Day 13 – Auschwitz to Krakow – Sun 18 May
Oh yay - sunshine peeking through clouds. As we’d camped in the carpark we made sure we were first to showers so our ablutions were finished before first buses arrived, GirlRob somewhat disconcerted by male attendant coming in and out unannounced. He was also carpark attendant, "No problem, No problem", his answer to every question.
Toured Auschwitz, then on to Birkenau via bus. Our young guide very knowledgeable, providing evidence for Holocaust claims, quoting war trial testimony and (very few) survivor stories. Man’s inhumanity to man was overwhelming in this place, incomprehensible the numbers murdered or who died in appalling conditions.
|Work sets you free....|
Photos, displays of shoes, suitcases with non-returning owners names, human hair - just awful. Went into "science" barracks where cruel sterilisation experiments were conducted on women. Saw cyanide pellets used in gas chambers, shiver up spine to walk inside. Ruthless efficiency to deal with sheer numbers of bodies needing daily disposal.
|Not selected for work camps....|
Rail lines and cattle cars still at Birkenau - those not judged suitable to work were partitioned off to walk to “disinfecting showers”. Latrine holes side by side, faeces cleaned out by crews using their hands… crematoriums blown up in last days before liberation.
|10 to bed x 3 layers, too cold to get up to pee|
Heard individual tragic/ heroic stories. Came away astounded by madness of war, and state of mind that sanctioned such atrocities. It felt good to escape ourselves and get back into our own vehicle and drive where we wanted, because we wanted….
Clear weather remained until after our arrival in Krakow, and a couple of loads of washing in Smok Camping. Brief rainstorm followed by beautiful rainbow. Beans and franks for dinner.