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Forums > Social Discussion > Bizarre in a disturbing kind of way

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Eera
BRONZE Member since May 2003

old hand
Location: In a test pit, Mackay

Total posts: 1107
Posted:I've just come back from Auscwitz.

I was prepared for a pretty harrowing sort of experience, and was surprised, to say the least, to find "Execution-Camp Land"

People were barging each other out of the way to have their photo taken under the "Arbeit Macht Frei" sign.

Whole families posing with big cheesy grins next to the execution wall.

Visitors with Israeli flags tied Superman-style pulling chunks of bark off trees for souvenirs.

Some bizarro competition was being held along the lines of:
"My grandfather died here."
"Two of my grandparents and my mother died here."
"All of mine, plus they had to go on a death march first."
All said in tones of boasting, not as a mutual understanding.

The guides do a wonderful job. They are calm, respectful and though they must have to say the same things every day, still manage to have a convincing tone of sorrow as they reel off the statistics of the place.

1.2 million people were murdered there, and the dignity they deserve is being stripped away by the attitude of the people who visit.


There is a slight possibility that I am not actually right all of the time.

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Dunc
GOLD Member since Aug 2003

Dunc

playing the days away
Location: The Middle lands

Total posts: 7263
Posted:really?! Wow...some folk are just weird.

Let's relight this forum ubblove

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Spanner
BRONZE Member since Feb 2003

Spanner

remembers when it was all fields round here
Location: in the works... somewhere...

Total posts: 2790
Posted:frown

I couldn't even post a reply the first time I read this thread because I was speechless at the disrespect.

I've always intended to visit Auschwitz and other concentration camps, next time I'm in Germany. I passed Bergen-Belsen on my way from Hannover to Hamburg and was again struck dumb, even just seeing the camp from outside.

When I visit, there's no way I'd behave like these people you described. I shudder to think how the rest of the visitors must have felt frown


"I thought you are man, but
you are nice woman.

yay,

:R"

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Doc Lightning
GOLD Member since May 2001

Doc Lightning

HOP Mad Doctor
Location: San Francisco, CA, USA

Total posts: 13920
Posted:I've never been, either. No member of my family ever died there. Although a great-aunt escaped from Treblinka by hiding in a pile of dead bodies. She was four months pregnant at the time.

-Mike )'(
Certified Mad Doctor and HoP High Priest of Nutella

"A buckuht 'n a hooze!" -Valura

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Eera
BRONZE Member since May 2003

old hand
Location: In a test pit, Mackay

Total posts: 1107
Posted:Not wanting to post anything like "A Review of Concentration Camps I have Been To..." but, I've been to 6 now, and the two I remember as being peaceful and presented in a plain, non-hysterical matter-of-fact way were Dachau, just outside Munich, and Lubeck, near Hamburg. Maybe because they are less well known, but not any less disturbing.

Is it simply voyeurism that makes us go to these places? I don't know, but I like to think they are preserved for a reason other than to give tourists an interesting postmark on their cards.


There is a slight possibility that I am not actually right all of the time.

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jooncoi


stranger
Location: bit south of londinium

Total posts: 6
Posted:is it true that birds dont fly over Auscwitz, or is that a urban myth type thing???

your only young once
but you can be immature forever

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Doc Lightning
GOLD Member since May 2001

Doc Lightning

HOP Mad Doctor
Location: San Francisco, CA, USA

Total posts: 13920
Posted:In a time when people are starting to talk about detaining people without any legal proceedings, I think those camps should serve as a very big reminder.

In a time when the Israelis have managed to herd the Palestinians into Ghettos, I think those camps have a strong message to send.

We have a really crappy collective memory as a race. ubbcrying


-Mike )'(
Certified Mad Doctor and HoP High Priest of Nutella

"A buckuht 'n a hooze!" -Valura

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Spanner
BRONZE Member since Feb 2003

Spanner

remembers when it was all fields round here
Location: in the works... somewhere...

Total posts: 2790
Posted:Exactly. I think the camps should be preserved for as long as possible, in a "lest we forget" way. And there are still people alive today whose close relatives were in those camps. Although it upsets many people to visit, I think relatives want to see the places where their loved ones spent their last days, for themselves.

As for birds at Auschwitz, I think most visitors have reported seeing no birds, or even flowers growing, though I've also read accounts which say that there are birds there, but not many at all.


