We first went to Auschwitz I and walked through the well known gate that stated “Arbeit Macht Frei”. In German this means “Works Makes You Free”. This part of Auschwitz was not the biggest but on the grounds of this camp they had a museum. In different blocks there were different exhibits.
The most emotional to me was the block with different objects from those at the camp. When people would leave for Auschwitz there were told that they were going to be resettled and to bring all of their belongings with them. Once they arrived at Auschwitz all of their belongings were taken from them. The people were then put into two groups. Those that could work and then those that could not work. Those that were unable to work were immediately killed in the gas chambers. All of their belongings were taken along with all of their hair cut off. In the museum they have rooms filled with shoes, hair, pots, pans, clothes of those that died at the camp. They even have suitcases with names of people because they were told to label all of their belongings. I almost could not make it through this part of the tour. Knowing that these items belonged to people that were murdered was unbearable. They even had children’s clothes and toys. It was the most disturbing thing I have ever seen. The images in those rooms will be with me for the rest of my life.
We then went to Auschwitz II- Birkenau. This was the largest of the 3 parts of Auschwitz. The size of this camp was unbelievable. It was such a strange feeling because it was such a beautiful day outside. The sun was shining, the grass was green, and there were even flowers, but you were also surrounded by barbed wire. It was such a paradox. We went into the living quarters of the prisoners and we were also taken to the ruins of the crematorium and gas chambers that were destroyed by the Nazis before the liberation of the camp. We also saw the memorial built with plaques in over 20 different languages.