Auschwitz & Birkenau *warning 40 pictures*

Discussion in 'The Gallery' started by Sir.Eos, Dec 9, 2010.

  1. Sir.Eos

    Sir.Eos Member

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    Warning: The pictures and stories in this post are disturbing in nature

    I went on a trip down to Krakow to see Auschwitz and Birkenau concentration camps (among other things), and so thought I would put up a few photos on here. I should add that these photos are going to be slightly different to the regular photos of Auschwitz-Birkenau that you see as when I was there it -10 and covered in snow. I had some problems when I was processing these photos as many of the photos had lovely sunset colours but I felt wrong leaving a photo as pretty and colourful considering the subject.

    I'll try and write a caption explaining the photos but it is hard to try and capture the emotion in pictures and words, I would recommend everyone visits to see the most inhuman place ever made by humans.

    #1
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    The infamous main entrance gate to KL Auschwitz I. The sign reads 'Arbeit Macht Frei' which is German for 'Work Makes Free', which was ironic as the inmates were told the only way to leave was through the chimneys of the crematoria. The sign pictured here is actually a replica after the original made by inmates was stolen and broken last year and they are still working out how to put it back together and put it back up.

    #2
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    A view of the inside of the camp KL Auschwitz I block 24 can be seen in the foreground with blocks 14 and 3 fading into the background, they were all inmate barracks, designed to hold 700 prisoners but actually held about 1,200.

    #3
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    Used Zyklon B canisters, these canisters held the deadly Zyklon B gas which was held inside small blue pellets until heated (by the warmth of the hundreds of bodies of the victims) the gas would then expand outwards killing everyone who breathed it in.

    #4
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    Suitcases that used to belong to the victims of the Auschwitz camp complex. The luggage of new arrivals was taken and sorted into large warehouses nicknamed Canada, everything was then recycled and shipped off to Germany to help the war effort.

    #5
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    Shoes of victims, also found in the small Canada warehouses not burnt down by retreating SS at the end. The massive collection of 80,000 shoes they have on display is less that 1% of the shoes that were found in the 1 small warehouse (they SS burnt down 14 much larger ones).

    #6
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    The washroom in Block 11, the prison block of Auschwitz, this is where prisoners were made to undress before being led outside to the courtyard where they preformed executions.

    #7
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    Cell blocks underneath block 11, there are numerous different types of cells, dark cells, starvation cells, standing cells and many regular cells, this basement is also known for the first human testings of Zyklon B.

    #8
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    Warning sign in front of the electrified barbed wire, it says Halt! Stój! which means stop in German and Polish respectively.

    #9
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    The killing wall in the the courtyard next to block 11, excluding the mass executions by gas this is where most executions were handed out at the camp, they also used portable gallows for public executions.

    #10
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    Inside Auschwitz in the foreground you can see block 10, the infamous location of the medical experiements at Auschwitz.

    #11
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    A snow covered barb on the wire around Auschwitz I

    #12
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    In between the fences at Auschwitz

    #13
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    Entrance to the first gas chamber and crematorium at Auschwitz

    #14
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    The first gas chamber at Auschwitz, this a actually a rebuild by the museum the original was converted to a to a air raid bunker.

    #15
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    The crematorium in the next room to the earlier show gas chamber, much smaller scale that those at KL Auschwitz II - Birkenau

    #16
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    The train tracks leading into the Birkenau camp

    #17
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    The guard posts line the electrified and barbed fence as far as the eye can see at the Birkenau camp, this made escape next to impossible with only 144 people managing it out of the over 1 million who entered Auschwitz. For ever escape attempt the SS would round up 10 random people from the barracks where the missing person lived and starve them to death.

    #18
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    One of the most well known buildings at KL Auschwitz II - Birkenau, the main entrance for trains, it was through the gap in this building just below the tower that hundreds of thousands of people entered the Birkenau headed straight for the gas chambers.

    #19
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    The inmate barracks at Auschwitz II - Birkenau, these wooden buildings were originally designed for horses but adapted to house people at the Birkenau camp as they couldn't build brick buildings as fast as new inmates were arriving.

    #20
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    Inside one of the inmate barracks, each bunk would have 4 people on it, between 700 and 1,200 people per building, they were crammed in like animals.

    #30
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    No insulation it was pretty much the same fridged temperature inside as it was outside, living conditions were indescribably horrible.

    #31
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    The bathrooms, with only a few minutes for everyone to use the bathroom in the morning and evening there was no privacy everyone crammed in, or soiled their uniforms.

    #32
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    Everywhere you look there is the wire and guard posts reminding you of the inhumanity of this place.

    #33
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    It's hard to picture this place just 66 years ago, under the constant trampling of hundreds of thousands of lifeless people there would be no snow, just deep disgusting mud everywhere, it would not be so empty just crammed full of people wondering how many days, hours or minutes they had left to live.

    #34
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    One of the carriages designed for livestock that they used to herd the victims of this camp down to the back right next to the entrance to the gas chambers, healthy looking fit young people were separated so they could work, everyone else was sent straight to the gas chambers.

    #35
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    The emptiness here is haunting, everywhere you look there are empty roads, empty buildings, empty guard houses, 66 years ago it would have been full but while physically full emotionally and morally the camp was emptier tahn it is today.

    #36
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    The sun sets on the ruins of the main gas chamber at KL Auschwitz II - Birkenau, one of the most morally repugnant places in earth and nature still shows the immense beauty it has to offer, a disturbing and moving juxtaposition.

