Last month we visited Auschwitz-Birkenau, the Nazi concentration and extermination camp in Oswiecim, Poland. I posted a review of the miserable tour experience a few days later when we were in Krakow.
Auschwitz-Birkenau tour in photos (August 2, 2018).
Over the past few days I put together a 12:20 minute slideshow video and posted the finished project on YouTube today. The video contains most of the 50 photos from my blog post with an additional 75 photos. Many of the photos of camp buildings are annotated to provide some detail about their role during the period 1940-45 and what museum exhibits are there today.
I made the decision to start the video with one minute of location scenery photos to show our 30 minute walk from Hampton Inn Oswiecim in the old town along the Soła River to Auschwitz I Camp Museum.
What surprised us on our trip was the proximity of the center of the town to Auschwitz Concentration Camp. One of the most infamous atrocities of World War II happened within easy walking distance of the town.
In my post-tour research I read several accounts of Oswiecim residents who lived in the small rural town during World War II, generally in a state of fear and acquiescence. Resistance was met with imprisonment and execution.
Here are two articles about residents of Oswiecim, Poland:
The Daily Mail article with photos is particularly interesting to me. We stayed two nights at the new Hampton Inn Oswiecim, recently opened in June 2018. The Hampton Inn hotel is constructed on a site by the river next to the historic town bridge. A tenement building existed on this site from 1880-2003 owned by the Jewish Haberman family.
The Haberman’s owned a vodka and liqueur factory that was the town’s first large business established in 1804. Alfons and Felicja Haberman, co-owners of the factory were in New York at the World Exhibition in summer 1939 when war broke out in Poland. Their daughter, born in 1937, had remained in Poland with her grandmother. Both child and grandmother died at Belzec concentration camp.
One of the photos in the ‘high street’ article shows Nazi flags hanging from the former tenement building with the white church seen in the background. The first image in my slideshow video shows the same street and church from outside Hampton Inn Oswiecim.
Another war photo shows a Nazi identity card checkpoint on the same bridge outside the Hampton Inn.
Auschwitz July 2018 Video 127 photos and informational slides (12:20 minutes)
0:01-1:08 Intro and river walk photos
1:09 outside view of Auschwitz I camp walls and guard towers.
2:18 – 8:08 Arbeit Macht Frei gate and Auschwitz I camp tour photos.
8:09 – 9:30 Auschwitz II – Birkenau camp basic information and death statistics. 90% of the 1.1 million deaths at Auschwitz camps were associated with Birkenau.
9:31 – 11:31 Birkenau photos.
11:31 – 11:46 Auschwitz Museum bookstore photos of books.
11:47 – 12:19 Oswiecim then and now.
Our tour of Birkenau was cut short due to a thunder and lightning storm approaching as we were out in the fields. We missed the buildings portion of the Birkenau tour.
Perhaps I’ll return to the camp museum some day.
MEMORIAL AND MUSEUM AUSCHWITZ-BIRKENAU FORMER GERMAN NAZI CONCENTRATION AND EXTERMINATION CAMP is the official website with extensive informational resources on the history of the camp.