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One day in Auschwitz

Discussion in 'Street and Documentary' started by Briar, Sep 21, 2012.

  1. Briar

    Briar SC All-Pro

    Oct 27, 2010
    Scotland
    Karen
    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/briar34/8007236465/" title="Memorial and Museum Auschwitz-Birkenau by Briar34, on Flickr"> 8007236465_eb2251154f_c. "800" height="534" alt="Memorial and Museum Auschwitz-Birkenau"></a>

    My husband wanted to go to Auschwitz while we were staying at Krakow. I wasn't so sure. It sat uncomfortably with me that a place of so much horror and crime against humanity had become one of Poland's biggest tourist attractions. It didn't seem right but not going didn't seem right either. So, with a heavy heart, we went and this is what we saw.

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/briar34/8007241569/" title="Memorial and Museum Auschwitz-Birkenau by Briar34, on Flickr"> 8007241569_fdf8fffeb1_c. "800" height="534" alt="Memorial and Museum Auschwitz-Birkenau"></a>

    This picture is quite deceptive. The crowds of tourists following the tour guides were often jam packed into the rooms and were quickly rushed through to allow those behind us to follow. Too fast for me. I had no real sense of where I was and didn't really comprehend the horrors that had occurred there.

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/briar34/8007238361/" title="Memorial and Museum Auschwitz-Birkenau by Briar34, on Flickr"> 8007238361_7065038613_c. "800" height="534" alt="Memorial and Museum Auschwitz-Birkenau"></a>

    We saw the room full of children's shoes, the suitcases, and saw the photographs on the walls. But it didn't really hit me until we walked into the room containing all the human hair. Then I flipped! Seriously flipped. We were told not to take photographs of the hair but the crowd in front of me ignored the instructions and lifted their cameras and started clicking away. I jumped up waving my hands in front of their cameras and screamed NO at them until they stopped.
     
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  2. Briar

    Briar SC All-Pro

    Oct 27, 2010
    Scotland
    Karen
    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/briar34/8007247644/" title="Memorial and Museum Auschwitz-Birkenau by Briar34, on Flickr"> 8007247644_24b2688d64_c. "800" height="534" alt="Memorial and Museum Auschwitz-Birkenau"></a>

    Lack of respect is what I feared I would see here and in that respect I wasn't disappointed. This picture is where the families were torn apart and where most of the children were sent on their way to the gas chamber.

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/briar34/8007256458/" title="Memorial and Museum Auschwitz-Birkenau by Briar34, on Flickr"> 8007256458_b23406dfc5_c. "800" height="534" alt="Memorial and Museum Auschwitz-Birkenau"></a>
     
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  3. Herman

    Herman The Image Stimulator

    Jul 11, 2010
    The Netherlands
    Herman
    Thanks Karen for sharing your story with us.
     
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  4. Isoterica

    Isoterica SC Hall of Famer

    Dec 6, 2011
    It is important that we don't forget these parts of our history so that we can make sure they don't happen again. I'm sorry that your visit had such an effect on you. Maybe they rush people not only because of the crowds but because of the negative energy there. Maybe it's good you didn't spend longer there. Thanks for having the courage to share.
     
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  5. Briar

    Briar SC All-Pro

    Oct 27, 2010
    Scotland
    Karen
    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/briar34/8007248209/" title="Memorial and Museum Auschwitz-Birkenau by Briar34, on Flickr"> 8007248209_c26669a002_c. "800" height="534" alt="Memorial and Museum Auschwitz-Birkenau"></a>

    Then visitors came in who showed nothing but respect and I felt humbled.

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/briar34/8007266936/" title="Memorial and Museum Auschwitz-Birkenau by Briar34, on Flickr"> 8007266936_ebd51278ea_c. "534" height="800" alt="Memorial and Museum Auschwitz-Birkenau"></a>

    And then my photographic instincts took over and I started documenting their journey around Birkenau.

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/briar34/8007271844/" title="Memorial and Museum Auschwitz-Birkenau by Briar34, on Flickr"> 8007271844_f6ca89a734_c. "800" height="534" alt="Memorial and Museum Auschwitz-Birkenau"></a>
     
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  6. Lili

    Lili SC Hall of Famer

    Oct 17, 2010
    Dallas, TX
    Lili
    Karen I would have lost it too people have no respect
     
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  7. Briar

    Briar SC All-Pro

    Oct 27, 2010
    Scotland
    Karen
    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/briar34/8007273890/" title="Memorial and Museum Auschwitz-Birkenau by Briar34, on Flickr"> 8007273890_d145b64265_c. "800" height="534" alt="Memorial and Museum Auschwitz-Birkenau"></a>

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/briar34/8007299620/" title="Memorial and Museum Auschwitz-Birkenau by Briar34, on Flickr"> 8007299620_0980e19c39_c. "800" height="534" alt="Memorial and Museum Auschwitz-Birkenau"></a>

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/briar34/8007288517/" title="Memorial and Museum Auschwitz-Birkenau by Briar34, on Flickr"> 8007288517_02525060f0_c. "800" height="534" alt="Memorial and Museum Auschwitz-Birkenau"></a>
     
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  8. bartjeej

    bartjeej SC Hall of Famer

    Nov 12, 2010
    bart
    wow, the "fashion shoot" on the train tracks is beyond bizarre... sorry to hear that people are so disrespectful... good on you for telling them to behave! Not sure I would've dared to do it.
     
