Scenes from Auschwitz: Amid pastoral beauty, the horror is preserved

(Editor’s note: This is the fifth blog entry by Louisville teachers Fred Whittaker and Ron Skillern from their tour of Holocaust sites in Poland with a group of students and instructors from Classrooms Without Borders (CWB). This post, which is from day 7 of the seminar, covers CWB’s  visit to Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp, the largest of its kind established by the Nazi regime for achieving the Final Solution. A virtual factory for human destruction, victims were worked or gassed to death. They were subjected to inhumane science experiments.Their bodies were incinerated; their belongings harvested. The day of CWB’s visit was a beautiful one, lending a stark irony to the Holocaust experience.)

Flowers bloom in a meadow near the infamous entrance to Auschwitz.

Another view of the entrance


Fred Whittaker shooting photos of the entrance as the sun beats down on visitors to the camp.


Barb wire fencing at Auschwitz I, the original part of the camp. It served as a Polish military barracks before the war


The perimeter to Auschwitz II, also known as Birkenau, where most prisoners were held.


The crematoria at Auschwitz I are still in existence.

The crematoria and gas chambers at Birkenau were destroyed at the close of the war.

The Auschwitz Museum at Camp I exhibits staggering piles of brushes, pots and pans, eye glasses, suitcases — anything taken from the victims — plus a empty cans of Zyklon B, the gas used to kill them






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