Auschwitz, Birkenau & Wieliczka, Poland
Although I’ve visited all three places in 1995, my memories of each place; the salt mine of Wieliczka, the death camps at Auschwitz, and the crematoriums and railway going into Birkenau are murky. I have very few photos to jog my memory, but still did pretty good with a few details. Solemn and profound, and people from all over the world visit this historic site.
A few comments before I’m able to write more at a later time:
The Nazis were ALL Bastards.
The “retired” salt mine (mid 1960s) was amazing being so far into the earth’s crust (over 800 steeps down), and excavated in the 13th century. The salt mined from there was a cash cow for Poland for 500 + years. The labyrinth of tunnels runs into the hundreds. The tour barely covers 1% of the mine.
The Wieliczka Salt Mine is now an official Polish Historic Monument and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It includes the shafts and labyrinthine passageways, displays of historic salt-mining technology, an underground lake, four chapels and numerous statues carved by miners out of the [rock salt, and more recent sculptures by contemporary artists.
It was a site to revisit and behold. They all were.
All three places were also very busy. Bus loads of people and school children filled every nook and cranny in any direction or building we encountered.
Though busy in mid-May, it felt good that folks are visiting this profound area of Poland where so much history lies. My hope is that some may perhaps make a difference where they live. It certainly cannot hurt.