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11. Posted by SHG (Budding Member 11 posts) 11y

I just wanted to say that was a beautiful post mtlchica, i plan to visit Auschwitz soon and i have a feeling it will definately be a very sobering experience. Sometimes we get so caught up in our own fuzzy little world and keeping places like that alive reminds us of not only the depths of evil that once existed but also brings us that much closer to the rest of humanity....

12. Posted by Travel100 (Travel Guru 1556 posts) 11y

I've been to Dachau and Auschwitz. Auschwitz is not too far from Krakow, as I'm sure you already know. A couple things struck me about Auschwitz. One was the sheer size of it. You actually visit 2 seperate camps. The first "Auschwitz I" is where you see the sign "Abreit Macht Frei."

But it's "Auschwitz II-Birkenau" that is the HUGE one with the remains of the crematoriums and the RR tracks leading right in through the gates, etc.. I had NO idea that is was even close to the size that it is.

The other thing that felt kind of weird, is that now, nearby you see children playing, butterflies flying, etc.. Like everything is normal. And just 60 years ago it was HELL ON EARTH! That was weird.

It's definitely worth going and I would recommend that anyone in Krakow go. However, be prepared, it depressed me for the rest of the day, and even the next day. It really had a lasting sobering effect. Just so overwhelmingly sad, it was hard to shake and go on with my happy vacation.

Dachau, on the other hand, is not nearly as big, BUT the museum there is chilling. Describing some of the experienments done to children, etc.. I was very young when I visited Dachau, but I've NEVER forgotten it.

And as long as I'm on the subject. In Cambodia, I visited the Killing fields and the touture museum in Phnom Penn.

It's really HARD to believe how evil man CAN be.

13. Posted by Travel100 (Travel Guru 1556 posts) 11y

Quoting mtlchica

But most of all, do it as a memorial to those who went through that horrific time.
K

Hi mtlchica,

I just read your post and your last sentence really sums it up for me. That's exactly the way I feel, like it's my duty to at least go, observe, reflect, and sort of pay my respects to the people who had to endure these places.

14. Posted by Travel100 (Travel Guru 1556 posts) 11y

Just looked up "endure." I wish we had an edit button, because that's not really the best choice of words. Endure, sort of implies that you "endure and survive." Most of the people in the camps had to endure and still ended up dead.

15. Posted by Travel100 (Travel Guru 1556 posts) 11y

I swear this will be my last post on this thread, until someone else posts, but FYI:

http://www.auschwitz-muzeum.oswiecim.pl/html/eng/start/index.php

16. Posted by samsara_ (Travel Guru 5353 posts) 11y

On a related note, has anybody been to see "Downfall" yet? I went to the cinema to see it just this week. It was an absolutely amazing movie, and I highly recommend anyone with an interest in Hitler and the Third Reich to go and see it.

I have an interest in the horror genre when it comes to books, movies, etc. but watching this movie(which wouldnt even fall into this genre), I got a real sense of HORROR, not through tropes and devices and underlying plots.....a real sense of "oh god, i cant believe im watching history here". What made that all the more impressive was the fact that there was this sense of complete detachment from reality within the bunker and that was juxtaposed with what was happening to the city outside. Very very sobering stuff.

The portrayal of Hitler was nothing short of brilliant, and throughout the movie you caught glimpses of his human side -his deference to and more gentle treatment of the women in his life, his enjoyment of children. But then when he would go into one of his ranting rages, I found myself watching it and actually feeling afraid

This was probably one of the most intense pieces of cinema I have ever sat through. A woman sitting in front of me broke down crying during the film, and when it was over everyone just sort of sat there until the credits had completed finished rolling...

When I stop to think about it all, I find it incredible to think of what happened, how one man could fuel an entire country's imagination (to put it in the "nicest" possible way). I have not been to Auschwitz or Dachau yet but I really do hope to visit them some day for just the reason that Katie mentions.

17. Posted by daveh (Travel Guru 1027 posts) 11y

Reading this thread reminded me of a book i read a couple of years back about Pol Pot. Before he lead Cambodia into a tragic era in there history, he genuinely thought his plan to get everyone working in the fields (and other ideas he had) would have a good and positive impact on Cambodia and its people. As the country descended into war and chaos, Pol Pot apparantly lost sight of what he had initially set out to achieve from his idealistic years as a young man, and the more powerful he became, the more ruthless and callous he became.

Visiting the killing fields and the torture museum in Phnom Penh had a real impact on me as the photos, dried blood etc gave it a very real and personal effect of something that has happened in my lifetime. As someone has already mentioned with there visit to Auschwitz though, the rest of the day was quite depressing, although you reflect it's good sometimes to be reminded of how lucky you are.

Still, it's amazing after the apparant lessons learned from the genocide in Europe, nobody was prepared to help Cambodia!!

18. Posted by tway (Travel Guru 7273 posts) 11y

Hi Eve,

Yes, I saw Downfall a few months ago. I have this fascination with WWII - mostly, I think, because my grandfather was in it and it seems to have left a permanent scar. He only started talking about it - and very reluctantly - before he died.

Watching the movie was strange, because once in a while I'd feel almost sorry for them, and then I'd remember who they were and what they did. I read reviews where people were bashing anyone who dared make a movie about Hitler's "human" side - but that's what he was, after all. He was human, and as a human he had a choice - as do we all - to do do harm or to do good. He wasn't a monster, a freak of nature. That would imply that he had no choice in what he did. He was human and he chose to hurt other humans. That makes it somehow worse.

Anyhow, my facination is taking me to Courselles-sur-mer in Normandy for Rememberance Day this November. It seems like the very least I can do.

T.

19. Posted by angela_ (Respected Member 1732 posts) 11y

For a history course I took once I read Schindler's List and wrote an essay on Brinnlitz, Schindler's work camp. It was chilling to see how people were treated but good to see kindness prevail in such a harsh enviroment.

20. Posted by Travel100 (Travel Guru 1556 posts) 11y

Quoting angela_

For a history course I took once I read Schindler's List and wrote an essay on Brinnlitz, Schindler's work camp. It was chilling to see how people were treated but good to see kindness prevail in such a harsh enviroment.

Did you ever see the movie? It was an excellent film!