Friday, June 5, 2015

Graffiti Park in Austin Texas

A few weeks back I had the privilege of taking (with the help of a great co-worker/friend) our school's UIL Accounting team to the State UIL meet in Austin, Texas.  This is a pretty big deal.  Out of all the schools of our size in Texas only the top 5 teams make it to the State meet to compete.  While they didn't medal, they still placed fairly high.  I have a feeling that next year they will do even better!

It was a little bit of a wild ride getting there.  As we got closer to Austin we ran into a horrible, strong thunderstorm that including possible tornadoes and flooding.  We had to pull over and stop at a sporting goods store to wait it out.  We waited for over TWO hours!  It finally cleared and we made it to the hotel with clear skies from then on out for the rest of the trip.

Since it was an overnight trip we had some extra time to explore some points in Austin.  One place that we went to I had never been to before.  It is called Graffiti Park (officially called HOPE Outdoor Gallery).

The park is multi-leveled. It is a place for artist and wannabe artist.  As you can see, some are better than others!  It is always changing and evolving as people cover other people's work.  The photo you see here, will not be the same view you see if you get the chance to go.

If you have trouble climbing, and I don't mean stairs, I mean climbing with a good good chance of falling, then this park is best seen from this view only.  (I was so sore for days later after one climb up and one climb down!)  ((I don't know what that really says....but let's move on!!))



Grafitti Park Austin TX


I would like to share a few of the more interesting works of graffiti I saw.  (Some of these can hardly be classified as graffiti!  They are just too amazing!)


Mask Grafitti Park Austin TX


I wasn't drawn to this one because of the talent behind it, but because of the fact that just about everything had paint on it there.  (Ok, the robot, or whatever you would call that, is kind of cute!)

Robot Grafitti Park Austin TX


When I say everything had paint on it, I mean everything!  Stumps, the weeds, the walls, the rocks, so on...

Stump Grafitti Park Austin TX


We saw some American patriotism happening.  I am assuming they didn't have white paint...

Flag Grafitti Park Austin TX


I really liked this one.  It's just a dude going on about his life, maybe about to do a time warp, maybe just passing another piece of art in his two-dimensional world, who knows.

Boy Grafitti Park Austin TX


I found the word "LOVE" to be interesting.  It was three-dimensional and I am not sure how they got it to stick.  This love can't be covered up by paint.  This love will always stand out.  Awh!

Love Grafitti Park Austin TX


The bear and the octopus were two of the better paintings I saw.  I have no idea how someone can do that.  Every time I try to use spray paint, it just runs and looks horrible.  These both have shading and everything!  Very impressive!

Bear and Octopus Grafitti Park Austin TX

Overall the place was rather dirty but not in a bad part of town.  Plus, in all fairness it had POURED the day before and the area directly below the park had flooded.  There was trash everywhere and empty paint cans, I am not sure if that is how it always is or if the rain had a hand in that.  Just know that climbing to the top is difficult so be prepared for that.  I would go again but try to find a different way up and down than I did this time. Since it is always changing, there would always be something new to see.

So I lied and said my next post would be about Singapore.  I forgot I had these photos on my phone to share.  I hope you are forgiving of my lie.  It was unintentional! I promise!

For real, next posts will be about our trip to Singapore. I hope you will return to read all about it!

Until then!


Wednesday, June 3, 2015

The Milk Bars in Poland

Back in communist times in Poland, where everyone was suppose to share everything and no one was to be presumed better or worse than anyone else, things were actually pretty bleak.  All this system accomplished was to make almost everyone poor.  The government, in all their wisdom, wanted the working class (oh, sorry, there were no "classes" of people) to be able to enjoy a meal out just like the family next door.  In order for this to happen they created these subsidized cafeteria style restaurants called bar mleczny or milk bars in English.

While Poland is no longer a communist country, this tradition stayed on and today these type of places are found all over the country.  Rick Steves mentioned in his guidebook (click on words bar mleczny above) that it is a fun cultural adventure so we hunted one down in Warsaw.

We really didn't know what to expect when we walked in.  We had tried to go to a different one but it was late in the day and they didn't have much food left, so we opted to try again at a later time.  The first one had a menu posted outside in English, but the only one inside was back to Polish.  The guy behind the counter, however spoke English so we would have been fine.

So we go to the one in Warsaw linked above.  This is all we were greeted with as far as a menu is concerned.   Well, we could have order a Coca-Cola safely!  (If you click on the picture you can see a larger version of the photo, if you would like your hand at deciphering it.)