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  9. krugorg

    krugorg SC All-Pro

    Sep 26, 2011
    Minnesota USA
    Kyle Krug
    Very powerful images, Karen. The storytelling/documentation aspect is so good on this set.. great work!
     
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  10. nianys

    nianys SC Regular

    176
    Sep 10, 2012
    Your photos are absolutely wonderful, and it is incredible how the chronology in them refers to your feelings during the tour. By far the best shots, creative, strong, are at the end, when I suppose you had finally digested being there and felt better about the later, respectful visitors.
    I think it's an interesting and important visit to make in one's life.
    However, I'm a little wary of how that would impact me. I can be overly sensible, especially where family and children are concerned, and I don't think I could live very well after seing this place "in the flesh".
    Thanks to you for sharing both your images and thoughts on that very special experience.
     
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  11. Herman

    Herman The Image Stimulator

    Jul 11, 2010
    The Netherlands
    Herman
    Great b/w shots, thanks for sharing.
     
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  12. Briar

    Briar SC All-Pro

    Oct 27, 2010
    Scotland
    Karen
    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/briar34/8007285373/" title="Memorial and Museum Auschwitz-Birkenau by Briar34, on Flickr"> 8007285373_d7977fc578_c. "800" height="534" alt="Memorial and Museum Auschwitz-Birkenau"></a>

    The thing about life is that it carries on regardless of what has gone on before. While we were in Birkenau, along with the respectful visitors, we came across deer crossing the ruins of the camp. This place, away from the tour groups, was quite peaceful. Odd to say, it was also quite pleasant. Without the museum and the history books/films, you would have no sense of what happened there. That's the frightening thing about Auschwitz-Birkenau.

    <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/briar34/8007283956/" title="Memorial and Museum Auschwitz-Birkenau by Briar34, on Flickr"> 8007283956_85dc623bd2_c. "534" height="800" alt="Memorial and Museum Auschwitz-Birkenau"></a>
     
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  13. Penfan2010

    Penfan2010 SC Top Veteran

    747
    Jul 21, 2012
    NJ, USA
    Ed
    Very moody and moving photos, especially the imposing photo of the main building behind the barbed wire, the train, and the photos of the Orthodox gentlemen (the dim interior photo with the blurred image of the man and the shot of the man beyond the window in particular). It must have been very, very uncomfortable to be in that environment. Thanks for sharing not just your photos but your thoughts and emotions of the experience.
     
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  14. Warren T.

    Warren T. SC Regular

    27
    Apr 8, 2011
    San Francisco
    Thanks for sharing your pictures. I think your pictures are superb and very powerful, and I'm glad that you told your story through your descriptions of the pictures too.

    Regards,

    Warren
     
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  15. snkenai

    snkenai SC All-Pro

    Oct 5, 2010
    kenai, AK
    Stephen Noel
    The old photo B&W treatment, really adds power to the story/memories expressed in the images. Thank you, for exposing yourself, to the emotions of the visit and documentation. How easily we forget! Out of sight, out of mind.
     
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  16. wt21

    wt21 SC Hall of Famer

    Aug 15, 2010
    Outstanding.
     
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  17. Pim

    Pim SC Regular

    157
    Apr 21, 2012
    Eindhoven, The Netherlands
    Pim
    Powerful shots Briar. I never visited Auschwitz, and to be honest I am not sure if I would take my camera if I went. I wonder if it would not be inappropriate to practice our hobby in a place so filled with human tragedy and despair. At the same time I realize it is also because of visits like these that we keep the memory alive so that we may never forget what mankind at its worst is capable of. Your pictures display nothing but the greatest respect and I applaud you for that. These are not holiday pics and as such I think it is important the we share these, so many thanks for posting!
     
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  18. thekeddi

    thekeddi SC Top Veteran

    539
    Aug 15, 2011
    South Australia
    I agree with everyone else, thanks so much for posting these photos for those who have not had the chance to go but need to remember what happened. It was a terrible thing that happened and should never be allowed to happen again. Your photos are amazing and respectful. I too particularly chose the one from inside the window looking out with the man passing. Those poor people and what they went through....................
     
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  19. Petach

    Petach SC All-Pro

    Oct 22, 2011
    UK, Essex
    Peter Tachauer
    Some of these photographs are very subtle, yet so powerful they cause grief and pain for something I have no memory of.....only knowledge of through history lessons and archive footage. Photography is a good thing, it reminds, it educates....it records for posterity. Never be ashamed of taking photographs here if it is for these reasons.
     
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  20. KianO

    KianO SC Top Veteran

    568
    Jun 27, 2012
    Geneva
    Hello Karen and thank you very much for sharing your journey and the pictures that convey to me the feeling of the place. Very powerful pictures and profound account of what the place has been and what it is now. How most of the other people felt is a pitty but what is important is how you felt, how it moved you and compelled you to share with us.

    Exceptional photos and account, it should be widely shared!
     
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