Unhappiest Place On Earth

When Disneyland claimed to be the Happiest place on earth, i guess Nazi concentration camp can be titled as vice-versa. If you know Dementor (one of Harry Potter’s creature), the spirit who can take away all the happiness away, it feels like a troop of Dementor is already standing in very front of parking area and sucking all my happiness away.

The gloomy weather on that day, added the sadness. I cant even smile at all. I guess even the joker will be left silent when they enter this place that has been turned to holocaust museum.

I am sure everyone knows about the despicable history of Hitler and the Nazi party that he put up. My first thought when i reached this enormous camp is, How can someone convince almost a whole European to kill a tribe that did no wrong? That one person’s hatred can cause so much of terrifying nightmare..

Nazi Concentration camp has three places, Auschwitz I, II and III, that located not far from each other. This camp is enormously huge that it can be a town of its own.

Auschwitz I  (The Main Camp)

Previously was a Polish prison that turned up to be the first and oldest camp in 1940. It was then expanded according to the needs of the camp. Below is the picture of the front lawn, before we entered the camp.

Before we enter this camp, there are quite a tight security check that for our bags, and big backpacks are not allowed to be in. They have a place for you to store your things at the main entrance. I will suggest you to bring smaller bags, since i heard this place always crowded with tourist from all over the world, so it will make you wait a little longer as well to store your things.

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The main gate with ‘Arbeit Macht Freit’ signage, that means ‘Work will set you Free’. What the Jews know, they were sent here to ‘work’. They did not know that they are entering a man-made Hell.

An eerie feeling creeped in when i entered the barrack complex. And the hugeness of this place, make it doesnt look crowded anymore like i saw in the entrance. They have so many barracks here for the inmates, the security barracks, the store rooms, Dr Mengale ‘research rooms’, the gas chambers and the crematories.

Hitler and Dr Mengele already briefed their team to kill those who were unfit for work like the elderly, the sick, women and children to the gas chamber. And the men, twins and others were for work and for Dr Mengele crazy experiments.

We can explore most of the barracks that now turned into photography exhibitions and other exhibition such as the Nazi’s documents and things that were brought by the Jews when they came to the camp. But there are some areas that we cant capture, for example, the place where they store all the Jewish hair that was meant to be sold to make sweaters or blanket.

When i was observing and thinking how cruel the German was in that ‘hair exhibition’, my group was just taking a look and gone just like that, and suddenly i found myself alone in that exhibition. I was quite panicked, since i dont wanna be left alone in that barrack, and ran to find them. And for a while, i was lost in the middle of the barrack complex. Luckily i saw my brother from a far who was busy taking picture on the other alley, and got back together with my tour group. ~Fiuhh~

I can imagine how scared and confused for them who tried to escape from this hell. Even now at the daylight, it is difficult to find the way out. Every alley looks similar with all the big trees planted beside the barracks.

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The three pictures above was the gas that was used to kill the Jews in the gas chamber, The Gas Chamber, and the Crematories.

The Jews were told to put off their clothes and get some shower, they did not know that it will be the last ‘shower’ in their life. Instead of water that supposed to come out, it was the poisonous gas of Zyklon B (that was used as fertilizer and insect killers).

One of the SS (Nazi guards) said that he can heard loud screaming from the gas chamber when the gas was released. They were fighting to live as well. But too bad, no one survived the deadly chemical that made them suffocated. After they died, the guards will bald them, and cremate them immediately. About 1,1 million of Jews were died in this camp.

Auschwitz II – Birkenau 

About 3 km from Auschwitz, there were one Polish village. Since Auschwitz I cannot take more prisoners, the Germans expelled the villagers and demolished their houses to build another concentration camp that is bigger than Auschwitz I. The largest installation of mass murder that was built in 1941.

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Above picture is the mass toilet that was used during time. Our guide said that actually this was the safest place back then. Since the place was so filthy, the Germans seldom went in to check how they were doing. Normally the Jews will exchange informations here, and the one who was assigned here was considered lucky because they can keep themselves warm instead of working outside.