The Menu at the Milk Bar Warsaw

I walked up to the counter and ask the lady (who seemed like she had been at this job since her teen years and was now getting ready to retire) if she spoke English.  She gave a quick shake of her head indicating no and then just looked at me.   I just looked back smiling stupidly not knowing what to do next.  She finally pointed to some very worn papers in very worn plastic covers.

English menus (and French, but who needs that?)!  Why didn't she just start with that??  The translations aren't the best, but that is what makes it fun.

English Menu at the Milk Bar Warsaw

Funny story.  There were people using the menus so we had to wait.  But we had actually met those people the day before at one of the art museums in Warsaw.  They were sitting in the cafe looking at a book and we overhead them say, "San Antonio, Texas".

What??  We know where that is!

They were actually from the Netherlands, so of course knew English.  So we butted in and asked them why they mentioned San Antonio.  They were wondering if it was near Houston since they knew where that was.  Um, if you consider a 3 hour drive close, then yes.  If you are from Texas then you consider a 3 hour drive not that bad.  

Something like that happened in London, too.  We went on the London Eye and in our little pod were several other people.  We were in that pod around 30 minutes so you see those same people over and over for long enough to remember them.  Later that day we ran into one of the couples that were in the pod with us.  Talk about random!

English Menu2 at the Milk Bar Warsaw

After looking at the menus, Frankie and I knew what we wanted and were ready to point to the items.  
I go first and the very first item I point to the cashier said, "Nie", followed by many other words I didn't know.  But I knew nie....no.  They didn't have what I wanted.  So she starts pointing to things they do have and I have to make a snap decision.  I don't make snap decisions very well.  But I handled it and Frankie gave her his order as well.

Let me explain the set-up of this particular milk bar to you.  You give your order to the cashier.  You can't see her in the picture below, but she is sitting in front of the lady with the gray coat.  You pay for your order and then take the piece of paper that your order is written down on to the window where the man is hunched over.

Cashier and Food Pick Up at Milk Bar Warsaw

Behind that window there are more women who seem they have been at this job for a very long time as well.  They take your ticket and in a very fast turn around start slapping plates of food down on the counter while yelling out the order....in Polish.

I have no idea what the words are in Polish for what we ordered so I just stood there looking at her.  She got a little cranky because no one was picking up the food quick enough and proceeded to yell the order louder while giving me the stare down.   

I think it dawned on her that I had no clue.  She took my ticket so remembered what I looked like.  She just pointed to me, then pointed to the food.

Oh, hey!  That must be ours!

We had our food and had already paid so the rest should be downhill from here, right?  Maybe not.

Some of that meat is chicken and some of it is pork.  After trying both neither of us could tell which was which.  It didn't taste bad at all, but shouldn't we have been able to tell the difference??

We also had some rolls, mashed potatoes, pickled red cabbage, and carrots with cream.  I ordered the carrots with cream, not really fully understanding what I would be getting.  I thought maybe the cream would be sweet which would taste good with the sweetness of carrots.  But it wasn't.  It was cream.  Plain cream. Think yogurt. I have never had that combination and will probably never have it again.  It was plain cream....

Meal at Milk Bar Warsaw

The only other thing we got that I didn't mention above was the mushroom soup.  That wasn't my first choice and not something I would normally order.  Boy I am glad they were out of tomato soup!  This was one of the BEST soups I have ever had!  I still haven't found a recipe to match it, so if you know of any, send them my way!

Mushroom Soup at Milk Bar Warsaw

When I went to grab a bottle of water from the glass cooler all I could find was the carbonated water.  I have trouble drinking carbonated beverages from bottles; it tends to make me sick.  So I needed a cup to pour the water in.  

I don't speak Polish.  The workers don't speak English.  

I decided to let Google Translate come to the rescue.  I have the app on my phone and downloaded Polish before we left so that I could use it without data or wifi.  I took a screen shot of my phone for you.

English to Polish for a cup of water at the Milk Bar Warsaw

I can only assume that the Polish is what I wanted it to say.  I walked up to the window where they received the orders and pushed them back out and showed them my phone.  

One lady read it and just started laughing.  

Hard.

I think she had tears in her eyes from laughing so hard.

Another came over and read it, smiled with a little laugh, said something to me in Polish, realized I didn't understand, said something to the laughing lady in Polish, and then went to the back.  

She came back with a cup full of tap water.

