Interesting article recently in NY Times on preserving artifacts from inmates in Auschwitz-Birkenau: should the pile of inmates hair behind showcases be preserved or allowed to turn into dust as experts say it will?
should the restored crumbling old barracks be rehabbed or allowed to crumble?
Should the horrific gas chamber ruins at Birkenau - now a moss covered pile of rubble, be preserved in a more recongizable shape?
and how to cope with a surge in visitors - 1.3 million now a year vs 1/3 that number in 2001?
should the infamous Arbeit Macht Frei ("work madkes you free") signover the entrance at Auschwitz which was vandalized and broken in pieces a few years ago - should that sign be pieced back together or not? (The article tells the decision.)
Well these condundrums are all discussed in this thought-provoking article.
A visit to Auschwitz is not for everyone - for some it is too gruesome but for me is was very sobering and one of the most thougjht-provoking things I've done in decades of European travels - you wander around the decaying camps and think "gee this did not happen that long ago and in a pseudo-Uber-civilized country such as Germany was seen to be - just 70 some years ago.
To see at Birkenau (actually there were two separate camps - Auschwitz the work camp and Birkenau the killing fields and also work camp - the most starkly disturbing things are at Brikenau - the original rail line and platforms on which not only Jews but slavs, gays, gypsies and others were unloaded like cattle and then examined as to who was fit for work (which would not set them free!) and who were sent straight away to the nearby gas chambers - the other really distrubing site at Birkenau - now just a jumple of concrete but which takes on a vivid image in your mind - seeing the horror that is was, hearing in your mind the screams of the dying and visualizing German guards just watching it all - ah the inhumanmity of it all.
I can understand that some folks on a relaxing European vacation not caring to see such a horrific place but to me it is a must for everyone in the area - or any such death camp and there are so many everywhere it seems but I have seen many and none is as stark and shocking in its scope as Birkenau.
HAVE YOU VISITEFD AUSCHWITZ -? How did it affect you?
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