Well today was our last day in the beautiful country in Poland and it will probably go down as the most powerful day of the trip. I am going to save the more powerful part of the day for last because it will be the most meaningful part of the day so I would like to end the blog with that part. So the second part of our day we spent in the tourist city of Krakow, there we did a bunch of souvenir shopping and had our last meal in Poland. In Krakow there was tons of people everywhere and there was plenty of neat things to buy, it was definitely worth the drive to go there. So that was the second part of our day
In the morning for the first part of our day the bus picked us up around 8 AM to take the hour or so drive to Auschwitz. All of us were ready for the powerful and meaningful tour of Auschwitz, when we got of the bus we took a short walk and met at the front with the group from Texas and that is where we met our amazing tour guide. We started off the tour at the first Auschwitz camp which is called Auschwitz 1, this place was previously a place for Polish soldiers before the Nazis took over, so all the buildings were already built. The first prisoners at this camp were 728 Polish people. At this place we went through numerous buildings looking at several different things like the living conditions and all sorts of other stuff that was extremely sad to see like peoples' luggage bags, shoes, kitchen items, and hair. It is crazy how all these people were psyched out into thinking they would all be totally okay and that was all part of the Nazi's master plan. All the prisoners were told to pack personal belongings in a suitcase thinking they would be able to keep them but little did they know it would be taken from them and sent to warehouses nicknamed "Canada." In Auschwitz 1 we also got to see the 1st and only still standing gas chamber and furnace room, all the other ones were destroyed. It was a very powerful moment to be standing in the same room that many had stood in before and it is something we will never forget. After our tour we went to Auschwitz 2- Birkenau, this is a much bigger site than Auschwitz 1. Here is also where the train would let off and all the prisoners would get off and go through the selection process where people would either be sent to be killed or sent into the camp. We took a walk down a pathway that prisoners that were sent to the gas chambers would walk down, at the end of the walk they would end up near the chambers where they were told to take their clothes off and be put in a room to take a "shower." All four of the gas chambers at Birkenau were destroyed and it is all just rubble now, but to think they built these gas chambers solely because the first one was not big enough of efficient enough is crazy to think about. I will end the talking of the Auschwitz tour at that so you can ponder and think about that for a while, because it is truly a horrific thing.
So our trip in Poland is over and now all we are doing is packing and getting ready for our bus to pick us up at 2 AM to take us to the airport. This trip has been truly amazing and I am extremely glad I got to be a part of it. Thank you to our wonderful leader Ben and all the host families here in Poland, your hospitality is truly one of a kind and you will never be forgotten. Also thank you to our adults on the trip: Jenna, Jake, and of course Jim. Thank you to the congregation and our families for the support and prayers. We will see you all soon.
- Allen Middlebrook