The Krakow Event: Tour to Auschwitz/Birkenau

The Krakow Event - before and after
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lizzytysh
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Re: The Krakow Event: Tour to Auschwitz/Birkenau

Postby lizzytysh » Sun Sep 27, 2009 9:30 pm

Hi Carmen ~

You're great 8) ! And, actually, I hope you won't be disappointed that it's just so likely that a single, heated debate won't happen. If they do, they're rare, and I've never been privy to one. What I've noticed is how people tend to focus on what they do or might have in common and try to build on that. It's that same premise that undergirds the interactions between the people involved with the Peace Initiative that Leonard has initiated. Meeting face-to-face invokes a different dynamic. I guess we could manage a heated debate for your benefit, though... "This one's for Carmen ;-) "

Okay, whatever I said back then stays... at least for the time being. The worst part is when others delete theirs and then you're left seeming mean-spirited totally out of any context :shock: ~ I haven't checked to see if that's happened, but I know in other situations of others posting, I've seen it happen.

For now, I guess I'll leave the luck o'th'draw to fate :) .


~ Lizzy
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~ Oscar Wilde
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Re: The Krakow Event: Tour to Auschwitz/Birkenau

Postby Carmen » Mon Sep 28, 2009 3:15 am

lizzytysh wrote: I hope you won't be disappointed that it's just so likely that a single, heated debate won't happen. If they do, they're rare, and I've never been privy to one.

~ Lizzy
Hi Lizzy,

Life is so interesting because we are so different, so there is no problem with having different opinions. Actually, you all seem to cherish such a deep sense of friendship that I don't expect any such debates to happen. But if they do, let them be for the sake of good things :) .

Back to Krakow and our wish to see the death camps, what if there will be more than six of us wanting to take the day tour? Maybe they also have regular mini-buses for a somewhat larger group (say, six to ten people)? I am also thinking of the fact that, if we rent a car, someone will have to do the driving and add physical fatigue to psychological pressure...
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Re: The Krakow Event: Tour to Auschwitz/Birkenau

Postby lizzytysh » Mon Sep 28, 2009 4:11 am

Hi Carmen ~
Life is so interesting because we are so different, so there is no problem with having different opinions.
Yep... lots of different backgrounds in every possible fashion. Differences of opinion couldn't be any more natural, could it.

Actually, when I checked, the one that seemed to fit our needs and that I focused on was a mini-van with the capacity for 12-15 people. With the count I've been sorta doing, we're 'approaching' that total. However, that's the one that gets picked up and dropped off at the airport... hence, the mention of luggage, which is probably what accounts for the difference between 12 and 15; and I haven't had a chance to call over there, yet, to see if we need an airline ticket that coincides with dates of pick-up and drop-off to do that [you never know]. That seemed about right for us... and I'm wondering if our veteran bus driver might do the honours of driving. It's approx. a one-hour drive each way... and not that far between the two camps.


~ Lizzy
"Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken."
~ Oscar Wilde
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Re: The Krakow Event: Tour to Auschwitz/Birkenau

Postby Mirek » Mon Sep 28, 2009 4:47 pm

Carmen wrote:Back to Krakow and our wish to see the death camps, what if there will be more than six of us wanting to take the day tour? Maybe they also have regular mini-buses for a somewhat larger group (say, six to ten people)? I am also thinking of the fact that, if we rent a car, someone will have to do the driving and add physical fatigue to psychological pressure...
Dear Carmen - there are several bus and minibus lines from Krakow to Auschwitz, so there won't be any problems. They leave Krakow every 30 minutes or so. In my opinion there's no need to rent a car.
If someone plans to visit both Auschwitz and Birkenau death camps (distance approx. 3,5 km), there's a shuttle bus (every hour), free for visitors.

Mirek
goldstei
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Re: The Krakow Event: Tour to Auschwitz/Birkenau

Postby goldstei » Mon Sep 28, 2009 9:06 pm

Hi all interested in the minibus trip idea...

This post from Mirek probably poses an easy solution. We can still go together, but this way no one will have to worry about driving and if some want to linger longer or to cut things short, they can get back without being locked in. My main concern had to do with getting from Auschwitz to Birkenau, but that seems to be resolved with this solution also. Of course, the "van group" could still plan a group meal before/after/during.

Best to all,

Bob Goldstein
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Re: The Krakow Event: Tour to Auschwitz/Birkenau

Postby Womanfromaroom » Mon Sep 28, 2009 9:14 pm

It is even possible to walk from Auschwitz main camp to Birkenau, easily... It does not take longer than 20 minutes, and it will take you past the first "ramp" where the trains originally arrived; walking past all the factories where the prisoners were made to work as forced labourers and then up to the Birkenau gate, for me, even turned out to be one of the most impressive, thought-inspiring parts of it all.
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Re: The Krakow Event: Tour to Auschwitz/Birkenau

Postby Carmen » Tue Sep 29, 2009 1:03 am

I also think that Mirek has given us the best solution. It also covers all choices related to the duration of the tour for different people.