    #37
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    The ruins of one of the crematoria at Auschwitz II - Birkenau, at the peak of the camps operation these operated around the clock, in fact when one of the Auschwitz survived a young girl at the time arrived at the camp her train pulled in, in the middle of the night and she thought that it was a very strange place because even though it was the middle of the night someone was roasting meat, that smell would have hung around the camp permanently, in fact if the wind was in the right direction it could be smelt 3 miles away at Auschwitz I.

    #38
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    The remains of the largest gas chamber at Birkenau, directly below the crematorium pictured in #37. The SS tried to destroy all evidence of gas chambers and crematoria to cover up the genocide as the soviets were advancing on the camp.

    #39
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    The memorial on the site of the end of the railway and the main crematoria of KL Auschwitz II - Birkenau

    #40
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    The view towards the destroyed gas chamber.

    Sorry if I have got any facts wrong in my captions, it was hard enough selecting photos to put here and writing the descriptions, every time I see these photos they bring back the emotions I felt standing there so did not want to go browse the internet trying to confirm facts too much, mostly written by memory of the tour.

    Comments etc are welcome but please to keep everything respectful.
     
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2010
  2. maxwolfie

    maxwolfie Member

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    Speechless
     
  3. Oppressa

    Oppressa Member

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    Wow, had goosebumps. Scary and sad stuff :(
    Love the shots though esp 10 & 31
     
  4. Overclocka

    Overclocka Member

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    An amazing set of photographs, beautiful yet disturbing. Still hard to fathom how such events were allowed to occur.
     
  5. _the_duke_

    _the_duke_ (Taking a Break)

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    Hey Dadelaide
    Same, I got that lump in the throat feeling straight away.
     
  6. MatterHorn

    MatterHorn (Taking a Break)

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    Thanks for sharing - I felt you captured the mood of such a horrible place.
     
  7. Squeezer

    Squeezer Member

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    Fantastic set there :thumbup::thumbup:. The Snow really adds to the atmosphere/bleakness.
     
  8. Jon187

    Jon187 Member

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    Reminiscent of my visit to the killing fields in Cambodia.

    You feel totally numb walking through the place but feel it is an important place to see and an important part of our history.

    It's a shame that it was allowed to happen again (in the lat 70's no less).

    Thanks for your efforts - great to be able to share these.

    JT
     
  9. adz

    adz Member

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    Thanks for sharing these images of such a ghastly place...Part of me would like to visit one day just to try and comprehend it all...
     
  10. Deftone2k

    Deftone2k In the Darkroom

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    It is a good set. I chose not to shoot whilst there, is definitely a place you need to feel/witness the site once in your lifetime.
     
  11. Aratama_Bashi

    Aratama_Bashi Member

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    fantastic photography, captured the mood so well. thanks for the descriptions too, putting a bit more context around things.

    my only critique - i clicked and opened some in a new tab, the tab names would be "Auschwitz & Birkenau ...", but the favicon was a smiley >> :D kinda looked misleading! hehehe
     
  12. OP
    OP
    Sir.Eos

    Sir.Eos Member

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    Thanks for the comments guys, my one aim with this set was to try and capture and share the emotions associated with the place. Glad you guys could see some of it, I highly recommend everyone visits Auschwitz at some stage.

    Deftone2k I understand why you didn't take your camera, while sorting through the photos part of me wished I hadn't

    Aratama_Bashi it is a side effect of using Smugmug to host my images, I don't have any control over the favicon
     
  13. ElBeasto

    ElBeasto Member

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    Great set, I found #31 to be very creepy.
     
  14. Deftone2k

    Deftone2k In the Darkroom

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    Yeah I think these things cant be forgotten so it is only a good thing it is sharing an experience everyone should have. Next time I go ill be shooting I think, but will be my own personal journey through the place.

    I just wanted to knock out the jock guys who giggled their way through the whole place, seriously... botards :thumbdn:
     
  15. OP
    OP
    Sir.Eos

    Sir.Eos Member

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    Yeah I had already been to Dachau a few years ago (and didn't take a single photo while I was there) so somewhat knew what I was in for but an extermination camp is so much worse.

    I agree, didn't have anyone like that on my tour but I didn't say a single word when I was in the camp, let alone laughing :thumbdn:.
     
  16. Silvion

    Silvion Member

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    Amazing pictures, well worth looking through and noticing details.

    Cheers for sharing
     
  17. Aratama_Bashi

    Aratama_Bashi Member

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    i wish you were joking, but i know there are fucking idiots like this in the world. i'm holding back from raging on my keyboardasjklrljr-ihiy45kej- nope couldnt manage it. fuckers.
     
  18. Namus

    Namus Member

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    +1 here; don't really know what else to add.

    Will say though that I agree with Deftone; It's important that images of this place are captured particularly for those who haven't or can't go. Imo, it's also another way the memory of those lost won't be forgotten for future generations. Having said that, I can empathise with the mixed emotions about bringing a camera in; but I think you've definitely done the place justice mate :thumbup:
     
  19. Kruzty

    Kruzty Member

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    Thank you so much.
    These are incredible.
    You captured the atmosphere perfectly.

    What a disgrace to our race.
     
  20. HumbleBum

    HumbleBum Member

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    Thanks for posting..

    Confirms that I do need to visit.. I have been to Hiroshima and not taken photos.. I would practice the same here me thinks.. Some things do not need to be taken for the memory to last..

    :thumbup:
     

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