Monday, January 27, 2020

“For ever let this place be a cry of despair and a warning to humanity, where the Nazis murdered about one and a half million men, women, and children, mainly Jews from 
various countries of Europe.”

Today, as the world commemorates the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland, I have to ask: are we still listening to this ‘warning to humanity’? I’ve often wondered about this as an American disappointed in her country’s politics since 2016, an expat living in London who’s dealing with British politics/Brexit and as a world traveler who has seen and heard racist comments over the years.

On January 27th, 1945, the 1st Ukrainian Front of the Red Army liberated the remaining prisoners at the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp in southern Poland. Historians estimate that between 1940-1945, the Nazis sent at least 1.3 million people to Auschwitz, and only a couple hundred ended up surviving.
While we were living in Poland, we felt that it was important to visit Auschwitz and to see the atrocities that happened there. With a rise of antisemitism happening around the world, it’s more than important than ever to remember what happened at Auschwitz and other concentration camps during World War II.

Looking back through my unpublished photos from our trip to Auschwitz in 2013, I felt like they were crucial to share especially since it is the 75th anniversary of the liberation. Seeing the remains of the camp, gas chambers, empty suitcases, leftover shoes – all left their mark on me, and it’s a day I’ll never forget.

The photos of Auschwitz speak for themselves.
Arbeit macht frei” is a German phrase meaning “work sets you free.” The slogan is known for appearing at the entrance of Auschwitz and other Nazi concentration camps.
Female prisoners at Auschwitz
Male prisoners at Auschwitz

Gate leading into the courtyard of the execution wall between blocks 10 and 11 at Auschwitz.

One of the womens' barracks houses. 3-4 people would sleep next to each other on the hay.
Crematorium at Auschwitz
The photo above shows the gate house, which is the main entrance into Birkenau, also known as the Auschwitz II concentration camp. In May 1944, freight trains that were 40 to 50 cars long rolled through this gate, day and night, bringing thousands of Hungarian Jews to be gassed at the four Birkenau gas chambers. The prisoners called it the "Gate of Death."

According to the Auschwitz Museum, 434,351 of these Hungarian Jews were not registered at the Birkenau camp; instead, they were gassed immediately upon arrival.


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