In the near future (starting with October 5th) I'll be less active here :( because that's when the academic year starts in Romania (usually on the 1st, but rarely other than on a Monday), so I must resume my teaching job. I'll keep on reading as many posts as possible, and I'll be thinking of everyone :roll: , but I may not be able to write as often...

Meanwhile, I have opened a special folder on my computer, which reads "Krakow plans". Everything important for next year's trip will go there, so I would like to thank everyone in advance for all good ideas :) .

Carmen
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Re: The Krakow Event: Tour to Auschwitz/Birkenau

Postby lizzytysh » Tue Sep 29, 2009 4:11 am

Hi Mirek ~

Perhaps, you can be helpful with why I was feeling intense pressure to be back on the bus that I came on, as it was about to leave. Was it maybe the last bus of the day? I don't recall any options of riding one bus from Cracow out to the camps and a different bus back to Cracow. I had to run out of the bookstore, just to get on it, as it was about to leave. Are the shuttles that you refer to between Cracow and the camps... or between Auschwitz and Birkenau?

Unless we have plenty of flexibility with when we go from one camp to the next and when we return to Cracow, I still prefer a rental. Trying to always be on someone else's schedule is tough... unless they're of the 'same mind' with regard to spending a respectable amount of time at each camp, it makes it all too frustrating and maddening. It felt like little more than a 'run through' when I went... and that was right up to hopping back in the bus, after the engine was already in gear.

Thanks.

We'll miss you here, Carmen... but at least your absence is due to a good cause, and you'll be keeping straight with the news from here, as our plans progress.


~ Lizzy
"Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken."
~ Oscar Wilde
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Re: The Krakow Event: Tour to Auschwitz/Birkenau

Postby Mirek » Tue Sep 29, 2009 2:37 pm

lizzytysh wrote:Are the shuttles that you refer to between Cracow and the camps... or between Auschwitz and Birkenau?
In my post I referred to the shuttles between the two camps. But the buses between Krakow and Auschwitz are in abundance, too. There are several lines coonecting those two places, so there won't be any special problems and need to be in a hurry, I guess.
If you rent a van then I think you can have some problems parking it in the vicinity of the camp, unless you'd have on board someone knowing the place.

Mirek
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Re: The Krakow Event: Tour to Auschwitz/Birkenau

Postby Carmen » Tue Sep 29, 2009 5:06 pm

Dear Lizzy,

It is not as if I were gone until next (winter) holidays - it's just that I probably will be much busier, and not able to stay on the forum as much as I do now. So you will definitely see me present here, at least once a week!

And thanks for your nice words.

Carmen
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Re: The Krakow Event: Tour to Auschwitz/Birkenau

Postby Carmen » Fri Oct 02, 2009 11:53 pm

A couple of weeks ago or so I was telling my friends here about the deep and moving feeling I have when watching "Schindler's List". Well... it is crying time again, because they are showing it on one of the Romanian TV channels...

I spent the last hour or so reading the newest posts in various threads, and I was happy to see that echoes from the Tel Aviv concert are still flowing in, and so are people's posts here and video clips on YouTube.

Who else, I wonder, could bring together so much energy and beauty? And who else could give us the power to stand up to evil and vow it must never happen again?

Love to you all,

Carmen
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Re: The Krakow Event: Tour to Auschwitz/Birkenau

Postby Womanfromaroom » Sat Oct 03, 2009 12:15 am

Dear Carmen,

"Schindler's List" has been one of the most influential movies of all times for me. I first watched it when it came out in 1994 - I was 16 back then - , and it helped me enormously in my decision of wanting to become a historian.
Well, I am one now; and still (as I have already indicated above in this thread), when it comes to the Holocaust, I still don't see through it at all rationally... Which is why, even if some people here don't seem to agree, I find it very important to see the sites of those horrible crimes for myself... To just get some idea of the dimensions of all this, of getting away from mere numbers and academic theories which in the end do not seem to explain a thing in this context. And even if one has to keep in mind that "Schindler's List" does by no means follow the rules of "academic" work and standards, but is, after all, a Hollywood movie, in some ways, this seems to be precisely why it has done more for me when it comes to trying to "understand" than years of studying the Holocaust at universtiy.
"You thought that it could never happen / to all the people that you became"...
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Re: The Krakow Event: Tour to Auschwitz/Birkenau

Postby lizzytysh » Sat Oct 03, 2009 5:40 am

If I had had to say it, Ann, I couldn't have said it better. I agree with you on every bit as to why it's important to see it for yourself, to even begin to grasp the dimensions. Especially impressive is how you, as an historian, give the Hollywood movie its due credibility, for the emotional reality that is lost to the books and statistics. There's a particularly human element of your doing that.


