Sunday, April 4th, 2004

Sunday, April 4th, 2004

Today was another day that my body was to suffer. I shouldn’t complain, as it was my own fault. For the same reason, I promised to give my liver a rest for 24 hours. I felt bad but wanted to go to Auschwitz (Oswiecim) and Birkenau. It was here that the Nazis established their largest concentration and extermination camp. I persuaded the two very hung over English girls to go as well. We passed a Palm Sunday procession as we walked up down. Most of the population are ardent and strict Catholics and most people in town had palms to bless.

Click on the picture to see it in its original size

Palm Sunday – Krakow – Poland (04-04-2004)

We walked to the bus station and purchased tickets for the 12.20pm bus to Oswiecim, which is about one hour and thirty minutes away. We all slept on and off in the bus. It was 8 Z each.

The bus driver was cool and shouted to us that we were passing the entrance. It was free in and we went to see a 15-minute film (3 Z), which was poor and didn’t explain much. It was 1.30pm or so when we got there and it was closing at 5.00pm. As it was afternoon all the tour buses had now left.

We walked from room to room examining the pictures, maps, stats and photographs. I have been in a concentration camp before, about 10 years ago in Dachau near Munich. It was a similar somber tone.

Auschwitz is a massive graveyard from where no visitor can leave unmoved. Auschwitz I opened in June 1940, and Auschwitz II (Birkenau) opened March 1941 3km away. Gas chambers worked ceaselessly, bodies incinerated in crematoriums, horrible medical experiments and prisoners dying of starvation and filth – that is the horrific image.

Click on the picture to see it in its original size

Entrance (Arbeit macht frei – Works brings Freedom) – Auschwitz (Oswiecim) – Krakow – Poland (04-04-2004)

Click on the picture to see it in its original size

Personal belongings – Auschwitz (Oswiecim) – Krakow – Poland (04-04-2004)

Click on the picture to see it in its original size

Auschwitz (Oswiecim) – Krakow – Poland (04-04-2004)

Click on the picture to see it in its original size

Auschwitz (Oswiecim) – Krakow – Poland (04-04-2004)

We got the 5.20pm bus back to town and from there walked back to the hostel. It was now around 8.00pm and I wasn’t feeling good. I went on the Net for a while in a nearby Internet Cafe (3 Z per hour). After I went back to the hostel, I picked a book by Colin Dexter called ?Inspector Morse – The Daughters of Cain ?and read it until midnight. No beer today. Well, I had a can. I had seen the televised version of this book with Dexter in it and thought Hmm, it must be a good read, but the book is quite slim and uncomplicated.

An early night: thank God.