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Friday, April 15, 2016

Heritage Trip to Poland 2016/5776: Day 4

To end off our fourth and final day of our Heritage trip to Poland we went to Auschwitz I. Along with our tour guide we explored different restored block buildings that had a lot of different information on all the types of people that were kept in the Auschwitz camps, specifically Auschwitz I and all of the people that were transferred to the camps. We learned about the living conditions of the prisoners, looking into those gruesome living conditions of the women that had occupied block 11, a block where Polish prisoners/inmates/occupants were kept. Passing between block 12 and 11 was a shooting wall, where Germans had ruthlessly killed Poles by stripping them and shooting them when they weren't looking.
We also went to a building in which they kept a book of compiled names of those who had died in the Holocaust, whether it be in Auschwitz, the death march, or any other camp that had killed; some students looked for names of their family members in that book as well. 
We even walked into the last standing gas chamber/crematorium of Auschwitz, which was supposed to be destroyed like the other four in Auschwitz II/Birkenau. The only eminent reason for it to be standing was because it was also used as a bomb shelter for when the soviets attacked. During the tour of the refurbished blocks we had learned of many things, from Mengele's experiments to inhumane living conditions to the procession of German lies. We arrived home last night exhausted but inspired from a profound and moving week exploring both the Jewish pre-war communities and the devastation of the Shoah. ~Esty Fromer