Thursday, September 21.
It is cold outside. The sky dark and it rains abundantly.
In a way the ideal circumstances for our destination today.
We get in the car and about 90’ later I’m guided to a parking spot.
We are at Auschwitz (Oświęcim).
You can do one of three things.
Visit the site Auschwitz on your own. It is free of charge but you need a ticket. This kind of visited is only possible after 16:00.
Make reservations for a visit. Half of the available tickets for a given day are sold that way. The other half are made available in site.
The office were you can get your tickets is situated in a white small cabin on the main parking.
You’ll find screens telling you at what time visits in a certain language are scheduled. Next to them a number in blue telling you how many spots are still available for that tour.
When we arrived the English tour was a 2-hour wait but we could get tickets for the French tour that started 15’ later. I speak fluently French and Sweetheart too understands French so we got two tickets. They are cheap because you only pay for the guide.
The entrance building leads you to the camp itself and is much like airport border control complete with body scan. Your handbag or small photo bag goes through a scanner as well.
The French speaking Polish guide did a good job and gave us an interesting and complete overview. The whole tour, including the free shuttle to Birkenau, 3 kilometers farther, took about 3,5 hours.
My Mom and her father, my grandfather, were both incarcerated in the Belgian Dossin prison. My mother’s stories of her 3 weeks there still linger in my mind.
They were arrested because they did underground work. They were not shipped to the camps.
My uncle, my mother’s brother, a White Brigade Member, never came back though. He was send to the hell of Bergen-Belsen.
My mother always said “once a German, always a German.” She hated them. As a kind I saw documentaries on TV. Grainy black and white images of soldiers falling on their knees when they liberated the camps. Crying in disbelief. The cruelty. The sheer horror.
My mother telling about the screams she heard. The fear she felt.
So I was not particularly fond of visiting the place. Sweetheart wanted though, so we went.
What stuck me the most during our visit was the methodology and the lies the Nazi’s used to deceive and decimate. Evil power at its best.
I don’t hate. It is a waste of energy. Besides, one cannot hold responsible the son for the acts of his father. That was something my mother never understood. Hate makes no sense. Hate puts you in the same ballgame.
Let’s look at he bright side of today’s Polish history,