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Vimes tells it how it is:
Soviet Victory Monument, one statue that looks Russian but I have no idea of its purpose and the standard Eastern Bloc TV Tower.
Definitely recommend it, everything's done in a similar way to the West (there's a cathedral, there's a theatre etc.) but at the same time their take on it is hugely different and interesting.
Will try and make a visit in the next couple of years.
This was the park I was referring to Stalin Park
Last edited by Pothas; 26-04-2010 at 11:59 AM.
Touring the former communist states is something I'd like to do as well. CW Road Trip!
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R.I.P. Fardin & Craig
Auschwitz I, the camp with the famous gate bearing the 'Arbeit Macht Frei' message, horribly, doesn't seem to be that bad when you first get inside. Lots of neat wee brick houses, some greenery and trees - it betrays its history as a Polish army barracks and in a different life might actually have been a pleasant place to stay - walking round you can almost picture it as a holiday camp, which makes it intensely difficult to appreciate the suffering of those who passed through the gates. It's only when you reach Block 11, with its torture cells and concrete execution wall outside, that you start to feel a sense of horror. The piles of shoes and suitcases which are exhibited are intensely harrowing, as is the restored gas chamber and crematorium, but I found that I left Auschwitz I with a sense of "well, that wasn't so bad..."
Auschwitz II Birkenau on the other hand, completely and utterly ****ed with my head. The place is absolutely massive - when you enter along the railway track under the death gate, it seems like literally all you can see is chimneys. The woods where families waited around to die are just a tiny line on the horizon. Those wooden huts that remained standing after the Nazis attempted to destroy the evidence of their crimes before retreating from the advancing Soviets tell the story of the inhumane treatment the prisoners endured if they weren't selected for death immediately upon disembarking. There's an eerie stillness to the site as well, there's no birds or anything, the place seems horribly peaceful.
Even though you get a sense of the horrors that occured there from touring Auschwitz I, it doesn't prepare you for the monument to the horrors of humanity that is Auschwitz II.
That's why I asked the question, to see if anyone else had similar impressions of how the 2 sites differed - a couple of the Australian boys I worked with last year who'd toured Europe said more or less the exact same thing, which I found weird.
Auschwitz II Birkenau:
R.I.P Craigos, you were a champion bloke. One of the best
R.I.P Fardin 'Bob' Qayyumi
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What does 'Arbeit Macht Frei' mean?
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I would really like (well, maybe "like" is the wrong word) to go there. I think it would be interesting as well as a good reminder of the evil done by people who were seen as almost gods by their people. But I suppose the real question is about what context we use it as a tourist destination. I wouldn't like to see people make a profit out of it, and I certainly wouldn't want to see people using it as a fun day out. A respectful museum would be fine to me though.
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Majdanek Concentration Camp
Wish you'd post spoiler tags next time. Now I won't go.
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