In Block 5 were exhibited the ‘evidence of crimes’: belongings brought by victims to Auschwitz, confiscated by the SS and found after liberation. Separate rooms containing shoes, artificial limbs and crutches, eyeglasses, prayer shawls, shaving kits, household cooking items, baby clothes, and other items which had been packed in the labeled suitcases they packed. These provided physical evidence of the existence of so many victims as well as some insight into what they might have thought was their destination. A large room with a wall-to-wall display case of more than 4,000 pounds of human hair was especially moving. The hair was sold to textile manufacturers for production of army uniforms or gloves and socks for railroad workers.
Our last stop in Auschwitz I was the crematorium of the camp. There we saw the home of the camp commandant Rudolf Hoss and the gallows where he was hanged for his war crimes in 1947. The gallows was used once --- for his execution. We then walked through the crematorium which was used to cremate the bodies of people who had perished in the camp.
Our last stop was the Auschwitz Jewish Center which has a museum, synagogue and education center and presents Jewish life in the town of Oswiecim before and after the Holocaust. Before heading back to the hotel, we also enjoyed some hot chocolate and coffee to warm up from the day in their adjoining Café Bergson, which is located in the home of the last surviving Jew in the town, a Mr. Kluger, who died a few years ago.
After visiting all the camps today, it really made a huge effect on me. The items of those who lost their lives were stored to be looked at and photographed. Several feet of hair of the women whose lives were taken were put on display too. The most interesting part of today was the story we were told where the mother pushes away the son continuously while he chases after her, but only later does he realize she was pushing him away to save his life.
Today's visit was to Auschwitz was emotionally. Mr. Barmore told us stories of personal testimonies of those who went through the transportation. Hearing the stories made me feel fully connected. Having younger siblings I'm very protective of them and to hear how many children were killed was painful to hear. Today was an emotional visit.