Auschwitz & Paddle-boats

I am a huge history buff so to be in Poland at all, you know where I wanted to visit: Auschwitz. Now, like I said, I enjoy history. I really love learning about World War I and II so I thought I knew a lot about Auschwitz. Boy, was I wrong. I’ve read books, seen movies and spoken with people who have been there but there is nothing in this world more depressing than standing in the courtyard of the most vile, disgusting place on the planet. Take a second to think about it…what is the most awful, gut-wrenching thing in history? Your answer is going to be WWII concentration camps.

While it was terrifying to walk through the front gate and into Auschwitz I (see picture above), past the gallows that I’ve read about, into the gas chambers and finally into the eerie “Death Wall” corridor, the feelings I felt must have been minuscule in comparison to what those poor, defenseless people felt when they were held captive. I took a few pictures while I was there but didn’t need to. For those of you who have been there, you understand. You’ll never forget what the pictures on the wall look like or how the mountains of hair, luggage and shoes made you feel inside. The shriveled bodies, the deadly experiments and the smell of death were enough to ensure that I will never forget what I saw there.

Overall, I am very glad that I went to Auschwitz. I think it’s important for people to see and experience because we (as a whole population) cannot let something like this happen ever again. I feel that it’s a responsibility that we now have. What sickens me is to think there are people in this world who say “what? it never happened. show me proof.”

On a much happier note, after we left Auschwitz I, we toured the small town of Oswiecim, Poland which is where Auschwitz is located. Surprisingly, it’s a beautiful town where people are happy and healthy. We went paddle-boating on a calm lake surrounded by mountains. To cap off the day, we had some Polish beers by the lake and watched the sun descend behind the mountains.

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