Originally posted 15/08/2013
The other full day in Krakow we spent out in the countryside. We saw Auschwitz in the morning - both Camp I and Berkenau, and then in the afternoon went to the salt mine.
There were a few rooms we weren't allowed to take photos in. They included a room filled with 2 tons of human hair that was cut from corpses after gassing. 7 tons was harvested in total, most of it sold to the textiles industry.
Another such area were the prison cells inside block 11 (The death block). They included various methods of torture. Suffocation cells. A starvation room. Standing cells (no room to sit down).
Supervisors of the blocks were usually non-jewish prisoners that were there for criminal reasons. They were put in charge because as criminals they had no morals and would rule with an iron fist.
Block 11 was also used to test Cyklon B before they developed the gas chambers to determine the most efficient and effective dosages.
Prisoners were given about 900 calories per day. No where near enough to live off. They were woken at 4am and given two cups of coffee, they would march to a work site, work 11 hours, then march back. In addition they had roll call every day which could run for hours. They didn't get a lot of sleep, maybe 4 or 5 hours if lucky.
Hitler never actually visited a concentration camp and saw the atrocities there. Too much of a coward.
After the chilling morning at Auschwitz we spent the afternoon at the salt mine which was a lot of fun.
This is a salt lake and grotto in the mine. Seven people died here once, their boat overturned in the grotto. They didn't drown though - they died because the lake was so salty and bouyant that they couldnt dive under the edges of the boat and suffocated in the little bubble of air.