Friday, August 8, 2008

Auschwitz - Birkenau, Poland, where Petr died

Auschwitz Concentration Camp, Places of Petr Ginz

Petr was sent to Auschwitz -Birkenau, a complex of two concentration camps, see, after his two years at the Theresienstadt ghetto. We went to Auschwitz, but not the second camp almost adjoining, called Birkenau. I am not sure exactly which one held Petr.

Here is Auschwitz now: see the barracks, the guard houses. With all so tidy and tourist-organized antiseptic, you have to imagine for yourself the cold, the hunger, the suffering. They do retain the buildings where terrible pain was inflicted. Some barracks are now dedicated to specific nationalities or ethnic groups of the victims, with records and collections of items.

See the Yad Vashem Museum in Jerusalem's website on the holocaust, and Auschwitz in particular, at

Auschwitz, restored Barracks, street. Museums in barracks.

The information boards along the way are helpful. At the parade ground, trains came in nearby, and the guard house prevents escape attempts.

Auschwitz, by parade ground, guard tower

Ovens, crematory, Auschwitz PL

Birkenau was just across the way, and housed more of the crematories and ovens than did Auschwitz. See ://  Auschwitz was known as the concentration camp, and Birkenau was known as the death camp.

Petr was killed immediately, reported a friend, Kurt Kotouc, who survived. See

This building, set in the hill-hummock with the chimney, housed the gas chambers and crematorium.

Auschwitz is in Poland, and the Polish name is Osweicim.

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