The ruins of Birkenau are chilling, sobering reminders of the huge scope of Auschwitz. Visitors to Auschwitz 1 will be completely moved by the diversity of exhibitions and the haunting blocks, but to truly feel the horror of this former institution, one must walk the vastness of Birkenau. Today I met again with Teresa Wontor-Cichy, who guided me through the second facet of my personal tour of the Auschwitz site. In my post from March 26, I had mused about the role of interpretation; the human element in communicating history. Well, this tour of Birkenau was a clear exercise in allowing the site to speak for itself. Mrs. Wontor-Cichy’s expertise was unquestionable as before, but her interpretations, when coupled with the seemingly endless rows of barracks ruins, and the vastness of the place, and the sobering ruins of the crematoria, produce an unforgettable experience.
I need to rest now.