Monthly Archives: October 2012

Skydive from the edge of space

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So last week, like millions around the world, I was watching Felix, an Austrian skydiver, jump from a small rocket thing at the edge of space to earth at 834 miles an hour.. It was mad but yet intriguing!!!

As I was watching Felix jump from space and see him achieve such an incredible feat, it made me realise why I love travelling so much..

The unpredictable experiences..

This space mission was planned meticulously and yet there were still some mishaps (as expected though, nothing in life is perfect)… the feeling of overcoming them and achieving that unique dream that may have been deemed impossible.. That’s amazing!

Sure travelling is not as extreme a feat but it still gives me the excitement, uncertainty, fear, worry and adrenaline rush that Felix, unless he’s a robot must have experienced.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HEYNYWO4y2k

(Above is the video of the stratosphere jump)

I know most of you lot will think I’m chatting poo and may not understand but watching this space mission has truly inspired me to keep on chasing those experiences that will give me long-lasting memories and in the short term, keep on saving and temporarily suffer so I can achieve my dreams of going SE Asia.

So.. Felix Baumgartner – well done

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Auswisch camps

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I refuse to neglect this blog!

It’s been a hectic few weeks due to my move back to uni, getting acquainted with my surroundings, new place and new job that I’ve barely had time for anything! I have been meaning to report about my trip to the Auswisch camps for a while but I honestly cannot find the words to convey what I saw, how I felt etc (I’m not exactly a budding journalist… My English is so bad that people question if its actually my mother language)

So..! I’m just going to paste some pictures I took in here and insert commentary where necessary

Anyhoo, over 2 weeks ago, I had the opportuniity to visit the Auswisch concentration camps museum in Poland.  We Took a local tour from Wroclaw which took about an hour and a half drive to get there. The concentration and extermination camps was built and operated by the Third Reich in Polish areas annexed by Nazi Germany during World War II. It was the largest of the German concentration camps, consisting of Auschwitz I (the Stammlager or base camp); Auschwitz II–Birkenau (the Vernichtungslager or extermination camp); Auschwitz III–Monowitz, also known as Buna–Monowitz (a labor camp); and 45 satellite camps. The Nazi’s were estimated to have killed around 1.3 million people between 1940 to 1945 with 90% being jewish. (Some of the information was copied from Wiki 🙂 ). It is an extremely popular attraction so expect large crowds and I would also suggest bringing your own headphones.. trust me the headphones they provided for the tour was not sufficient.

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Large crowds gather for the tour

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This is not the original sign as it was stolen

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The train tracks where the poor prisoners would arrive

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Image ImageImageImageImage                                                                           The Barbed wires were electrified to stop the prisoners from escaping

Image                                                                           Building were administration duties were done by the Nazis

ImageImageImageImageImage                                             The above two pictures showed where the orchestra stood.. They were also there for propaganda purposes.

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One of the many baracks were prisoners of up to 1000 would stay in the first auswiscch camp. Men and women were put in two opposing sides separated by                                                                                                                              a giant wall.ImageImageImageImageImageImageImage

Above showed the many cities that Jews were taken from. They were told that they will be relocated so most brought their valuables. Some even paid for the train to the camps which is atrocious. They basically paid to die. The conditions on the trains were awful as well.ImageImage                                                                                           This is an array of ashes found after the liberations which was put in an urn to serve as a memorial.

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After the prisoners arrived, they were seperated into two groups by an SS guard and doctor simply by appearance. Men who looked healthy to one side – the rest that would be deemed no use to the other side (women, children, babies, the handicapped, elderly etc). These were sent straight to the gas chambers.ImageImageImageImageImageImageImage

This picture shows the separationImageImageImageImageImageImageImage

That empty cans of the gas (Cyclone B) used to kill.ImageImage

After they died, anything that were deemed usful was taken off them including their hair which was shaven off, gold tooth extracted, jewellery taken etc.ImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImage

Belongings of the prisoners.ImageImageImageBaby clothes

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Thousands of shoesImageImageImageImageImageImageImage

Uniform worn by the prisonersImageImageImage

After the camp was liberated, the condition the prisoners were in.ImageImage

The daily meal of the prisoners. Half a cup of tea or coffee for breakfast, Soup with rotten vegetables for dinner and a block of yucky bread for supper. This was all they had to sustin them during 12 hours  of hard work with no breaksImageImageImageImageImageImageImage ImageImageImageImageImageImageImage

Inside one of the gas chambers.. this freaked me out!!Image

At the Auswich Birkanau camp – it was an ironically beautiful place.
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One of the carriages the prisoners would arrive in. They would fit 70-80 people in there with their luggages.
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One of the four gas chambers built in the camp. The Nazis bombed them when  they realised they going to get found out.

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A memorial was built a few years after its liberation in commiseration of the dead.

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21 of these plagues were made in 21 different languages to symbolise the languages spoken by the prisoners.ImageImage

The other bombed gas chamber.ImageImage

Whenever ashes were found, 4 plagues are put up in commiseration.ImageImage

One of the many buildings the surviving prisoners were kept.ImageImage

Means “BE QUIET!”

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6 people were kept in each of this shelves. They are simply wooden – no comfort to them whatsoever. It can be up to -25 degrees in Poland during the winter so imagine what they went through. There were rats as well

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A stove that was only there for propaganda purposes.. it was rarely on.ImageImage

Prisoners toilets. Many of them suffered from starvation diarrhoea so imagine the state it would have been in. All were required to clean up after themselves and carry their own defecations when they were done (YUCK YUCK YUCK!!!!). they were rarely allowed showers either. Toilet break was twice a day, morning and night. They had to walk naked in all weather conditions to the toilets. Guards did not go in so some used this to exchange information.

The wash basins next  to the toilets.  There was no clean running water… just dirty diseased water already in the basin that prisoners used to wash their hands. Terrible.

I can definitely say it was a harrowing but interesting and informative experience.. I mean what those prisoners went through was unimaginable- the tour guide we got contributed positively to the experience as she explained concisely with the right degree of apathy the horrors that occurred there.. It reluctantly opened my eyes to the dark side of humanity I blissfully try and ignore.. I would definitely recommend the trip to the museum but don’t expect a “fun” day out.

Have you been to the Auswisch camps before? How did you feel whilst you were there? Would you recommend it to anybody?