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Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by inchy14, 21 Nov 2019.
100% agree. Went to Berlin recent and the Holocaust museum there was enough.
Went to Sachsenhausen in Oranienburg when I was in Berlin. Smaller scale but just as eerie I suppose. Walking in via the gates with it’s common slogan. Going into the firing squad pit. The ruins of the gas chamber. Seeing the mortuary with it’s white tiled walls. A couple of accommodation blocks still standing.
Went to Auschwitz 3 years ago and the most harrowing thing was being in the gas chamber where many poor souls met their fate: /
I visited Strachenhausen outside Berlin about 4 years ago and Auschwitz and Birkenau 2 years ago and found them both extremely harrowing in different ways.
Strachenhausen is about an hour and a half outside Berlin and sits at the back of a small village. Me and the Mrs went and were the only people in the grounds in a freezing February day. The strangest thing is walking through the gates and all sound seems to disappear altogether. No birds, no background noise - absolutely nothing. It's honestly like nature itself stays away as a mark of respect. That was one of the earlier camps set up and was heavily involved in a lot of the experiments on Jews, disabled children, twins...the morbid list went on. Reading some of that stuff is truly incomprehensible. The evil that was done in that 'hospital' and some of the stories stayed with me for a long time. As some have already said, no matter how hard you try you still can't believe it actually happened - it still felt surreal. I remember just sitting in what was left of the gas chamber area for over an hour with the Mrs in complete silence.
Auschwitz and Birkenau were very busy when I went, so it wasn't the same experience. What you see and hear there again, is just unspeakable. I will always remember walking through the building with all of the hair and belongings then seeing a tiny pair of yellow children's shoes. Honestly hit me harder than anything I had ever experienced and you feel such an intense rage at what the Nazi's done. Being inside the gas chamber and the stories of handing out soap as they walked in and fake shower heads was absolutely soul destroying. To stand in a place where hundreds of thousands of souls have perished is something that stays with you.
I think either of these places are an experience every single person on the planet should go and see. Not only does it provide a harrowing education into events of the past, but it highlights how strong a tool propaganda can be and what can happen when people don't stand up against prejudice. I'm sure there are others who have been who notice worrying events from the past that lead to this are still common place today. Without being overly political, things like the disdain of Syrian refugees, growing xenophobia in the face of Brexit and 'the elite' seemingly unbothered by austerity are all extremely worrying. The one thing that really get's me however, after such horrible past-time, is the rise of far-right Nazi's in places in Poland. A wonderful country that was decimated by the Nazi's, yet there they are promoting a regime that most likely killed their ancestors. Absolute mutants. I won't mention the lack of action regarding UEFA on that either...
You can almost get your head around a pogrom but this industrial mass murder was going on 24/7 for several years , I will never understand that.
The sustained rage and hate that made it possible.
There were quite a few plots to kill Hitler by Germans even before the war started , they were very unlucky.
good post that matey and it makes you think, me,i dont think it could ever happen again on that scale and how it was kept secret in those days is another thing but we dont know for sure what British inteligence knew in those days,these places were deep behind enemy lines but its on the cards we knew long before the Russians walked in but simply couldnt do anything about it,bombing raids went over the camps but i suspect photography was the main intention, what gets me a German officer would go home and sit around the table with his wife and kids after putting the same in the gas chambers earlyer in the day, it just hits you in the face
We went to a village named Oradour-sur-Glane in France, near Limoges, which is the site of a massacre by a company of Waffen SS soldiers in 1944.
642 men, women and children were murdered in reprisal for 3 or 4 Germans killed in a nearby village a few days before. The victims were mostly herded into the church, where they were machine gunned down and then set alight. the village was then destroyed. After the war, the village was turned into a Village Martyr by De Gaulle, and stands as a memorial to the dead as it was left, A new village, of the same name, was built next to the site.
A very eerie experience for us both, especially as we discovered that the day we went was the anniversary of the massacre, and we had just missed the memorial service. It didn't help that there were storm clouds in the area. with constant thunder all around.
2 years and 6 days later, my wife died about 50 miles away!
I would love to go and visit Auschwitz/Birkenau, but having seen the results of those atrocities on such a (relatively) small scale and been so affected by it, I'd be a gibbering wreck when I got there.
And incredibly, there are still those who deny that it ever happened.
What's with these people?
Can only echo what many have said on here. As harrowing as it is, it’s somewhere I firmly believe everybody should visit.
We went on a bitterly cold November a few years back and with birkenau being a vast open space completely exposed to the elements, We got a very very small taste of the often overlooked extreme weather conditions they were subjected to and with nothing but rags to their name if they were lucky, it’s staggering how many survived both the freezing winters and the scorching summers whilst being literally worked to death. Heard stories of how survivors almost fought to huddle up to dead bodies during the night in a desperate bid to gain some warmth and survive.
Birkenau probably gives you the best sense of the scale of the place but of all the mounds of items on display in Auschwitz itself, I think it’s probably the shoes that hit the hardest for me. what they have on display is crazy but it gets more crazy when you realise that was only a small portion of what was recovered and then you learn that the vast majority of prisoners didn’t even have shoes.
As a side note, couldn’t agree more with the Kraków comments, an incredibly stunning city. Sadly, wasn’t there long enough to explore much beyond the standard tourist spots particularly with a whole day dedicated to Auschwitz but even the more expensive tourist areas were still comparatively cheap as chips. They were just setting up the Christmas markets the weekend we were there, would love to have gone a fortnight later to experience that on top of everything else.
I was partly brought up by a lovely woman who survived Auschwitz. She was a political prisoner who opposed the National Socialist Party. I learned a lot about compassion and politics from her and her family.
When I visited Auschwitz I got lost in a world full of thoughts and sadness. It really affected me. We had a survivor with us and again, he was a model of compassion, kindness and wisdom. All children in Israel visit and when you see them walking in formation in total silence with their flag in front it is sobering.
What shocked me on occasion was the rather loud (often American) tourists who ignored the signs and requests not to photograph certain areas, and people taking selfies in really sensitive areas. It isn’t that often that I get really angry but to see this happen when there are families clearly mourning and praying was shocking.
there are lots of publications that are good and in recent years lots of stories that have become popular. Some mentioned on this thread. All are relevant to a degree but if anyone wants a real and detailed history of the various stages of the holocaust have a look at ‘The Holocaust’ by Martin Gilbert. People often think that they know what went on in terms of the holocaust but to see accounts of the creative way in which the Nazi’s, particularly the SS went about industrial scale murder is mind blowing. Reading accounts of SS officers taking bets on how many push ups people could do over a bayonet before they fell on it and died (for fun because they were bored), or how in order to save bullets they stood people in a line three or four deep and used one high powered bullet to see if it would kill more than two or three people is sickening. It shows a total lack of any feeling towards fellow humans.
One of the questions that I was asked almost thirty years ago at my university interview was “if you were stuck on a desert island and could only have one book what would it be”? I answered the Holocaust by Martin Gilbert. The panel all looked at me like I was mad and one asked why. My response was “because it would remind me why sometimes being on an island away from the human race was not a bad option”. It caused a lot of debate but I got on and completed my politics degree.
if anyone really looks at how the hatred and fear developed throughout the late 1920’s to the mid 1940’s they will be fearful of what is happening right here, right now. People are accepting lies from politicians, media and often their own classes. It is a dangerous And fragmented world and things are happening at a pace that should make people sit up and really take notice. We are sleepwalking into a real problem on a national and international stage.