"I thought you are man, but
you are nice woman.

yay,

:R"

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Doc Lightning
GOLD Member since May 2001

Doc Lightning

HOP Mad Doctor
Location: San Francisco, CA, USA

Total posts: 13920
Posted:Somehow, I find it a bit hard to believe that the flowers, birds, or bees could care one iota about the atrocities that men have committed.

-Mike )'(
Certified Mad Doctor and HoP High Priest of Nutella

"A buckuht 'n a hooze!" -Valura

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Pippin
BRONZE Member since May 2004

member
Location: Western Australia

Total posts: 21
Posted:Written by: Spanner

Exactly. I think the camps should be preserved for as long as possible, in a "lest we forget" way. And there are still people alive today whose close relatives were in those camps. Although it upsets many people to visit, I think relatives want to see the places where their loved ones spent their last days, for themselves.

As for birds at Auschwitz, I think most visitors have reported seeing no birds, or even flowers growing, though I've also read accounts which say that there are birds there, but not many at all.



I totally agree that they should be preserved as memorials and perhaps visitors to the site be given a brief course on good manners before they enter the area. Regardless of race, I sometimes think tourists are the most insensitive people when visiting other cultures and bad behaviour is excused as "I didn't know ......"
smile


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Lyra
SILVER Member since Feb 2004

spiny norman
Location: Cincinnati,damn it

Total posts: 314
Posted:people go to consentration camps because we are drawn to the extremes of humanity

if you think that our kiss was all in the lips, come on you got it all wrong man, and if you think that our dance was all in the hips then, oh well, do the twist -The White Stripes

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Faberg
GOLD Member since Aug 2003

veteran
Location: Dublin, Ireland

Total posts: 1459
Posted:i'm gonna be in cambodia by the end of the year and was planning on going to see the killing fields. i've no real morbid fascination with the place but i've read quite a bit on the subject, that's the reason for me wanting to see them.....

My mind not only wanders, it sometimes leaves completely smile

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Psi


boing
Location: Body in Seattle - soul still i...

Total posts: 529
Posted:We went to Auschwitz last summer as well & i had a similar experience with people overdoing the sensationism - maybe not quite as bad as you've seen it tho.
But then i think the experience is so intense & disturbing that people react in all sorts of different ways to cope (even if subconsciously) - some people i think don't really let sink in what has happened there and just treat it as another tourist attraction - sad but thats the way it is..

Mike


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Eera
BRONZE Member since May 2003

old hand
Location: In a test pit, Mackay

Total posts: 1107
Posted:Written by:
is it true that birds dont fly over Auscwitz, or is that a urban myth type thing???



Complete and utter rubbish. Wildlife abounds there as there isn't really interference from people aside from the occasional lawn mowing.


There is a slight possibility that I am not actually right all of the time.

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telic


I don't want a title.


Total posts: 940
Posted:My grandparents were in Auschwitz. I've never been, but my friend, who also had family there, went. When he went, on his bus there was an old man who had actually been there as an inmate. And you know what they did? He and the old man played frisbee out on the grass. They are alive.

E pluribus unum, baby.

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Mags The Jedi
GOLD Member since May 2004

Mags The Jedi

Fool
Location: Cornwall, UK

Total posts: 2020
Posted:I agree that you would expect a little more respect from visitors.

Although I have never visited a concentration camp, nor lost any relatives to one, I can imagine that the horror of what happened there would make me very uncomfortable. Personally, I would become very quiet and try to involve myself in the experience in order to gain from it as a person.

Most people react to the discomfort the way they'd deal with gross embarrassment. They talk a lot, they try to change the subject, they look for light relief. Maybe the people you saw behaving oddly were simply reacting to the awe of the place in the only way they know how.

I loathe tourists.

smile


"I believe the cost of life is Death and we will all pay that in full. Everything else should be a gift. We paid the cover charge of life, we were born."

Bill Hicks, February 1988

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Xopher (aka Mr. Clean)


enthusiast
Location: Hoboken, New Jersey, USA

Total posts: 456
Posted:I haven't been to any. I can't even go to Ground Zero, and there are people I knew in the dust there. I just can't handle that many unquiet spirits at once.



And Mags, the slogan in New York is "If it's called 'Tourist Season,' why can't we shoot them?"

