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July 30, 2002

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We visit Auschwitz and Birkenau, places that witnessed unspeakable horror. Birkenau's huge dimensions, acres of warehouse living quarters, add to its bleak character; this camp, not the more famous Auschwitz, was the largest extermination camp. In comparison, Auschwitz seems compact; trees line its short, gravel stone roads and in the early morning, shaded quiet (before tourist buses arrive), Auschwitz feels peaceful. Enter the buildings and see piles of hair shorn from thousands of dead to dispel any illusions about peace. Both camps make you feel history and its impossible not to be moved.
Latrines at Birkenau
German writing on barrack's wall instructing inmates to stay clean.
The gas chambers and ovens at Birkenau were built to exterminate 2000 people at once.
The gallows where Auschwitz camp commander, Hoss, was hanged after the war.
Birkenau's main gate.