Our main reason for going specifically to Krakow in Poland was to visit the Auschwitz camps. How could we not? For me personally, to bypass such a visit was akin to ignoring the horrors of what happened. We just didn’t realize just how much happened there.
As we walked through the former Jewish ghetto, I suddenly realized that I was walking in the exact spot where about 15,000 Polish Jews were forced to relocate and live in cramped quarters, and where they were eventually massacred or herded onto trains bound for the nearby concentration or death camps.
The next day, we took a day trip to Auschwitz I and Auschwitz II-Birkenau. In the minibus, we watched a sobering documentary of Alexander Vorontsov, a Soviet photographer who was assigned to document the liberation of Auschwitz and his experiences there. Once at Auschwitz, we were introduced to our guide, a very knowledgeable Polish woman who told us to keep in mind that we were about to pass through a mass graveyard.