Posts Tagged ‘Auschwitz-Birkenau’

Decency and journalism

By Kristian Jebsen On display at the ramp at Birkenau are photos documenting the selection process of Jews arriving by train from Hungary. The SS doctor stands in uniform, gesturing to his right, sending an old man with a cane to his death. Perpendicular to the offloading ramp, a long dirt path separates the male […]


Sonderkommandos on the platform

By S. Parker Yesko At several points on our tour of Auschwitz-Birkenau, our guide Pawel Sawicki’s narration turned to the complicated role of the Sonderkommando unit at the camp. The Sonderkommandos were Jewish prisoners handpicked to carry out some of the grisliest tasks of the extermination process. They were the ones sent into the gas […]


The trees of Auschwitz-Birkenau

By Lindsey Anderson   Pine trees smell like freedom. They are cool summer nights roasting marshmallows, slow walks, relaxing afternoons, lounging at a campground. They are family and friendship, new adventures and finding myself in the Great Outdoors. Pine trees smell like freedom, but I see no freedom here. Rusty barbed wire fences outline the […]


Lessons from Auschwitz

By Lex Talamo I could still hear my heartbeat in my head as I descended the uneven concrete steps and left Block 11. Moments before, I had crawled into a torture cell in the bowels of the building. Inside there had been darkness, silence and barely enough room to stand. Outside in the cobbled street […]


The fields of Auschwitz-Birkenau

By Katelyn Verstraten The birds sang the whole time we were at Auschwitz-Birkenau. It may seem a strange thing to remember about the Nazi concentration and extermination camp where more than a million people were murdered, but that’s what I most recall. Bees buzzed over the ruins of gas chambers. Buttercups and daises dotted the […]


From the platform to the birch forest: retracing victims’ steps at Birkenau

By Alyssa Creamer Roughly 40 people stood around a bus outside a hotel in Oświęcim, Poland, many solemn and quiet because they had visited the first of two concentration camps—preserved now as museums—the day before. Squinting in the sunlight, they waited for instructions before departing for the second, Auschwitz II-Birkenau. A small, seemingly offhand comment […]


Reasoning and cruelty

By Kristian Jebsen On the road between Oświęcim and Bielsko-Biala sits an unassuming house with a well-kept backyard. A golden Labrador patrols the premises, barking as people pass. It appears a normal residence, until one gets close enough to see the familiar craned, concrete necks of the old concentration camp fence, marking the edge of […]


Bearing witness through photography

By Lindsey Anderson Disclaimer: This post contains an image that may be disturbing to some viewers.  Gruesome images have existed as long as photography has, but they seem to have pervaded modern life because of social media. On Facebook or YouTube, viewers can find videos of Islamic State militants viciously killing prisoners or photographs of […]