EDITED_BY: Xopher (1086899923)


"If you didn't like something the first time, the cud won't be any good either." --Elsie the Cow, Ruminations

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lorry
BRONZE Member since May 2004

member
Location: cheltenham, gloucestershire

Total posts: 19
Posted:i agree, i think somewhere like that deserves more respect. i think the people who play around would act differently if they knew someone who had died there, or maybe thy do nt understand fully what actually happened. its like fred wests house in gloucestershire near me where he killed all those girls. it has been knowcked down now but loadsa people wanted to see the house. i guess people seem to have a morbid fascination with things like this. murder cases always disturb and sicken me, but for some reason i always find myself wnating to know the details

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vanize
SILVER Member since Aug 2001

vanize

Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: Austin, Texas

Total posts: 3899
Posted:I've been to Auswitz (which is in Poland by the way, near Krakow, not in Germany), and I'd like to point out that my experence there was completely different from Eera's. Everyone was very somber the whole time. The only thing that suprised me is that the place was halfway nice looking (it was a former Polish soldier's barracks) - at least now that there aren't a thousand people crammed into every building. The buildings are of brick and there are cobblestone streets and trees - never mind the barbed wire and guard towers. Birds do fly over it, and they sit in the trees and sing, and squirrels run around, and (as lightning says) all of nature seems to give less than a rats ass as to the human history of the place.



Birkenow (which is the camp they built nearby Auswitz when Auswitz got too full) was more along the lines of what you expect a concentration camp to look like, though only a handfull of the hundreds of buildings remain. the rest of the area is now only a large field that does not have enough visual information to give a visitor any idea what the place was like 60 years ago. The only really horrofying thing at Birkenow now is the faint smell that still lingers in the few wooden structures left. Even thugh it is barely detectable, it makes your stomach turn.



So I don't know if Eera's or my experince is closer to the norm, but fortunately I can say that I've never seen such a scene as Eera has at a concentration camp, and I've been to a few.


-v-

Wiederstand ist Zwecklos!

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spritie
SILVER Member since Sep 2001

spritie

Pooh-Bah
Location: Galveston, TX

Total posts: 2014
Posted:If it helps any, my experience at Auschwitz was the same as Vanize's, and I went there a few years before he did. It was a VERY somber place, but also very interesting to visit. The only thing they can't really convey properly is how crowded it must have been and how deplorable the conditions really were. Berkanow must have been far worse, but like Vanize said, most of it now is just a large field with about 20 or so of the original bunkhouses remaining. You can go through them, see some of the old bunks, and are told how many were crammed into each one, but since everything is empty, it is difficult to get an overall sense of how bad it really was.



I definitely did not see the tourists smiling to get their pic under the "arbeit macht frei" sign. I know because I myself had no problem taking a pic of it without people below. I recall going on a weekend, and the place was certainly full of people, but the ones I encountered did seem respectful.


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Pele
BRONZE Member since Dec 2000

Pele

the henna lady
Location: WNY, USA

Total posts: 6193
Posted:They act the same way at Ground Zero in NYC, only add to it people illegally selling t-shirts with some stupid "I survived Ground Zero" type [censored], and selling little booklets with maps on them too. Busloads of people get out with big ass grins, laughing and joking...

But, it looks like any other construction site until you look at the buildings around it, then, for me it was the most sobering.

And can anyone tell me if the "detainment camps" in the US where all asians were kept during WWII were sent, regardless if they were born in the US or not, are still around?
Years ago I spoke with someone who survived one, though is parents did not (regardless of the many advertisements of human treatment, he said they were treated as if test animals.

I don't think humans tend to forget as much as generational distance breeds apathy. We are truly a creature of self-learned lessons, and if it didn't happen to us or someone we know personally, the impact in our lives tends to be lessoned I feel.

My favorite example of this, and if someone knows his name I would be much appreciative of it, is the Jewish guy who is in his mid-twenties and is a Sociologist. I saw him on a show on PBS, then again on 60 Minutes, where he was actually saying the holocaust never happened. That he believed it was a "mass hysteria" of his people, that it was redderick of the American's to overthrow Hitler, and then communism and that nothing horrible ever happened, that in fact they were camps to protect the Jews rather than hurt them.
I was floored. He claimed his grandmother had been in one and told him "the truth". They showed him at concentration camps touring around and he was explaining how the gas chambers were actually communal showers and such.

I am not even Jewish and I was disgusted by him!

Kindest...
Pele


Pele
Higher, higher burning fire...making music like a choir
"Oooh look! A pub!" -exclaimed after recovering from a stupid fall
"And for the decadence of art, nothing beats a roaring fire." -TMK

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