in Oświęcim, Poland (the Germans renamed it Auschwitz). If you have seen the movie "Schindler's List", this is where that movie was filmed.

 

 

Auschwitz was separated into 3 parts.

 

Auschwitz I in Oświęcim City (Stammlager).

 

Auschwitz II in Birkenau (1.2 miles from Oświęcim, and is the biggest extermination camp in world history).

 

Auschwitz III in Monowitz (the work camp for I.G. Farben in which nothing remains).

 

 

Auschwitz I - Stammlager

 

The main gate in Auschwitz I with the well known sign above the gate.

 

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This is the workshop where prisoners made all of the equipment used in the camps. This included all of the torture instruments and the fake shower heads which where placed in some of the crematoriums.

 

 

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The gallows on the appeal place where prisoners who tried to escape or were part of the allied resistance against SS were hanged. They were executed in front of all of the other prisoners.

 

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Block 10 and 11 - The prison which was also known as the Death Block.

When I walked into this yard between those two blocks, it felt like the world stopped spinning. The silence was deafening. I don't even believe birds sing in this area anymore.

 

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The windows facing towards the yard is were bricked up so that the other prisoners could not see the cruelty that occurred here.

 

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These are the torture poles where the prisoners were bound with their hands behind their backs (often with barbed wire), and hang by their wrists until their shoulders dislocated.

 

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"The Black Wall" - The place where the SS shot all political prisoners or people who worked against the SS. When the Germans lost control of the camps because of the infiltration of the Allies, they tried to hide the evidence of the Black Wall's existence. They dug nearly 100 inches down in order to remove the bloody sand. Nearly 100,000 people lost there lives in this spot. I left a single rose on this ground.... may their souls rest in peace.

 

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Inside of the Death Block:

 

The Cell were St.Maximilian Kolbe was murdered by an injection of carbolic acid.

 

I wont tell the entire story about Kolbe but his merciful actions were the reason he was taken by the German Gestapo and sent to Auschwitz, where his merciful ways continued. He offered his own life in place of another young man who was going to be killed (along with 9 others), because the guards thought that a missing prisoner had escaped. This was done to deter others from trying to escape. As it turns out, the suspected escapee was found drowned to death in the latrine. The young man who was spared survived his stay in Auschwitz.

 

 

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Standing Cells where up to 4 prisoners could be locked up in the same cell. The cell was 35x35 inches wide and totally dark. The cells only contained a small hole in the wall so that air could enter.

 

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In 1944 when the Germans lost the control of Stammlager the Allies found a lot of evidence to the atrocities that occurred there. In one block, they found 7 TONS of human hair packed in sacks. The museum was showing nearly 2 tons of hair, all of which was cut off of the prisoners AFTER they had been gassed.

 

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Textile weave of human hair.

 

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The prisoners were not allowed to own anything. All their belongings were taken by the SS who distributed further them to German citizens in need or "the third state"

 

Brushes.

 

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Shoes.

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Pots.

 

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Crutches and artificial limbs.

 

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Glasses.

 

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Zyklon B cans.

 

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Inside the gas chamber and crematorium I (the only buildings the Germans solders didn't destroy)

 

 

Gas Chamber.

 

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Hole in the roof were the Zyklon B was pumped in:

 

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The Crematorium.

 

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Edited by Junkman2008
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Auschwitz II - Birkenau

 

The Main Gate into Birkenau, where the rail goes directly trough the gate and ends between gas chambers II and III

 

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Auschwitz II icontains 3 sections.

 

B-I where the barracks are made of bricks

 

B-II where the barracks are made of wood.

 

B-III also called "Mexico", this part was never finished.

 

 

 

B-I

 

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"Straffekompagni" - barracks controlled by SS and Gestapo, where the prisoners where isolated from the rest of the camp.

 

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Kitchen Barrack with a "Soup-wagon"

 

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Latrine Barrack - The prisoners where allowed to use them for 2 minutes every morning before the appeal.

 

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Barrack with sinks - The prisoners where allowed to use them for 2 minutes every morning before the appeal.

 

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Several of the brick barracks were painted by the prisoners on the command of the SS.

 

 

This is the barracks for females and children, which also is the only one with sinks inside the barracks.

 

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The remains of Josef Mengele's barracks, in which he was conducting medical experiments on twins and children.

 

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Edited by Junkman2008
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B II

 

This section where the barracks were made of wood was burned down by the German army in 1944 Only the red brick chimneys still remain. The museum has rebuilt some of the barracks for historical purposes.

 

This type of barracks was modeled after a horse stable used to hold 50 horses. However, the Germans used it to house

400 and 800 prisoners.

 

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Wide shot across the BII camp which shows all of the red chimneys and poles with barbed wire stands. This gives you some perspective as to the size of this camp.

