How did I not know this? I’ve read so many books, and have seen so many movies, and yet, I didn’t realize that what I visualize in my mind as Auschwitz is not the one and only Auschwitz. Auschwitz I is the first labor/ death camp that was built in Krakow. Then they expanded. Not just once, but twice. There were three camps known as Auschwitz in what was later termed the Death Triangle.
But let’s start with Auschwitz I, which has been turned into a Museum. You can rent an audio headset and wander through the buildings on your own, or you can go with a Tour Guide, which I am glad I chose to do. Our tour guide, Margritte, painted such a vivid picture of what it must have been like there — as a prisoner who’d survived insurmountable odds already and was still enduring tortures. We can’t forget that.
I don’t need to tell you what happened there. We know. But seeing the displays and walking the grounds where all these atrocities actually occurred was one of the most sobering experiences ever.
Here are some of the displays our guide talked about as we walked through what life was like in those barbaric living conditions.
I highly recommend a visit there. It’s such an unfathomable part of world history. But Auschwitz I was not the actual place I associated with the name. The place I really see in my mind when I think of “Auschwitz” is Birkenau.