Trip to Auschwitz 2015 Nicole and Abbie Holocaust Awareness Week 27th of January marks the liberation of the largest Nazi-camp of Auschwitz Birkenau, and we use this week to fully reflect on the events that occurred and to remember not only the 6 million Jews that were murdered throughout the Holocaust, but also the countless others whom were victims of Nazi persecution. What it entails… First you attend a seminar in Newcastle in which you hear about testimony from a survivor and start to think about what the trip will be like- as well as meeting everyone else from the programme. Then you go on the actual trip about 2 weeks after the seminar. Then once you return, you go to a reflection seminar in which you talk about how you found the trip, if it was how you expected it would be and then decide on how to do your ‘next steps’ The trip – Auschwitz one This is a shot from between buildings in the first part of Auschwitz one. It was between the hospital building where Mengele was often situated. Here we saw people laying down flowers and memorial candles as well as messages for the dead who died here. This is known as the ‘wall of death’. The trip – Auschwitz one This is a picture from inside one of the remaining gas chambers which were actually used for the murder of Jews and people from other backgrounds. It was quite incongruous to see a swimming pool at Auschwitz just outside one of the concrete barrack buildings. The trip – Auschwitz Birkenau (Auschwitz two) Here is the train track just in front of the gates of the camp where the people were brought in cattle trucks to their deaths. The sun was starting to set at this point in the trip but this picture of the barracks just shows the extensive size of the camp. The trip – Auschwitz Birkenau (Auschwitz two) An authentic cattle transport cart that was used during the holocaust and had been restored. The iconic front of the camp where the cattle trucks made their last stop. The trip – Auschwitz Birkenau (Auschwitz two) Another image which can’t even truly convey the size of the actual camp, it was as if this road never ended. This one also shows four destroyed gas chambers which would have fit 2,000 people at max capacity during its time in operation. The trip – Auschwitz Birkenau (Auschwitz two) This was the last part of the trip where we saw the underground gas chamber system that was destroyed by the Nazi’s shortly before liberation as they knew they were going to lose the war. The trip – Auschwitz Birkenau (Auschwitz two) We were all given Jewish memorial candles and placed them in front of the remains of these chambers shortly after a service from a Rabbi. The Impact A whole corridor of shoes in glass cases on either side. Baby’s clothes and toys The tangled mess of glasses, approx. hundreds of pairs in this one pile. “ For the dead and the living, we must bear witness Elie Wiesel ” However… There has been a lot in the news recently and on pages such as Facebook with comments about the Syrian refugees and people’s attitudes towards them. So recently there’s been a bit of speculation about the painting of the doors on houses assigned to the refugees, because there are reports that their doors are painted a different colour to the other houses to show a refugee lives there.