Stark sentry post in Auschwitz concentration camp

by Dave from The Longest Way Home ~ November 26th, 2011. Filed under: Photography.

Sentry post in Auschwitz concentration camp

Sentry post in Auschwitz concentration camp

A sentry post from Auschwitz, so real it could have been from today

Are there fewer places in history that need no introduction? Auschwitz, the Nazi concentration camp during world war 2. A place that hollowed out humanities soul.

Fact’s about Auschwitz:

  • Auschwitz-Birkenau is located in Poland, near the city of Krakow
  • Approximately 1.1 million people died in Auschwitz over a period of 4 and a half years
  • Of the 1.1 million people,  1 million were Jewish men, women and children
  • There were about 7,000 staff at Auschwitz, however only 750 were ever punished. Many went on to managerial roles, including some huge corporations
  •  Auschwitz-Birkenau is the full name of the camp. Auschwitz 1 was the prison camp, while Birkenau was the main extermination camp.
  • Auschwitz was where Josef Mengele performed horrific scientific experiments involving twins and others
  • Many of the atrocities were recorded by prisoners who hid their notes in bottles and metal containers underground. Such accounts were discovered after the war
  • The railway entering Auschwitz was decorated just like a real station, making the prisoners believe they were not headed to their death
  • More people died in Auschwitz than British and American losses during World War Two combined

The story behind this photograph

I’ve always enjoyed learning about the history of World War 2, and as such going to Auschwitz-Birkenau was an inevitability. I wasn’t sure how I would react.

Entry to both camps is free. Though you may take a paid tour if you so wish, I certainly recommend the tour. Many of the tour guides are related to the former prisoners: their tales are chilling.

Indeed that was the feeling I got from Auschwitz:

It was like taking a tour in a part of humanities very dark and evil soul

From rooms filled with human hair to a destroyed gas chamber where countless died. Auschwitz is very well-preserved. The buildings are made of stone and brick.

As you walk around the camp you must follow the gravel strewn paths which still have high rusted barbed wire fences closing you in. It all looks as if it could still be operational today.

Even this sentry post in Auschwitz still had a “Halt” sign visible. Standing there I couldn’t help but feel the cold sensation of nameless people looking on at others and knowing their terrible fate.

Being watched over as you are marched to have all elements of physical life stripped away until finally passing away in the confines of near indescribable misery, fear and hate.

Today Auschwitz-Birkenau stands as a living reminder of what we are capable of doing in our darkest hours.

Sentry post in Auschwitz - Poland

Sentry post in Auschwitz - Poland

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This is an additional photograph feature from my world travel photography gallery, documenting the story behind the picture 

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6 Great responses to Stark sentry post in Auschwitz concentration camp

  1. Cynthia says:

    I visited the camp a few years ago. It really is a place for reflection. As it should be.

  2. prettyzoely says:

    I had the same feeling when I visited Le Mémorial de la Shoah in Paris

    and it’s “just” a museum so that I can imagine your emotion when you say “Today Auschwitz-Birkenau stands as a living reminder of what we are capable of doing in our darkest hours.”

    thanks for sharing


    • Thanks for sharing Le Mémorial de la Shoah in Paris. The photos of people on the wall there send a chill. Such things always bring personality into history, thus making all the more personal and impactful.

  3. I agree Auschwitz is one of those places a tour is essential even if you know the history. Hard to believe such barbaric things happened only 70 years ago.

  4. Jason says:

    Although I was much younger than I am today. I still remember the impact this horrific place had on me, the day I visited. It was a cold and foggy day, and just thinking about walking through the grounds and buildings still sends shivers up my spine.