 

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In this picture, I stand in the bottom of the camp facing towards the SS head building (just on the other side of the fence, the small red dot in the background). On the next picture, I've drawn a green line to show the distance. This may help you realize just how big this camp is.

 

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In the following pictures I stand in the tower at the Main Gate and looking down the camp. Its hard to believe how big this camp is.

 

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Edited by Junkman2008
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Zentralsauna

 

This is the building where those who were allowed, worked for the SS.

 

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Room in which prisoners clothes and personal effects were taken from them. The procedure for induction into the camp began here.

 

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Room in which the prisoners clothes and baggage were examined.

 

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Chambers where the clothing was disinfected by hot air.

 

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Autoclave-equipment for disinfecting clothing by steam.

 

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Room where all of the prisoner's hair (ALL hair), was shaved and their skin was whipped with disinfecting liquid.

 

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Room where prisoners showered and were disinfected.

 

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Room where prisoners dried off after showers and waiting to receive camp clothes.

 

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Clothing stores for prisoners in which the museum has placed a wheelbarrow from one of the crematoria. The wheelbarrows were used to transport the ashes from the crematoria to the ponds.

 

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Gas chamber and crematorium IV ruins.

 

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How it look like before the German burst it down.

 

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Gas champer and crematorium III ruins.

 

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How it look like before the German burst it down.

 

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Gas chamber and crematorium II ruin

 

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I stand between gas chamber II and III facing the Main Gate, which only can be seen because of the tower.

 

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One of the many ponds where the ashes of the prisoners where dumped. This was done by the Germans in an attempt to hide all traces of juat how mny murders took place at the camp. They were not sucessful! About 1.8 million people from 24 different nations lost their life is Auschwitz. The camp at the peak of its operation killed 9.000 people everyday.

 

 

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May their souls rest in peace..

Edited by Junkman2008
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Saying "Thank You" somehow feels innapropriate, but I will say it anyway Christina.

 

Incredible pictures of something we can never let ourselves forget. This time it may have been the Nazis, but as evidenced before and since, it is humanity that is capable of this. Just as it is humanity that puts a stop to it.

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This history lesson is enough to make you want care for your fellow man. How a human could treat another human like this is totally unfathomable. These pictures and this thread has moved me to do even more research on this entire incident. May the lives of those who died not be in vain. May their souls forver rest in peace.

 

Thanks again Christina for sharing this with us. It is very moving, and an experience everyone should experience if possible.

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Junkman - I read 700 pages of historybooks about Auschwitz before the trip. And the whole experience moved me in so many ways.

I cannot describe all the feelings that went through me when I walked on the same ground as all those people. The whole area is so quiet.

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Every time I watch Band of Brothers and they get to the point where they come across the concentration camp, it moves me. Such a HORRIBLE thing.

 

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Junkman - I read 700 pages of historybooks about Auschwitz before the trip. And the whole experience moved me in so many ways.

I cannot describe all the feelings that went through me when I walked on the same ground as all those people. The whole area is so quiet.

 

You really struck a soft spot with me and effectively got your point across about the somberness of this place when you said that you didn't believe that the birds sang there anymore. That hit me like a brick. A very moving statement.

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Hear from survivors as they talk of first hand experiences in the death camps.

 

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That's a lot of pain to carry around for 65 years, and you can tell in that video that it still cuts like a knife. There's a special hell for Nazi Germany. All these kids that I see running around with swastikas should have to experience this so that they can understand the evil that they are associating themselves with.

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All these kids that I see running around with swastikas should have to experience this so that they can understand the evil that they are associating themselves with.

 

It wouldn't change anything... They think they know what's right.

 

I blame their parents more than anything. Teaching values young is EVERYTHING!

 

Chris

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I cannot imagine the horrors that occurred there. I know this is cliched but imagine the stories the walls in there could tell.

 

That's a lot of pain to carry around for 65 years, and you can tell in that video that it still cuts like a knife. There's a special hell for Nazi Germany. All these kids that I see running around with swastikas should have to experience this so that they can understand the evil that they are associating themselves with.

 

It wouldn't change anything... They think they know what's right.

 

I blame their parents more than anything. Teaching values young is EVERYTHING!

 

Chris

 

I agree with both of you. I do not understand how any one can hold these beliefs. How could you treat someone like this. I get angry every time I see the Swastika (or somebody proud to be flying the Confederate flag.) Anyone willing to treat someone like this needs some serious help.

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I cannot imagine the horrors that occurred there. I know this is cliched but imagine the stories the walls in there could tell.

 

 

 

 

 

I agree with both of you. I do not understand how any one can hold these beliefs. How could you treat someone like this. I get angry every time I see the Swastika (or somebody proud to be flying the Confederate flag.) Anyone willing to treat someone like this needs some serious help.

