I was 26 years old and a Air Force Reservist, we were as a Unit required to tour over seas once every 4 years. It was my first year in and my first Annual tour in the spring of 1985 we went to Germany.
In the middle weekend some of our people had arranged a tour to Munich which we did some touristy stuff like visited Oberamagau, The Deutch museum, Neushwanstein and others. Also we went to the Concentration camp memorial at Auschwitz. Not much is left there but a couple of what looked like 150 ft long barracks they housed the detainees in.
My memories of the place are sketchy after 20 years but I still have one that brings back the same feeling I had that day. In one of the few remaining barracks they had posted a history and thousands upon thousands of pictures of when it was an operating concentration camp. I can not describe how horrifying this was. I made it 2/3 of the way through before I could take it no more and had to leave the building. I still get light headed and queasy and my mind fights not to remember any of those pictures.
I vaguely recall one series about a gas chamber disguised as a shower before: showing the old Deusenberg auto being hooked up; during the loading up with people; and after, all those people who were alive now heaped upon the floor. I think this is the one that made me sick not to mention all of the incredibly emaciated bodies.
They had statistics on everything with pictures of piles of false teeth and skulls and.........God I can't think of this much longer. To have run away from this place was unthinkable though some part of me tried. Somehow I knew I needed to stay a little longer if for no other reason than to somehow be there for the people who suffered. I remember looking out across the compound in shock. I remember the stillness. Not an easy peaceful quiet but something hard as if God had turned his back on this place. About 40 of us went on this tour and everyone I looked at was white as a ghost.
I have been around this world and have seen and talked with many many people from just about every nation, creed or religion. I have seen and done just about anything a man could desire.
I have been apart of prepping for war which included the mental aspect of knock down drag out battles or worse to learn how to fight in a nuclear contaminated environment with utter confusion, fog of war, and the loss of friends in the fight.
I worked in a nursing home at that time and saw the end of peoples lives as they wasted away languishing alone with no family, I have had to stand bedside watch as some took their very last breath. I remember waiting for their chest to rise but it didn't. I have seen some horribly disfiguring wounds and cancers eating away at human bodies, but nothing....nothing could have prepared me for the experience I had that day.
I hope and pray this world never sees another event like this. If it does then mankind truly is lost to not have learned anything from and would truly be deserving of destruction.