Cup of Water at Milk Bar Warsaw

That worked for me!  I didn't really want the bubbly water anyways.  I walked away with my prized possession with the one lady still chuckling in the background.  I really have no idea what was so funny.  All I did was show her the phone and then stood there grinning and shrugging my shoulders.  

Once I sat down I heard the lady call out, so I turned around and they had an empty cup for me.  So Google did translate it correctly!!  I shook my head no and point to the cup of water they gave me and just said, "OK."

OK is one of those universal words, thankfully!

We finished eating and then watched others to see what to do with our dishes.  We had to take them to the washing window.  That took me back to my elementary lunchroom!  When they say cafeteria style, they mean it!

This ends my saga of the milk bar and it also brings a close to my posts on Poland.  I hope you have enjoyed reading them.

Our next trip is coming up soon.  We decided to try our hand at an Asian country and Singapore seemed like a gentle introduction.

I hope you will come back to read those posts.

Until then!

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Life Under Communism Museum In Warsaw Poland

After touring the concentration camps and having been through several Holocaust museums in our travels, I started wondering what life was like living under communist times. I knew some of the details from our travels in Budapest and from long ago past history classes, but I wanted to know more. Looking at things to do in Warsaw, I just happened to see that were was indeed a museum called Czar PRL - Life Under Communism Museum, dedicated to just this topic!  Well, this was something we had to go see!

We had to do just a little walking to get to the actual museum, but it was an interesting one.  The museum is off the tourist path and things were a little more rundown and void of people.

Apartments near the Museum of Life under Communism in Warsaw

Part of Town that houses the Museum of Life under Communism in Warsaw

There is not a lot of fanfare surrounding the museum.  We were not even sure we were in the right place until we saw the sign and that was the only sign we saw for the museum.  (Note the barbed wire...this was not your typical tourist museum!!)

Sign for Museum of Life under Communism in Warsaw

The museum is actually housed in a former optic lens factory from the 1950's.  I have to say, it really had a creepy feel to it.  We saw a sign pointing the way to the museum entrance so we went that way and ended up here.  Then we saw another sign pointing in the direction we had just been.  It was rather confusing.

Museum is in old factory-Museum of Life under Communism in Warsaw

We turned around, walked back  towards the gate and saw one door leading into this one building were the signs were possibly pointing.  Nothing marked.  Not very inviting.

Entrance to Museum of Life under Communism in Warsaw

There was nothing written in English to help us poor monolingual Americans out.  We cracked open the door.  Dude, it was dark in there.  Where were we??

Door to Museum of Life under Communism in Warsaw

Either we are adventurous or stupid, because we continued on our way into this unknown building, in a less than idea (from our prospective) neighborhood, in a country where we don't speak the language, and where we could have been killed at any moment with no one around to hear us scream.

Ok, that is a tad dramatic, but still!!

We walk in and this is what we saw.  Still no other sign mentioning the museum and no person in sight!  But hey, there was a bathroom if we needed it!

Hallway-Museum of Life under Communism in Warsaw

A very strangely large for just one toilet bathroom....might I add.

Womens Restroom-Museum of Life under Communism in Warsaw

Continuing down the hallway we finally found the door, which was clearly marked with the museum name on it so we went it.  I am so glad we are apparently stupid because it turned out to be one of the most interesting museums I have ever been to.  It wasn't that large, but the layout with all the descriptions in both Polish and English was great and the staff  was extremely nice and informative as well.

Let me share this fabulous museum with you.

One part of the museum is set up like a typical apartment from the 1950's or so.  Since the government ran/manufactured everything, most people's apartments had the same stuff in it.  In fact, one of the staff members told us that one person came to visit the museum who had lived through that era. They stopped as soon as they walked in and just stood there.  The visitor went on to say that it looked exactly like her apartment growing up.

Since it is set up to resemble an apartment, the first thing we saw was an entryway coat rack. 

Coat Rack-Museum of Life under Communism in Warsaw

Continuing into the museum, we next saw a typical living room on one side with a typical bedroom on the other (or maybe it WAS an all-in-one..I am not sure).  The staff member told us that since everything was manufactured by the government there were not a lot of options.  If you needed a chair, you bought the chair that was offered that year and you usually had to save for quite a long time to even have the money to purchase that chair.  

Living Room-Museum of Life under Communism in Warsaw

Here are some of the details of the room closer up.

Clock-Museum of Life under Communism in Warsaw

Television-Museum of Life under Communism in Warsaw

Telephone-Museum of Life under Communism in Warsaw

Chair-Museum of Life under Communism in Warsaw

Fan-Museum of Life under Communism in Warsaw

Radio-Museum of Life under Communism in Warsaw

This bed needs a little explaining.  Since apartments were not very big, they had minimalist furniture.  This bed actually folded up into the cabinet to give more floor space.  The staff member even demonstrated it for us.  (I tell you, they were awesome!!)

