By Caitlin Peabody
We left the hotel around 9:30 this morning and boarded a bus for the hour long ride to Auschwitz. Tomasz joined us in the morning and spent the day with us, sharing his knowledge and his insights of the camp. Upon arrival, I was nervous. As I was growing up and I became more and more interested in Holocaust/WWII studies, all I wanted to do was visit Auschwitz. It was finally actually happening and I had no idea what to think. We spent the morning at Auschwitz I, spending time at each of the exhibits. Each of the barracks had a different exhibit in it; we only visited a few because most of them were given to the different states that were affected by the war to place their own sort of museum in them.
While some of the exhibits were about Auschwitz I, the majority of the ones we visited were about Auschwitz II or better known as Birkenau. Although Birkenau is a sub-camp of Auschwitz I, it is completely left alone in regards to turning it into a museum with exhibits. While visiting the exhibits about Birkenau, everything began to hit me hard. We visited one room that displayed the human hair shaved off of the prisoners that was recovered from Birkenau when the camp was liberated. As Tomasz was explaining and just talking about the shear humiliation I became so angry. I couldn’t believe that a human being could do this to another human being. How could they? How was it even possible for someone to have the capacity to violently cut off someone’s hair, their identity? All these things were rushing into my mind.
I am going to end here for the day and talk about my experiences at Birkenau in my post tomorrow.