An interesting trip

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boxerman
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An interesting trip

Postby boxerman » Sat Mar 05, 2016 1:30 pm

Arrived home from Krakow last night after a visit to Auschwitz 1 & Auschwitz 2 (Birkenhau). A very sobering experience!! I expected to walk away from there with tears in my eyes but I didn't - the whole experience is just so much larger than life that it'll take weeks for the full scale and horror of the place to be digested before any emotional response can surface. We stood inside the first experimental gas chamber directly under the hatch that the Zyclon B was dropped in to the 6 or 700 hundred prisoners - this is pretty much all that is left of the gas chambers as the main ones at Birkenhau were blown up by the Nazis before they left. We walked along the massive station platform (must be a good 500 feet) were prisoners were unloaded from the cattle trucks, we stood at the spot where a Dr sent you to the left or right depending on whether you looked fit to work or not - turning left took you to the camp - turning right meant a 500 yard walk direct to the gas chamber. We walked along the edge of the worn track and the loose soil/gravel clearly contained massive amounts of white bone fragments. We talked to guides who say that if you dig down a foot or two you hit a foot or two of cremated remains. It's just incomprehensible..

Here's just a few of the many pics I took at Birkenhau.
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Re: An interesting trip

Postby Ruralman » Sat Mar 05, 2016 2:06 pm

A Powerful reminder of the destructive and brutal regimes that arise when people stop caring about their fellow man!
Long may these camps stand as a warning to those who look down on others!


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Re: An interesting trip

Postby Oldbloke » Sat Mar 05, 2016 2:28 pm

Everybody should visit these places to ensure we never forget.

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Re: An interesting trip

Postby kent_instructor10 » Sat Mar 05, 2016 2:57 pm

What is so frightening is how a number of initially insignificant average people can get together, take power and then change a country so much that they are able to do this. Unbelievably, because of their upbringing and indoctrination, many people involved in the Nazi system genuinely believed that they were doing a "good job" for their society by removing Jews, Gypsys, political opponents, homosexuals and other so called "undesirables". The story of Nazi Germany is indeed a warning from history.
Lets not forget that Stalinist Russia also murdered millions too.

Sadly, conflicts since 1945 still go to show that mankind doesn't learn or care.

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Re: An interesting trip

Postby Ruralman » Sat Mar 05, 2016 5:25 pm

Even in the 21st Century persecution of minority's still goes on, sadly some people will never evolve into caring individuals.



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Re: An interesting trip

Postby bwprice100 » Sat Mar 05, 2016 6:18 pm

There is a very good documentary called, I think, '5 steps to the holocaust'
It is well worth watching and shows how easily it can happen and how often we migrate through several of the steps without realising.

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Re: An interesting trip

Postby gogs01 » Sat Mar 05, 2016 7:05 pm

Arrived home from Krakow last night after a visit to Auschwitz 1 & Auschwitz 2 (Birkenhau). A very sobering experience!! I expected to walk away from there with tears in my eyes but I didn't - the whole experience is just so much larger than life that it'll take weeks for the full scale and horror of the place to be digested before any emotional response can surface ..... It's just incomprehensible..
I visited Auschwitz a couple of years ago and found it extremely sobering. I didn't cry either, but instead came away deeply depressed.
I spoke to the Polish lady who acted as our guide and she told me that she had lost family members in the camp and had been working as guide for several years. I don't know how anybody could do that.
The visit to the gas ovens at Birkenau was to follow but I couldn't face any more.
On the one hand I wouldn't wish a visit there on my worst enemy, on the other hand I feel that every child in the world should be shown just how badly human beings can be made to behave towards each other. It's truly awful.
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Re: An interesting trip

Postby boxerman » Sat Mar 05, 2016 7:17 pm

You should have done the Birkenau section too, Gogs. That is the main extermination camp and utterly different to Auschwitz 1 which, as an old army barracks, looks civilised by comparison. Auschwitz 1 is small but Birkenhau must cover a good square kiliometre and you are made aware that you are walking on tons of cremated remains. It's called the largest cemetery in the world.
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Re: An interesting trip

Postby windmill john » Sat Mar 05, 2016 7:49 pm

It is one placed I want to visit. I've read about it, heard about it, seen programs about it. Not quite sure why I want to go, just feel I want/need to.
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Re: An interesting trip

Postby Lolo » Sun Mar 06, 2016 2:33 pm

I think it should be on the school curriculum to visit such places.
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Re: An interesting trip

