First Time in Auschwitz: A Dutch Intern Talks About His Experience
Recently, we visited Auschwitz with a group of colleagues. In the days before our trip everybody who had already been to Auschwitz told me to prepare myself because, in their opinion, it would be a quite depressing visit.
So when we went there I prepared myself for the worst. But it was a strange feeling because of the fun we had in the van with our group on our way to Auschwitz. When we arrived there we felt like we I had to be very serious because of all the horrible things that happened there. It was a strange feeling to enter there.
Then we entered the museum Auschwitz. Auschwitz has two big parts: Auschwitz with a lot of barracks who are all changed into different small museums with different subjects, which, I think, is really because you can choose the subjects that you want to know more about. Also, there are different barracks for the different nationalities that suffered in Auschwitz, which gives you the opportunity to look at Auschwitz from the perspective of your own country!
The other part of Auschwitz is Birkenau. This is the place with wooden barracks and where all of the gas chambers used to be. I phrased it as “used to be”, because, at the end of the war, the Nazis burned everything to the ground in an attempt to cover up all the atrocities that happened in this place. There are only a few barracks to be seen and a lot of ruins of the wooden barracks that were burned down, the only thing that remains of the barracks are the brick chimneys. Besides the vast ground with merely the chimneys, there are also the ruins of the gas chambers and the train station which you can see.
I found the part of Auschwitz with the museum really interesting and the only gas chamber still in place, in the part with the museum, really depressing. The second part (Auschwitz Birkenau) is just really depressing as you are walking through the camp. For me it was really hard to imagine all the atrocities that took place here while I was walking there and it gave me a really strange feeling. It’s just such a weird cruel idea that millions of people where held, humiliated, abused and killed in this place. Afterwards I want to recommend to go to Auschwitz for a whole day because it’s a big interesting place with lots of things to be seen.