Folding bed-Museum of Life under Communism in Warsaw

We then saw what a typical kitchen (maybe I should call it more of a kitchenette?)  looked like.  The staff member told us another story as she walked around with us.

(I don't think this normally happens, but we were the only ones there so she was able to do this.  She wasn't overbearing either, she stayed because we kept asking questions. Once we had our fill, she let us just roam about with no hovering.)

She said that an elderly woman came to the museum to donate a stool.  The woman said she had the stool for well over 50 years and that it was still a good stool.  She couldn't just throw it away. It was still useful.  It still had a purpose.  She had to save money to buy that stool so even after all this time she couldn't bear the thought of just throwing it away.

Kitchen-Museum of Life under Communism in Warsaw

Check out the close up of the oven!

Oven-Museum of Life under Communism in Warsaw

Before we move on, let me share a section on children.  I didn't really see much difference in the toys from the 1950's/60's/70's in Poland compared to America (Not that I lived during that time. I don't think 4 years in the 70's counts!).  

Toys-Museum of Life under Communism in Warsaw

One thing you have to remember is that communism existed up until 1989.  So it wasn't too surprising to see an electronic handheld video game, especially one from Russia.

Electronic Game-Museum of Life under Communism in Warsaw

This story that was on the wall, might give you some insight into the world of communism and how children grew-up thinking.

Childcare Story-Museum of Life under Communism in Warsaw

Feeling a little icky after that story?  Let's get clean.

The vacuum cleaner did evolve during the communist era....slightly.

Vacuum Cleaners-Museum of Life under Communism in Warsaw

In a typical bathroom, this is what you might see.  

Bathroom-Museum of Life under Communism in Warsaw

There wasn't a lot of room and there definitely wasn't a dryer.  So there were clothes constantly drying somewhere.  Nice silk stockings were hard to come by, so they were treated with great care.

Stockings Drying-Museum of Life under Communism in Warsaw

That round contraption...that is a washing machine.  The staff member said it did a horrible job and it was difficult to use, but it was what they had so it was what they used.

Washing Machine-Museum of Life under Communism in Warsaw

One last detail about the bathroom and apartment section.  The toilet paper.  Now, I complained about it in an earlier posts.  This was toilet paper from back in the day and honestly, it wasn't any different than what we encountered in every bathroom.  There was no "Don't Squeeze the Charmin" in Poland!!  I think I should start a campaign to get those poor people and their bums some softer t.p!

Toilet Paper-Museum of Life under Communism in Warsaw

Other parts of the museum dealt with things outside the home like shops, sports, libraries, cinemas, etc.

It was all interesting, but I found these three the most interesting.  


Communist Manifesto-Museum of Life under Communism in Warsaw

The telephone booth wasn't really that interesting, it was the story that went with it.  The government was apparently paranoid.  They were constantly listening in on phone conversations to keep a watch out for enemies against the state.   

Telephone Booth-Museum of Life under Communism in Warsaw

While we were in Budapest, Hungary I watched an entire 40-minute film at Memento Park about how far the government would go to try to find enemies of the state.  Let me quote myself from that post:
Also in the barrack they played several short films that were used to train secret police agents on such topics as: ways to hide listening bugs, how to do home searches, how to recruit new members, and how to effectively network. I stayed and watched all 4 segments of 10 minutes each. I found it fascinating! No one else stayed. All I could think of was, if they had the technology we have now there might have been no stopping them!
Ha!  I just quoted myself!  That is really cracking me up right now!  You have no idea!

Last item of interest from the museum.  This public drinking fountain.

Water Fountain-Museum of Life under Communism in Warsaw

As you can see, it isn't your typical water fountain where you push a button and free clean water pours out for any and all to drink from (and for some to put their entire mouth on the mouthpiece!! Ew!!)

If a person was out and about during the day, there were no convenience stores to pop in for a bottle of water or even a coke (soda or pop if you will, but in Texas they are all called coke no matter the actual brand).  Their only option were these public water fountains.  

One thing to really really notice is that there is a cup on a chain for people to use.  ONE cup for EVERYONE to use.  One cup.....

.....I would just stay dehydrated!!

