As I began planning our Memorial Day long weekend in Poland, I realized that we would be able to visit Auschwitz, the infamous Nazi concentration and death camp, while we were in Krakow. It is located about an hour and a half from the city and many companies offer day trips that include transportation and a guided tour. We decided that it was a priority for our time in Poland.
In college, I took multiple European history courses, including one completely dedicated to the Holocaust. I have visited the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in DC and the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam (both of which I also consider absolute musts if you are in either city). I knew that one day I would go to one of the camps, but honestly nothing could have prepared me for what I felt at Auschwitz.
Under the most impossibly blue skies, on a day so sunny and beautiful that it was painful, we visited the location where over 1 million people were robbed of their lives. Mostly Jews, but not all. Men, women, and children. The immensity of that number is incomprehensible. There were moments that the sadness was so immense, the horror so palpable...but there were also stories of such hope.