Will We Ever Learn?

Birkenau’s entire reason for being was to kill. To exterminate. And 75% of those who arrived at Birkenau were killed upon arrival. Upon arrival. It’s hard to process that. It’s hard to process most of what happened during the Holocaust

The original Auschwitz camp held anywhere from 15,000 to more than 20,000 prisoners. Birkenau held more than 90,000 and was being expanded. There were approximately 300 barracks and buildings within about 140 hectares.

Many of the buildings are gone, and the Nazis destroyed the gas chambers just before the Allies arrived. But there’s a building misleadingly named the “sauna” that remains intact. Those who weren’t killed upon arrival were forced to go through the sauna as part of their “processing.” There are signs that explain what happened to people in each room. One for being stripped of all belongings, including the clothes on their back. A long hallway to walk naked to a room where they were totally shaved. A room for a cold shower. Another place to receive uniforms.

A million people died at Birkenau, and more than 9 out of 10 were Jews.

It was hard to visit Auschwitz and Birkenau. It was hard to write about it. I’m sure it wasn’t fun to read. But we can’t hide from the fact that this happened. We need to experience these frightening and tragic sights because we have to know that this can’t ever happen again.

If we haven’t learned from the Holocaust, then I’m not sure we’ll learn from anything.

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This entry was published on August 23, 2014 at 11:19 am and is filed under Event, History, Poland, Sights, Travel. Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

2 thoughts on “Will We Ever Learn?

  1. Rodney Fisher on said:

    This is really sobering and thanks for sharing the photos as well as your thoughts Jennifer. There are horrific events happening all of the time that are reported in the news but I was reminded recently that there are always many acts of generosity, care, and compassion taken that we may or may not even hear of.

    • Thanks for your comments, Rodney. You’re right–there are many positives happening in life. Sometimes it’s hard to see that with all the scary things happening in the world. It’s inspirational when even in the darkest times, people respond with generosity, care, and compassion. Each one of us can contribute to the positive energy out there. I know you do!

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