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Students' reports about the Polish mobility

16. 11. 15
posted by: giacinta fogli
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On Wednesday 8th June we went to the Auschwitz camp with our teachers and other students from Erasmus. They divided us in different groups based on our languages, then we started the visit with the guide. 
At first I was pretty calm, but ready to see this kind of things. Then when the guide showed us the places where the prisoners used to sleep, eat and work I felt shocked, especially when I saw the personal stuff that they brought with them. 
I was shocked because I already knew about this place and what the SS did to prisoners, but when I saw it with my eyes it was completely different! 
I really understood what happened in that time and how lucky we are now with human rights. 



On Wednesday 8 June we visited Auschwitz and Birkenau , the two camps dating back to World War II, near Krakow. I think it was a useful day , because in the books you cannot imagine the immensity of these places and the effects they can have on us. Everything at large elicits mixed emotions , the anger at those who committed these injustices , the pity for the victims . In spite of that I think it's useful to see all this, to empathize and understand that it's all true, and so remember for not repeating these things. After the visit to the camp, I felt sad and puzzled because to see how far can get the cruelty made ​​me think. The thing that impressed me the most were the absurd conditions in which were the victims, who were lifted any rights and dignity.

I remember everything about the visit because everything has shocked me. Other people seemed quite shocked. I think these places should continue to exist and be open to visitors to remember everything that has happened, trying not to make it happen any more.


My first Erasmus: it was a beautiful week where I lived some beautiful new experiences and met new people. Everyday was full of new things to do and new challenges to face. Some challenges we faced were mainly emotional like the visit to the concentration camps of Auschwitz and Birkenau. Each of us had to have the strength to face and see the demonstration of all the cruel and inhuman happenings that everyday happened in those camps, no one can really understand what it is like to live in those camps but, visiting them, everyone can feel the pain and all the tears that were dropped in those places. 


During the visit to Auschwitz I felt shocked because I had always seen the camp on TV but when I was there it was different. I tried to imagine the people that were deported there, their tasks, all the SS soldiers, their life, etc... Some things, like the experiments of the nazi gynecologists and the gas chamber had a bigger effect on me than other things. In my opinion the visit was very interesting because places like Auschwitz have to be kept to teach and show us to what extent can arrive the cruelty of some humans and to prevent us from repeating similar facts.


On our Humrev project trip to Oswiecim we visited the concentration camps of Birkenau and Auschwitz. When I went in I felt prepared to what I would see, but I wasn’t. We saw personal objects of the people who were in the camps, glasses, clothes and hair too. It was traumatizing and it made me very anxious. The expressions of the other people who were with me started changing when we saw those things ,and I know that my face did too. When the visit finished I felt relieved because I knew that everybody can and has to learn from the things that happened in the past, but after that I feel more sensitive and respectful.


The visit to Auschwitz was an experience that I don’t think I’ll be able to forget anytime soon. I’m not going to lie though, once we got there, I knew I was supposed to feel something, but I wasn’t feeling much. Then we entered the first no-photos room, and I saw the Jews’ hair. Confronting myself with the physical manifestation of those atrocities simply shocked me; such feeling didn’t last long though, as for almost the whole visit, my mind was dominated by anger. They weren’t just killed, but humiliated, tortured, and what remained of them was used by the Nazis to make money (for example, they would use hair to make clothing).

In conclusion, I’ll never more look at the holocaust in the same way, and I’m thankful that I saw what it actually was like then. It’s important that we don’t forget these acts of sheer cruelty, otherwise not only will newer generations look at them as simple things of the past, but we’ll probably end up repeating them.

Human Rights in a European Community of Values