One-way ticket

If you visit Auschwitz-Birkenau, the thing that strikes you is the scale. You start at Auschwitz I, just down the road, where you hear about the various horrors. And then you visit Birkenau, and you realise that most of what you’ve just seen and heard about was really experimentation – they were just getting the small-scale process right so it could be expanded to an industrial scale.

It’s almost impossible to capture this in a photograph. Most of the original buildings were wooden and only their chimneys remain as evidence. Have a look at this close-up of the right hand side to get a feel for the size of just a portion of the site. I’d visited Yad Vashem in Jerusalem before, but this is something completely different.

Here’s the full-size version of the above panorama.

A tour of Auschwitz is not an easy experience. But it’s something everybody should do if they get a chance.

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© Copyright Quentin Stafford-Fraser