Some of them tried to escape to the forrest behind (as you can see from below picture), but no one know if they managed to ran away.

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This camp is about 1.5 hours of bus trip from Krakow City, Poland. I was on a tour from Jakarta, Indonesia. I researched that you can take train to Auschwitz as well, but you have to take another public transport, since Auschwitz train station is located 2 km away from the camp. I saw a bus station in front of the parking lot when we about to reach the camp, so probably taking a public bus would be a better choice.

If you decided to go on your own, there’s shuttle bus to go from Auschwitz I to Birkenau, but public buses only available outside Auschwitz I, so do take note the timing.

The entrance to this museum is free, but if you need guided tour, you can see this link for more informations. There are many day tour to this place as well when you reached Krakow City, if you dont want the hassle.

They do sell some food in Auschwitz I, so do not worry if you get a little hungry after hours of visiting. But do take note that they only receive ZL (Polish Zloty). So make sure you changed your currency before going to Poland. Else it will be difficult for you to buy things and use the toilet.

And for those of you who love to read, they are one bookstore outside Auschwitz II – Birkenau that sells everything about the camp. And it is available in many translations. I think i can spend an hour to just browse through the bookstore. Finally i decided to bring home this book, and finished this in 2 days time. Such a moving story.

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 ~ The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing ~ Edmund Burke

All pictures (mostly unedited) and video are taken by Sony RX1oo iii.

Israel Trip : The Wall & Day 4

Before i continue to our 4th day.

i want to share this first with you

we went here on our 3rd day. when we about going back to the hotel. 

if you think that it’s just a normal graffiti done by the youngsters there, like we have it in Somerset (scape park), Singapore.

too bad, it is not. 

it’s Palestine-Israel border wall.

 

it was made by the Israeli to separate them from Palestine. 

a kind of an action that they made to protect themselves from the Palestinians.

we always thought that Palestine are full with unfriendly people, like what many media portrayed.

but when we were there, they are actually not that bad..

well.. while we took some pictures here. some people did scream at us in a language that we dont understand.. 

maybe they think it’s an offense by taking our ‘touristy’ pictures there. 

but we already asked our tour guide.

and apparently he said okay. so. why not? haha

we want it simply because we found it interesting and historical in one way or another. haha.

 

i thought it’s just a normal border wall. like to let people know that they are entering Palestine.

like we enter Johor, Malaysia from Singapore.

and i just knew it means more than that. 

we got a chance to chat with a Palestinian.

started with a light conversation that was made by our friend, Raimond.

 

‘do you play basketball?’

‘yes, how do you know?’

..

and the conversation went deeper. 

we asked him some questions about Palestine and all. 

and to my surprise, he was willing to share.

he said it’s like living in a little prisoner there. they are not allowed to enter Israel whenever they want. 

they need visa to go to Israel. 

and its not easy to get the visa. *he showed us his visa and ID too, maybe we have this disbelief face, until he  showed us his.*

 

like if you applied it today. there’s no guarantee that they will grant you in 2 weeks time. or 1 month time. etc etc. *where we as a normal tourist, we need to apply visa 6 weeks before arrival.. some timeline they gave us. so at least we know what to expect*

and the duration of the visa is up them also. they c to an give you 3 moths of stay, maybe less or more. it’s really up to them. 

we also asked, then why you dont go for another country.

and he said. they just cant. it’s very difficult to get the visa as well, and cost a bomb to them too. 

because the salary there is not much, and the government cant do anything about it.

so sad to hear this kind of story. hopefully things will get easier for all of them. 

 

On a lighter note.

we proceed to..

