CIMITERI DI GUERRA E MEMORIALI DI GUERRA
WAR CEMETERIES AND WAR MEMORIALS
Auschwitz II - Birkenau (Auaschwitz 2) - Poland
Agosto 2009 - August 2009
Allo scoppio della Seconda Guerra Mondiale, i nazisti crearono una rete di campi di concentramento, il cui numero, tra campi e sottocampi, superava il migliaio nel 1944. Il più grande di essi è quello di Oswiecim-Brzezinka (Auschwitz-Birkenau) in Polonia, circa 80 chilometri da Cracovia. Nei campi di concentramento persero la vita complessivamente circa 10 milioni di persone. Auschwitz fu il campo più grande, dove furono sterminati ebrei, oppositori politici e oppositori politici, senza rispetto delle loro nazionalità, convinzioni politiche, origini e confessioni religiose; ebrei, cattolici, minoranze etniche, e coloro che erano classificati come "indesiderabili". Circa 1.5 milioni di persone tutti i paesi occupati dai nazisti furono eliminati nel Konzentrationslager Auschwitz-Birkenau. (Tra i nomi tristemente noti di altri campi di sterminio citiamo quelli di Matuhausen, Treblinka, Belzec, Chelmno, Sobibor).
Since the beginning of WW2 the Nazis created a net of concentration camps for the extermination of the jews, the politic oppositors, minorities and "undesiderables". Due to concentration camp more than 10 million people lost their lives. At the end of 1944 the camps were more than a thousand. The bigger was Oswiecim-Brzezinka (Auschwitz-Birkenau), about 80 Km from Kracow. About 1,5 million people were exterminated here. They came from all the countries occopied by the Germans, and were killed without any concern about their nationality, their religion, their origin, their politic convinctions. (Other sadly known concentration camps were Mauthausen, Treblinka, Belzec, Chelmno, Sobibor).
(All pics by EAF51_Bear)
The rail entrance of Auschwitz Birkenau, known as the Death Gate
The building is the main SS guardhouse. Notice the windows in the tower.
Fence line: barbed wires and guard turrets
"The Ramp", where prisoners arrived at the camp
This is the rail entrance to Birkenau, and called the unloading ramp. Here trains from all over Nazi occupied Europe traveled with their human contents to be, in large part, murdered in the gas chambers of this, the biggest killing center in the Nazi system. Birkenau was known not only as a concentration and labor camp, but a death camp as well - "Vernichtungslager". It was opened some time in early 1942. The ramp was used to unload trains only after May 1944. May and June '44 were the largest production totals for this death factory, murdering approximately 10,000 people a day; mostly Jews from Hungary, mainly from the Budapest Ghetto. And on one day, a "record" 20,000 people were sent to the gas chambers. Immediately after disembarking from the trains, the Jews, and others, were made to line up in two columns: women and children in one, and men in the other. Next, SS physicians separated the strong and healthy people from the elderly, the sick, pregnant women, and children. Those regarded as fit for labor were sent to the camp. The others, usually 70-75% of each transport, were sent to their deaths in the gas chambers. (source: http://en.auschwitz.org.pl)
The rail track is the major vein leading to the heart of the Nazi massive murder system. To it flowed trains from all over Europe; north, south, east, and west. There were other extermination centers, to be sure, but this was by far the largest in area and scope. You see the entire length of the ramp, almost 3/4 km.
Doppelgänger .This switch and signal preside over the Nazi killing center near the rail entrance to Birkenau. A Doppelgänger is a ghostly counterpart and companion to a person. It is usually visible only to himself and haunts him throughout life. This particular one, made visible for the rest of us, continues to haunt its Nazi counterparts even in death.(source: http://en.auschwitz.org.pl)
The Barracks behind the fence line
The road where prisoners were marched to and from work, and the barracks.
In three tiered bunks, or hutches, there were at times 9–12 persons on each level, especially during the arrival of the Hungarian Jewish transports in the Spring and Summer of 1944. The bunks were about 3 meters wide. If prisoners wanted to turn, the whole row had to turn over with them.
These barracks were actually prefabricated wooden stables (Pferdestallbaracken, OKH-Typ 260/9), originally intended for use on the Eastern Front in Russia. They had rings attached to the walls for tying horses. There were 153 of these barracks in BII, the men's camp, and the camp hospital, not including toilet and washing barracks. The three deck hutches were originally intended to hold 15 prisoners, the total population about 400. In reality the number of prisoners in each barrack varied according to the size and number of arriving transports. In May-June of 1944 the Quarantine barracks could hold as many as 2,000 prisoners each. The long brick structure is part of an oven at each end, supposedly to radiate heat. The last two stalls were used to store buckets for excrement as there was no running water. (source: http://en.auschwitz.org.pl)
Survivor/author Tadeusz Borowski wrote: "If the barracks walls were suddenly to fall away, many thousands of people, packed together, squeezed tightly in their bunks, would remain suspended in mid-air. Such a sight would be more gruesome than the medieval paintings of the Last Judgment. For one of the ugliest sights to a man is that of another man sleeping on his tiny portion of the bunk, of the space he must occupy, because he has a body - a body that has been exploited to the utmost: with a number tattooed to save on dog tags, with just enough sleep at night to work during the day, and just enough time to eat. And just enough food so that he will not die wastefully. As for actual living, there is only one place for it - a piece of bunk. The rest belongs to the camp, to the fatherland" (source: http://en.auschwitz.org.pl)
Ritorna all'indice della sezione War Memorial
Back to War Memorial index