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Auschwitz and The Holocaust were atrocities that were committed and occurred at the height of Hitler and the Third Reich. It affected millions of people world wide and made an entire country victims and refugees on their own land, as the Polish and Jewish and many others were chased by Hitler, his followers and the “Final Solution.”
Established in 1940 in the suburbs of Oswiecim, a Polish city annexed by the Nazi’s and renamed Konzentrationslager Auschwitz, was set up to house the mass arrests of the Poles which were more than the capacity of the existing prisons. It was set up to originally function as a standard concentration camp and did so during its existence, but the camp, after a while, was divided. The “main camp” later became known as “Auschwitz I” with prisoner numbers averaging 15,000-20,000. This camp mostly resided in the pre-war Polish barracks and its grounds.
The second camp, Birkenau, which held over 90,000 prisoners at its peak, was the largest part of the complex. It was built three kilometres from the original camp when the Nazis evicted the Polish civilians in the houses and demolished them. This is where the majority of the victims were killed as part of Hitler’s plan. The grounds of the two camps (and later a third which had started as a sub-camp inside the complex) were cut off from the outside world by barbed wire fences that were erected around the entire facility.
No one can imagine the extent of which the camp treated its prisoners under Hitler’s rule, as, in this instance, the truth far exceeds reality. But you can now see the size of the grounds and feel the harrowing sense of sorrow in video, taken by the BBC using drones with video cameras attached. You can see the desolation of the buildings and the eeriness of courtyards. For most, it is not easy to watch.
People who have had family members go through Auschwitz or similar camps may find this nearly impossible to watch, despite the camps being liberated from Hitler’s regime seventy years ago. It is not hard for most, who watch the video, to imagine people packed into the buildings, being forced to work on the grounds, or riding the tracks to almost certain death. As this may be the most gruesome video to watch, the BBC drones have also gone through other places, besides the camps.
There are other drone videos, like this one, going through ghost towns like those in Italy and Japan. They go through areas that people cannot go through, like Chernobyl and construction sites, such as the Nuclear power plant in Washington. Youtube is filled with the drone videos.
There are a lot of these drone videos on the internet, all conveying different emotions to the viewers, sometimes awe, sometime sorrow. But the technology with which they are made is something that the people who lived through the subject, in most of these videos, would not fathom as being possible. For the families of the people who had to live under Hitler’s regime who are not able to go pay their respects, it allows them a chance to see what it looked like and what their family had to survive through – if they survived through it. It’s not a pretty picture, but Auschwitz today is preserved by the World Heritage Society, in memory of the blood, sweat, and tears of the people who lived and or lost their lives in these camps, to keep a memory alive.
By Kiara Hartley
Photo By: Flickr