The gate of Auschwitz I with its disgraceful inscription is one of the strongest pictures people know from that place. Standing just in front of it you notice nothing special about it. A barrier and iron forming letters, nothing more. I don't know what I expected from seeing this place in reality. But it seems as if the picture of this gate weighs heavier than the place itself. And this is the point where you notice that Auschwitz today is a place filled with thoughts yet established in your head.
Numbers and names – Auschwitz is nothing more than that, if you have never been to a concentration camp before. The amount of pages shown in the exhibition is incredible, but what gives an identity to the victims is the glass cabinets full of human hair, child's shoes and suitcases with names on it. You can read „Else Meier, Köln“ (Cologne) on one of them and suddenly numbers and names get alive. Behind every name there is some relative or friend, sometimes a whole family, who cried because a human's life ended in the most inhuman way.
Another iconic picture: The gate where trains entered the Auschwitz-Birkenau extermination camp. Before coming to that place some may expect to feel what life was about before the 27th of January 1945. To be honest: you can't. Walking around there for three hours at -12 degrees, in snowy and windy wheather conditions may take you closer to that point but it not even takes you halfway. I still can't believe that anyone survived there for more than a few days without shoes and barely no clothes.