Since there was only ONE cup for EVERYONE to use it became a cup full of germs.  In fact, the staff member told us that these were more commonly referred to as tuberculosis machines because they made so many people sick! It wasn't just the shared cup that was to blame.  You see the water source was just the local tap system.  

"What is wrong with that?" you ask.  

Well the staff member told us that it wasn't until a  mere FOUR years ago that the tap water was deemed drinkable!  Crazy, right?

This ends our tour of the communist museum.  I hoped you enjoyed it.  I have one more post to write about Poland and it was the craziest thing that happened to us while there.  Ok, not THAT super crazy, we are pretty straight laced, but it was memorable!

I hope I have you interested enough to come back.

Until then!


Monday, June 1, 2015

Auschwitz and Birkenau Concentration Camps in Poland

When we decided to travel to Poland, we knew a side trip from Krakow to the concentration camps of Auschwitz and Birkenau would be on the list of things to do.  I knew it would be a hard place to visit, but one that should be visited.  In fact the survivors and their families set it up so that people WOULD visit.  They didn't want anyone to forget the horrible tragedy that millions of Jews and other prisoners went through in these places.  I would like to share our experience with you.

From Krakow we took a bus to the town of Oswiecim (the German spelling is Auschwitz), which was about an hour and a half away.  I never realized that this camp was IN a town.  I always thought it was out in the country, hidden.  The people that lived in Oswiecim HAD to know what was going on, but knew it was keep quiet about it or join the "work" camp.   Many Jews were lied to and told they would be going to a work camp.  They were told that after the war they would be able to return home, but for now they had to do work for Hitler.  Even the gate that they walked through on the way into Auschwitz reinforced this concept.

"Work Will Set You Free", proclaims the gate.

Closeup of Arbeit Macth Frei Gate - Auschwitz

The crazy thing was the fact that I was expecting a sinister looking place.  I mean so much evil and sadness happened here!  In all honesty, it look more like older slightly rundown college dorms than anything else.

Looks like college dorms- Auschwitz

It was hard to image the horrors that occurred here.  As we walked through the buildings, read the descriptions, and saw the artifacts we could feel the weight of it all bearing down on us.

Some of the things we saw there I am still trying to process.  Let me share a few.

These are empty Zyklon B canisters.  Hitler decided that shooting the Jews wasn't very efficient.  One Nazi member could only shoot one Jew at a time.  Someone came up with the plan of using poisonous gas to kill more people at once.

The Zyklon B was the poison of choice...

Empty Zyklon B Canisters - Auschwitz

...the gas chambers was the place.  There was an opening on the roof and it only took at most TWO Nazi's (One to open the hatch. One to drop in the gas canister.) to kill hundred of prisoners at once.

Gas Chamber - Auschwitz

There were several sections that showed all of the material possessions that were taken from the prisoners as they arrived to the camps.  Here are just a few of the possessions.

Prayer shawls.

Jewish Prayer Shawl taken from Prisoners- Auschwitz

Medical devices.  Those who could not work were immediately sent to the gas chamber upon arrival.

Medical Devices of Prisoners- Auschwitz

Suitcases.  They had been instructed to write their names and addresses on their suitcases so they could be returned.

Suitcases of Prisoners - Auschwitz

Shoes.  Millions of pairs of shoes.

Shoes of Prisoners - Auschwitz

The one that bothered me the most was the hair. Tons of hair, literally tons of hair. This was hair shaved from the heads of the women prisoners. The hair was then turned into thread to make Nazi uniforms.

Hair shaved from Women Prisoners - Auschwitz

In the hallways on every wall there were picture after picture of the prisoners.  When Hitler first started taking prisoners they would be photographed for a record of who was there and when they died.  Since there were over one million people who went through this camp it got too expensive to photograph all the people. This is when the Nazi's started tattooing the numbers on the prisoners.

Pictures of Prisoners - Auschwitz

There were 20 of the cell blocks at Auschwitz.  There was one in particular that no one wanted to get transferred to because they knew they probably weren't coming out.  Cell block 10.

Dorm Block 10 - Auschwitz

This was the block were medical experiments took place. Many people died due to the things they endured.  Those that didn't die lived out the remainder of their lives in excruciating pain. I remember reading long ago some of the awful things they did to people there. The one that I remember the most is where they impregnated women with dog sperm, just to see what happened.  Nothing came about from that particular horrifying experiment but ironically, some of the experiments they did helped advance medical science.

