Having traveled to one of the locations most associated with the Holocaust, Auschwitz-Birkenau (Oświęcim), I realize that there is simply no picture, nor words, that can fully describe the experience. I spent an afternoon exploring Auschwitz I and II and was just deeply moved by the things that I saw and the stories that I heard – a truly eye opening experience to one of history’s most harrowing chapters.
When I finally decided to post this lomo location, the first thing I wanted to do was ask for your forgiveness, because this world is screwed up enough already to stain the remaining beautiful things that it has. Diana F+ and Lomography are, for me, part of the colourful things in life just like the sun, light, beaches, parties, friendship, beauty, laughter, art – things that I find joy in. So putting together my Diana F+ and Auschwitz was like mixing oil with water.
And this is how it was from the very beginning of my visit to Auschwitz, I felt kind of weird when I picked up my camera and began to shoot in this place. You seek some privacy, then you focus your plastic lens, roll the film, and then remember that just a couple of months ago you were doing the same thing – it’s just that you were in the middle of a crowded, sunny beach like Benidorm.
But I wanted to make my own personal tribute, so here it is.
First, let’s get down to the facts (and lets make it quick): Auschwitz is the German name for the Polish city of Oświęcim. Now how do you get there? Well you have to go first to the beautiful city of Krakow and take an old train that covers the 30 miles between both cities in less than an hour. Once you reach the Oświęcim railway station you can take a nice 30-minute walk to Auschwitz I (the main camp). You will see a creepy railroad by the side: now you know how the camp prisoners were taken to the camp. Once you arrive, get ready: the estimated time for a visit can be as much as 6 hours. No one’s allowed to take pictures inside of the museum-barracks. From Auschwitz I, there are free buses that can take you to Auschwitz II (Birkenau). The tours are actually free although you can also opt to give some donations.
In Auschwitz-Birkenau the visitors are usually divided into two different groups depending on their reactions:
- First Group: you can’t stand it and begin to cry – sooner or later.
- Second Group: you just can’t believe it. You roam around with your mouth wide open as if you’re floating and wondering if you are an extra in the movie, “Schindler’s List”.
- In Auschwitz-Birkenau 90% of the people are dressed in black, 95% remain in absolute silence.
- You can hear birds chirping in Auschwitz-Birkenau; in the spring there’s a nice breeze and you can see frogs hopping around the gas chambers rubble.
-In Auschwitz-Birkenau you can stand or sit in front of hundreds of thousand graves.
-In Auschwitz-Birkenau you call feel the pressure of the horror touch your soul.
You have to go to Auschwitz-Birkenau if you want to fully understand what I mean. There is really no other way to explain it.