 

Day 4

The Upper Room – known as the room of Last Supper.

forgot to take how the whole room looks like.. =(

the room is quite small. maybe like a 3 bedded apartment in Singapore but without any partitions. hehe.

the room is a very simple room with a little bit of decoration.

apparently this room is symbolic. not a really exact place where God pours down the Holy Spirit to the 120 people (Acts 2)

 

but this place leaves a special place in my heart.

i can feel the presence of God soo strong there eventho its symbolic. (sorry if i sound weird for those of you who are not Christian. hehe.. but that’s truly what i felt)

we prayed there as well for us, our future and our TLG *our youth* congregations too.. hehe..  

and when we prayed there, it felts so nice.. like i dont want stop praying and praising God. it feels like.. home.. 

then it comes to my thinking. why the presence of God is so strong there eventho it’s only a symbolic place?

and ive got the answer.

it’s about expectations. 

it’s about our way of thinking.

before i left for Israel, i have a yearning to pray in the upper room (well. since we didnt go there with pastor, we wont have any sessions unless we pray there by ourselves)

 

i have expectations that it will be a very great praying session..

i want God to do something with me like what He did to the 120 people there. 

i have this mindset that God is there.. 

and i think that is why i felt the atmosphere is different there..

God gave it when you are expecting things from Him. hehe.. 

our first group photo after upper room

– the king David with his harp –

 

Ein Karem – birthplace of John the Baptist

you can found this ‘decorated hole’ in every church that is believed to be someone’s important birth place.

in this case is John the baptized. 

so you can touch that and pray in the altar as well.

 

 

and somewhere there we found PAULANER! hahaha.. 

i dont expect to see this cafe/bar somewhere near a church. 

and somemore it’s in Israel. haha..

guess they know how to indulge themselves too. muahahha. 

and a little nice cafe beside paulaner.

ahhh.. how i wanted to just sit there and relax and sheltered myself from the hot hot sunn.. *fiuhhh*

Yad Vashem – the Holocaust Museum

 view at the back of Holocaust Museum

It’s world largest Holocaust Museum. it’s a nice museum i may say, in terms of building and how they set the place. and yet a very sentimental place too. 

they displayed everything that can display there.

like the history of Hitler, belongings of the victims, videos of people who survived the Holocaust, who saved them, and what countries they fled to. etc etc.

i still cant comprehend why this Hitler guy hated Jews so much.. 

and im still in ‘awe’ on how he can managed to take over other Europe countries at that point of time, and tell the government to kill all the Jews there.. 

many stories there that is very heartbreaking.

like there’s a story from a woman who once lived in Holland, if im not mistaken, she comes from a Jews family. and when the Nazis want to take their family, her mother quickly hide her in a cupboard and only said to her ‘go to aunt … house’. and that’s it. that’s the last word that she heard from her mother. =(

and the Nazis have million ways to eliminate the Jews as well.

with the concentration camp, killing the mentally ill with some gasses in the back of an old truck.

Stuffing them on the train with less air and without food given, and let the train runs for 10 days. 

and tell them to dig their own graves and shot them after that.. 

hoahh.. what a frustrating facts. 

after this we went to..

 

Pool of Bethesda

a pool whereby the sick can get healed if he/she stepped in to the pool when the angel troubled the water. 

(John 5)

 they said the real Bethesda Pool is deep down there.. 

but they left a pretty ruins i may say.. hehe..  

and our last stop for the day is

 

Via Dolorosa (the way of Jesus’ suffering)

all of us know that Jesus need to take the cross and walk in a very hot, long and winding road before they crucified them..

and to my surprise as well. the christian and the catholic have a different believe on this via dolorosa thing.

the christian believe that Jesus has walked this way, lets say the right path.. 

but the catholic said that Jesus walked to the left. 

and both of them build a church there. hauhaua..

well.. *mau2 mereka dehh* 

and today we just walked the via dolorosa. so we dont go the catholic / christian churches yet.

and another surprise.

it is now a very bigg market.. *like Grand Bazaar in Turkey maybe* haha

*jadi kurang begitu ada kesan sentimental.nya disini. hehehe*

the Damascus gate, if im not mistaken. hahaha.

the old one is below there..

and the new one is up here.. hehe.

that’s all for my 4th day. 

hope you enjoyed the read. =)