Postby gogs01 » Sun Mar 06, 2016 4:48 pm

You should have done the Birkenau section too, Gogs. That is the main extermination camp and utterly different to Auschwitz 1 which, as an old army barracks, looks civilised by comparison. Auschwitz 1 is small but Birkenhau must cover a good square kiliometre and you are made aware that you are walking on tons of cremated remains. It's called the largest cemetery in the world.
I'm sure it would have been interesting, and maybe I should have seen Birkenau first. After the horror of Auschwitz I just couldn't take any more. The memory of the piles of little children's shoes, clothes and hair left me shocked. I know men can do bad things to other men, but I thought humans were hard-wired to care for children. Obviously not. :pale: :cry:
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Re: An interesting trip

Postby mw3230 » Sun Mar 06, 2016 5:29 pm

And yet despite the lessons learned offered by visiting and preserving such places, similar (albeit smaller scale) horrors are repeated regularly throughout the world - Africa, Asia and the Middle East AND europe have all seen atrocities which are just as abhorrent. The rest of the world, us include, do little more than wring our hands. I despair
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Re: An interesting trip

Postby Bill Smithson » Sun Mar 06, 2016 6:32 pm

I don't think I could ever visit any of the death camps.
As a youngster I watched the Pathe News films of the liberation of Belsen in the local cinema.
I've never forgotten the horror of seeing the skeletal figures of the dead and dying when we thought we had it hard with food rationing. :sad:

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Re: An interesting trip

Postby Sofa » Sun Mar 06, 2016 9:31 pm

The reason Hitler thought he could get away with it was the Turks did in 1915. One million Armenians killed and still to this day Turkey denies it and silences any of its citizens who try to write about it.
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Re: An interesting trip

Postby boxerman » Sun Mar 06, 2016 11:09 pm

Here's a load more pics from Auschwitz. About 7 minutes on U-Tube.
https://youtu.be/xMY4wnlskXk
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Re: An interesting trip

Postby George Duckett » Mon Mar 07, 2016 10:02 am

I was stationed at Hohne barracks nr Belson doing National Service 1956/1957 and walked down to where the camp was. The sight of the huge burial mounds and some graves with the names on was thought provoking enough for me and not to go again. The buildings had been burnt to the ground more or less straight away. Like Bill said all of the dead and dying must have been terrible for the ones who liberated the camp.
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Re: An interesting trip

Postby Patman » Mon Mar 07, 2016 11:24 am

Should We Heed Those Ominous Signs? - Pat Mansfield recounts his travels to Eastern Europe during July 2006. Read about his trails and tribulations below……

When my 23-year-old daughter (Alison’s), who works in London, heard what my plans were she tentatively asked if she could tag along. I told her that there would be a lot of “sitting on the bike” with plenty of rest stops along the way but I still wasn’t sure if she would enjoy the experience (none of my children were pillions before). However, she convinced me that she was up to the task but could only go for nine days. So I booked the ferries to Holyhead and Calais (usually I go direct from Rosslare to Cherbourg) with a flight for her from Katowice to London. Normally I don’t book or plan a trip in any great detail but now I had to devise some sort of schedule to incorporate the first nine days. This consisted of travelling across Germany to Prague and Poland with hotels booked in Aachen, Erfurt and Dresden while Poland and the other four to five weeks could continue “unplanned” as usual. The Czech and Polish hotels would be sought out on arrival. Alison’s let a ride for Sun… for I real out to Budapest, to Passau to Aachen to Calais AND Dover to Holyhead.

Calais to
Aachen – 215 miles 215
Erfurt – 275 miles 480 265
Dresden – 128 miles 610 120
Prague – 93 miles 722 102
Wroclaw – 176 miles 903 221
Katowice – 119 miles 1017 114
Kracow – 49 miles
Auschwitz (Oswiecim) 1039
Kracow – 49 miles
Katowice – 49 miles
Zvolen - 153 miles

Postscript -
Eleven countries and 3,600 miles in 18 days is less than I originally intended but, despite the mishaps, I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. Would I do it again? No and yes! No, I wouldn’t travel so far – alone; shorter trips alone to France and Germany might be acceptable but longer trips should, in my view, only be undertaken in the company of others for support.

Upon returning early, I was cajoled into taking the E-zine editor’s position – I knew I should have stayed away longer!

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Re: An interesting trip

Postby george baker » Mon Mar 07, 2016 11:32 am

Hi Pat
sounds like it was a good trip (for you) but I dont fancy riding every day and as you say it needs good company

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Re: An interesting trip

Postby DEEP DIVER » Mon Mar 07, 2016 8:18 pm

I was going to visit Belsen in 2010 as we were staying near Cella. But the bike battery packed up so spent all day looking for a new one. Will be planning a trip back in a few years and hoping to go then.
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Re: An interesting trip

Postby Jockboxer » Tue Mar 08, 2016 9:33 pm


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Re: An interesting trip

Postby gogs01 » Wed Mar 09, 2016 7:57 am

Wow - that made me cry ......
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