12 May 1980

Oswienczim, the Nazi Lager of Auschwitz

This morning must be the most heart rending day of my life so far, and probably for some time to come. The extermination camp of Auschwitz is now a museum and kept in pristine condition, and yet the atmosphere of death, the sinister smell and the vision of ghosts is there, inescapable for me to feel, if not to see. And the inescapable grotesque irony of the gate sign: "Arbeit macht frei", work makes you free.


Wall of executions

Cloth made with human hair 
Belongings of prisoners




We have lunch at 4:30, we could just not get away from the museum and its sister camp of Birkenau, where more people died than at the more famous Auschwitz.

Afterwards a walk downtown to do a little shopping with Ann, but all stores close at 7 and we can't get much done.

It's been an exhausting day, emotionally if not physically, and the evening is spent in the hotel room, reading and writing this diary.

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