~ Lizzy
"Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken."
~ Oscar Wilde
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Re: The Krakow Event: Tour to Auschwitz/Birkenau

Postby hydriot » Sat Oct 03, 2009 6:08 pm

This is the first time I have read this thread since I posted my now infamous 'Rubbish' response to Greg on 16 September. First let me say that I am deeply touched at those forum members who sprang to my defence (regarding Britain's history on human rights). Let me reassure you all that I wasn't offended by Greg's comments at all, which have some merit. Let me just make two points in reply.

First, when your nation has controlled such huge swathes of the globe at one time or another, there is just a greater chance of doing wrong (how many massacres has Liechtenstein perpetrated?)

Secondly, please remember that we have done great good too. Relevant to this thread is the observation that if we had not stood alone in 1940/41 (ably supported by Australia and New Zealand of course), Auschwitz would still be going strong today, and there would be not one Jew living in continental Europe.

I had found this entire thread distasteful from its inception, and Greg's idea that he had a duty to visit a death-camp how ever much the experience was going to hurt him was just the last straw that broke the camel's back, and I exploded. I would like to explain here why this happened. It is simply a question of British culture and the education I have been given.

We in Britain treat our war dead with the greatest respect. When a naval ship is sunk in battle, it automatically becomes a war-grave and is so designated on charts. No diver would dream of entering a war-grave. Every year, throughout the country, the dead are properly remembered at 11am on the Sunday closest to 11 November (the time and date the First World War ended). We all stop whatever we are doing, stand motionless and silent for two minutes, and think of them and their sacrifice.

To me, from my cultural position, death-camp tourism is the most disgusting and disrespectful form of voyeurism imaginable. I find it deeply offensive. The entire death-camp is a single massive war-grave and, out of respect for the dead, should be closed to visitors, other than organised school parties who come for educational purposes and are shown round by professional guides, and academics. There is absolutely no reason for a tourist to visit a death-camp.

How the dead are remembered is a critical consideration. In Britain we do not mourn our dead but celebrate their lives. If I am a passenger in a car driven recklessly by a maniac along a winding mountain road, and that maniac drives us over the edge and kills me, the last thing I would want is for my children and those who love me to visit that road and themselves drive recklessly along it in some perverse attempt to understand how I felt in my final minutes. No, I would like them to remember me on my birthday, and I would like them to think of the good times we had together far away from that road, and then I would like them to stop thinking about me for the rest of the year and get on with happy and productive lives.

This is why I am inviting those attending the Event to turn their backs on Auschwitz and instead join me in a trip to the Bedzin ghetto, just north of Katowice, where we can, I hope, visit the house of Rutka Laskier ( http://www.reuters.com/article/lifestyl ... 2220080425 and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W80AkujW ... re=related ) and see where she hid her diary. Then we can say a little prayer together, not mourning her terrible death in Auschwitz later in 1943 after passing through the hands of Dr Mengele, but rather giving thanks for the fortitude this little girl displayed and for the example she has set us all. In other words, the trip is intended to be uplifting, not depressing.

For those who insist on going to a death-camp, let me suggest a compromise respectful to the dead. Go to the gate of the camp, say a prayer, do something defiantly creative to counterbalance the lingering evil of the place, such as write a poem (i.e. hold up your own “little wild bouquet”), make a donation towards the camp’s preservation, and then leave. Do not enter, for to do so as a mere tourist is to desecrate what is surely hallowed ground.
“If you do have love it's a kind of wound, and if you don't have it it's worse.” - Leonard, July 1988
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Re: The Krakow Event: Tour to Auschwitz/Birkenau

Postby Mabeanie1 » Sat Oct 03, 2009 6:18 pm

I had sworn off this thread for a variety of reasons. However, in case there is any misunderstanding, I would just like to make it clear that I spoke for myself and not in defence of Hydriot when I took offence at Greg's comments.

I also want to make it clear that, whilst he is entitled to his own views, Hydriot does not speak for all Brits. He does not speak for me.

My views, my feelings and for that matter my use of my native language are just that: they are mine and I am entitled to them. I do not wish to be told how to feel or how to show my respect to anyone - dead or alive.

Wendy

By the way, also a historian ...
Last edited by Mabeanie1 on Sat Oct 03, 2009 6:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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