After touring Auschwitz, we took a lunch break at a nearby restaurant for tourists.  There were not  many options in the immediate area, but the food was decent enough and the price was not overwhelming.  There was a funny little story that happened while there.  (You need a laugh break....)  We were there on Christmas Eve and it was Frankie and I in this restaurant with a group of Asian tourists and another group from India.  As we sat there, the only Americans, a Christmas song came on.  I hadn't heard it all season and now it plays.  Are you ready for the song title?  It is one of my favorites....

Feliz Navidad!!

I laughed at the irony of it all.

After our food break, we took the shuttle to Auschwitz II-Birkenau which is about 2 miles away from Auschwitz I.  There were too many prisoners for Auschwitz I so Hitler commissioned a bigger camp.

Entry Gate - Birkenau

Trains would roll in, prisoners would get off, and then doctors would separate those who could work from those who couldn't.

To the right, workers.  To the left, gas chamber.

Railroad tracks - Birkenau

When the camps were liberated, the Nazi's tried to destroy as much as they could to cover up their crimes.  There wasn't as much left at Birkenau as there was at Auschwitz, but there was enough to fully understand what had happened there.

The cold barracks were packed with bunk beds that fit 5 to 8 people per bunk.

Beds - Birkenau

Some of them had primitive heating elements running through the middle of the barrack.  The fire was at one end and the heat transferred down the vertical chamber.  The barracks were so drafty that there was no way to keep them truly warm.

Bunks and Heater - Birkenau

Conditions were bad for the prisoners.  It wasn't just the cold barracks they had to endure.  They had to survive a lack of food.  They had to survive torturous conditions such as extremely hard labor, being hosed off with ice cold water in freezing temperatures, and constant fear of being killed on the spot for any small infraction. Many didn't survive at all.

In one barrack this was stenciled on the wall:

Sei Ruhig-Be Calm Sign - Birkenau

I looked it up and it means "Be Calm" in German.  Talk about rubbing salt into a wound and that is putting it very very lightly!

The latrines at Auschwitz I were more or less typical western style toilets.  When they built Birkenau, they decided that the prisoners were not worth that luxury and latrines turned into this.

Latrines - Birkenau

It was so nasty in there that the Nazi soldiers wouldn't even go in for fear of getting sick. If you have ever seen Schindler's List they showed a little boy hiding in one in order to escape death by the hands of the Nazi soldiers.

As we walked around Birkenau, at times where it was clear of any building, it was hard to really picture what it had been like.  It was almost peaceful.  I hope that at times despite it all, the prisoners where able to see peaceful scenes like this one and held them in their hearts.

Calmness - Birkenau

At the very back of the Birkenau camp there was memorial with plaques written in several languages for the world to understand, to remember.

Never Forget Sign - Birkenau


The entire time we were there, I couldn't help but ask over and over, "Why?"

Why did this happen?  There was this....

Otto Thierack Quote - Auschwitz


...but that still didn't answer the question.  I don't think anyone can answer that question.

I can't imagine living during that time in our world's dark history.  It is horrible to be where we are now and know that it happened, but to be in the middle of it all......I have no words.

I really really can't imagine what it was like for people living in Europe.  There was this display at Auschwitz that showed where all the Jews and other prisoners of Auschwitz came from.  It was mind boggling.

Places Jews and Prisoners came from - Auschwitz

Then we saw this sign that just tied it all together.  The misery.  The horror.  The sadness.  The loss.  The evil.

Number of deaths - Auschwitz

A few hours after liberation of the camp by the Red Army, Zinovy Tolkachyov, a Russian artist walked through and drew the things he saw with accurate details. He wanted what had happened there to be known. These drawings became evidence for the prosecution during the Nuremberg trials.
This is just a few of Tolkachyov's drawings.

Hunger Drawing - Auschwitz


Solider and Child Drawing - Auschwitz

They weren't all heart wrenchingly sad, this one, to me,  spoke of hope.

Kiss Drawing - Auschwitz

We need hope and we should never forget.

Memorial - Birkenau

One last picture from our train ride (we decided to take the train back instead of the bus) to Krakow.  Something uplifting.  Something that shows the recovery of Poland.  Something peaceful. Something beautiful.

Polish Countryside seen from train returning to Krakow from Auschwitz


I have two more posts to write about our trip to Poland.  The next one I will write is about a museum dealing with life under communist rule.  It was funny, I was thinking about how many museums and memorials we have seen dealing with the Holocaust, but not any about communism.  I just happened to be looking online for things to do in Warsaw while we were there and I saw a museum dealing with just that!  So we went and it turned out to be my favorite museums of all time.  It was fascinating, so that will be my next topic.  I hope you will return to read it.

Until then!