 

I call the confederate flag the flag of slavery. I got into a fight about it on Youtube once. I think I won... People came to my aid. lol

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the swastika was a buddist symbol long before it was tarnished by nazi's. I don't go around wearing one and it's understandable that everyone just associates it the way they do.

 

You are so correct! I never knew or even heard about this. It was definitely not taught in school when I attended. Here's some more information that supports your claim.

 

 

The Origin of the Swastika

 

The swastika is an extremely powerful symbol. The Nazis used it to murder millions of people, but for centuries it had positive meanings. What is the history of the swastika? Does it now represent good or evil?

 

 

The Oldest Known Symbol

 

The swastika is an ancient symbol that has been used for over 3,000 years. (That even predates the ancient Egyptian symbol, the Ankh!) Artifacts such as pottery and coins from ancient Troy show that the swastika was a commonly used symbol as far back as 1000 BCE.

 

During the following thousand years, the image of the swastika was used by many cultures around the world, including in China, Japan, India, and southern Europe. By the Middle Ages, the swastika was a well known, if not commonly used, symbol but was called by many different names:

 

* China - wan

* England - fylfot

* Germany - Hakenkreuz

* Greece - tetraskelion and gammadion

* India - swastika

 

Though it is not known for exactly how long, Native Americans also have long used the symbol of the swastika.

 

 

 

The Original Meaning

 

The word "swastika" comes from the Sanskrit svastika - "su" meaning "good," "asti" meaning "to be," and "ka" as a suffix.

 

Until the Nazis used this symbol, the swastika was used by many cultures throughout the past 3,000 years to represent life, sun, power, strength, and good luck.

 

Even in the early twentieth century, the swastika was still a symbol with positive connotations. For instance, the swastika was a common decoration that often adorned cigarette cases, postcards, coins, and buildings. During World War I, the swastika could even be found on the shoulder patches of the American 45th Division and on the Finnish air force until after World War II.

 

 

 

A Change in Meaning

 

In the 1800s, countries around Germany were growing much larger, forming empires; yet Germany was not a unified country until 1871. To counter the feeling of vulnerability and the stigma of youth, German nationalists in the mid-nineteenth century began to use the swastika, because it had ancient Aryan/Indian origins, to represent a long Germanic/Aryan history.

 

By the end of the nineteenth century, the swastika could be found on nationalist German volkisch periodicals and was the official emblem of the German Gymnasts' League.

 

In the beginning of the twentieth century, the swastika was a common symbol of German nationalism and could be found in a multitude of places such as the emblem for the Wandervogel, a German youth movement; on Joerg Lanz von Liebenfels' antisemitic periodical Ostara; on various Freikorps units; and as an emblem of the Thule Society.

 

 

 

Hitler and the Nazis

 

In 1920, Adolf Hitler decided that the Nazi Party needed its own insignia and flag. For Hitler, the new flag had to be "a symbol of our own struggle" as well as "highly effective as a poster." (Mein Kampf, pg. 495)

 

On August 7, 1920, at the Salzburg Congress, this flag became the official emblem of the Nazi Party.

 

In Mein Kampf, Hitler described the Nazis' new flag: "In red we see the social idea of the movement, in white the nationalistic idea, in the swastika the mission of the struggle for the victory of the Aryan man, and, by the same token, the victory of the idea of creative work, which as such always has been and always will be anti-Semitic." (pg. 496-497)

 

Because of the Nazis' flag, the swastika soon became a symbol of hate, antisemitism, violence, death, and murder.

 

 

 

What Does the Swastika Mean Now?

 

There is a great debate as to what the swastika means now. For 3,000 years, the swastika meant life and good luck. But because of the Nazis, it has also taken on a meaning of death and hate.

 

These conflicting meanings are causing problems in today's society. For Buddhists and Hindus, the swastika is a very religious symbol that is commonly used. Chirag Badlani shares a story about one time when he went to make some photocopies of some Hindu Gods for his temple. While standing in line to pay for the photocopies, some people behind him in line noticed that one of the pictures had a swastika. They called him a Nazi.

 

Unfortunately, the Nazis were so effective at their use of the swastika emblem, that many do not even know any other meaning for the swastika. Can there be two completely opposite meanings for one symbol?

 

In ancient times, the direction of the swastika was interchangeable as can be seen on an ancient Chinese silk drawing.

 

Some cultures in the past had differentiated between the clockwise swastika and the counter-clockwise sauvastika. In these cultures the swastika symbolized health and life while the sauvastika took on a mystical meaning of bad-luck or misfortune.

 

But since the Nazis use of the swastika, some people are trying to differentiate the two meanings of the swastika by varying its direction - trying to make the clockwise, Nazi version of the swastika mean hate and death while the counter-clockwise version would hold the ancient meaning of the symbol, life and good-luck.

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