When going into Sachenhausen in Germany I was told “Auschwitz is the worst one”. That person was not wrong. It is the biggest cemetery in the world – though no graves. Poland was the most religiously tolerant country in Europe, thus it had the highest count of Jews within its borders. This tragically led to it being the perfect target (and camp location) for the Nazis. Poland and ALL of its people (Jewish or not) lost everything. Please don’t take that as exaggeration. People were evacuated, taken to death camps, or killed instantly (estimated to be 6 million). Their houses were torn down (to build more within Auschwitz), and at one point the country “Poland” ceased to exist.
I had learnt more things that were “swept under the rug" in regards to some of the biggest companies in the world today. Some of those include Nestlé, Hugo Boss, Volkswagen, Alliance Insurance, and more. If anyone wants to know more about their support of the Nazi movement, feel free to ask.
Although many other camps in Europe were also used for the murders they deemed necessary, Auschwitz was made specifically for mass genocide and experimentation on women and twins by the infamous Josef Mengele. Again, I won’t detail the horrors within these walls, but instead, I implore everyone to find out – out of respect to those who actually experienced it. And I’ve said this before... but you learn about it in school and you watch the documentaries; but standing within the walls of the suffering... nothing will compare.
I will share one story I didn't know, and am glad to have found out. It brings me one point closer to faith in humanity (even though miniscule). Monks were among the condemned during this time. A monk named Father Maximilian Kolbe – now Saint Maximilian Kolbe, was held as a prisoner. How he became a saint? In 1941 a prisoner escaped from Auschwitz. When that happened the Nazis would pick 10-20 prisoners randomly and sentence them to death by starvation, locking them all in one cell until they all had perished. One man that was chosen started understandably begging for his life, explaining he had a family, and of course wanted to go home. Saint Maximilian overheard this and volunteered to stand in this this man's place. He sacrificed himself to death, for the chance that this man may live to see his family. 2 weeks after being locked in the cell with his fellow prisoners, he was the only one alive (much to the Nazi officers anger) so he was released from the cell and instead poisoned by lethal injection to the heart.
His tribute is within the cell in which he suffered.