It's nearly 22h on this Monday, December 31st of 2012. We're five people from four different countries sitting around a table in a big open flat in Krakow, planning the night ahead. I wanted to share photographs from the nazi concentration camps at Auschwitz (a germanization of the Polish town name Oświęcim) that I visited today. I was left truly impressed by their size and how well they seem to have been left in their original state after Russian troupes found them in January 1945. Auschwitz II at Birkenau in particular exudes an enormous sense of emptiness, degradation, a dead time kept static lest our fickle brains wish to pave over it. 1,100,000 perished here, many taken straight from the train to the crematoria (pictures 2, 3 and 5 are of C.III). The committed atrocities are beyond perception, only the sense of loss is palpable.
I have ancestors from this region. Some likely perished at Auschwitz and today leaves me more compelled to trace back their story. Keep your memories vivid and live your present, and the years as they pass, intensely.