Situated not far from Kraków, it is a symbol of terror and genocide, witness of the suffering of millions of people from all over the world. No word that one can write about Auschwitz is capable of rendering its history, as it is marked with human emotions torn from the depth of the heart: fear, tears, blood, and unimaginable and innocent suffering. Silence is the only suitable commentary. An attempt at understanding why such a huge tragedy happened is impossible as to this day Auschwitz inspires terror, although so many years have passed since the end of the Second World War.
Arbeit Macht Frei, the notorious inscription over the gate that the inmates walked through announced that “work makes you free”. What these people found on the other side was a contradiction of the adage: inmates were forced to carry out slave labour and drudgery that finished them off physically and psychologically.
Looking at the piled up objects – shoes, handbags, glasses, and other personal items – that the inmates had to relinquish before being sent to the gas chambers, seeing their shorn hair in the huge display cabinet, and finally passing by their photographs, with those unforgettable, big, and horrifyingly sad eyes, we realise that Auschwitz was hell on earth, a death machine, where thousands of people, mostly Jews, were gassed each day as Auschwitz was set up for the final elimination of Jews from society and proving the superiority of the Aryan race.
Most visitors to Poland make the journey to Auschwitz-Birkenau. The place shows what humans are capable of and makes you realise that “a human can be destroyed but never vanquished”, as although the place may bear the mark of the death of millions, there are millions coming to Auschwitz to remember them and to express their gesture of solidarity with those whose ashes were strewn by the winds decades ago…