Friday, May 20, 2016


by: Shannon Carney

The itinerary for our third day in Poland indicated that this would be the day that we would be visiting Auschwitz and Birkenau museum along with Wadowice, Pope John Paul II’s birthplace. The museum was one of the main things that I remembered being on our itinerary. When our group gathered for breakfast early in the morning there was a strange sense among the group. I think everyone was kind of in the same position as me a jumble of nervousness, uncertainty, and completely unsure of how we were going to react to the death camp. We started off in Auschwitz One, which contained many brick barracks used for housing. This area of the camp contained many different exhibits explaining the history of the Holocaust, the number of lives killed, and many accumulations of different objects from the Jewish people that were brought to Auschwitz, which ranged from shoes to kitchen items to hair. As we went from barrack to barrack our group was able to barely scratch the surface of some of the events that took place there.

After this part of the tour we went to Birkenau, which was 20 times the size of Auschwitz One. We walked through the infamous arch, which so many people came through never to walk out of. There was an incredible feeling that was overwhelming knowing that where we were stepping was there millions of Jewish people also stepped on their way to there deaths via the gas chamber. There were many emotions that were running through me while walking, such as how could humans do this to other humans and how someone or power not have stopped it? Mostly though, I was simply speechless and the vast number of barracks and enormous amount of people that were here during WWII. One aspect that our tour guide, Ana, reiterated was to use Auschwitz and Birkenau as a warning to humanity. After an out of body experience like the one I had, I’m still not sure how to put everything back in and to take this experience from Auschwitz.

1 comment:

Debbie said...

What emotional photos. It makes you suck your breath in. I hope all the students share this blog with their parents. It would even be good to share the link to it on the regular Xavier Facebook page. Undoubtedly everyone will come just a little bit different after this trip.