Today I visited Auschwitz. It was extremely incongruous to see such a place on a sunny summer’s day, and the sheer scale of the events that occurred there are overwhelming. I’m not sure I can easily describe the experience – the data is available for anyone to look up, but seeing where such things happened is a different matter. Even after seeing Auschwitz and Birkenau in person, it’s hard to grasp the extent of what happened there.
Huge mounds of clothing, shoes, and other personal effects from murdered victims make for very sobering viewing, and my mind recoiled in horror at the sheer numbers involved. Particularly tragic were the shoes and clothes of children sent to the gas chambers, and the mounds of hair collected from women after their deaths. Also staggering are the lengths to which the Nazis went to conceal the truth of what they were doing, both from the victims and from the world at large. Auschwitz is as a terrifying monument to just how appalling humans can be to one another.