Krakow

Auschwitz

On the 1st of March a small party from Finch Woods Academy flew from Liverpool for a 3 day visit to Poland. The main purpose of the trip was to visit the Nazi concentration and death camps at Auschwitz as well as a cultural visit to the city of Krakow.

We left Liverpool airport at 7.30pm for the 2 ½ hour flight, to Poland. When we landed it was slightly snowing. With Poland being 1 hour ahead of us and having to wait at passport control, it was nearly midnight when we left Krakow Airport.

The lads mood improved when the very attractive Polish lady had Mr Williams’ name on a sign, and all were excited as we were shown to our Mercedes and Mikel, our driver, who took us through the dark night and the falling snow to our hotel in Krakow Old Town.

We awoke in the morning to the sound of the monastery bells and the sight of lots of nuns in the street, ‘very different to Kirkby’ said Danny. After an all you could eat breakfast our, new driver Saqcha drove us to Auschwitz.

First we visited Auschwitz 1 which at first held Polish Prisoners and we saw examples of torture, places of execution and collections of clothes and possessions of people who had been murdered. Then we visited Auschwitz 2, the Death Camp at Birkenau, with its infamous railway through the gate and the chilling Nazi sign in German, ‘Arbeit Macht Frei’ . Here we saw the gas chambers and the memorial to those who died in the Holocaust. Darren placed a stone on the memorial, a traditional Jewish custom, ‘I thought it was important to leave a mark of respect’ said Darren.

We then returned to Krakow and toured the central market before visiting a Kosher restaurant, the Klezmer House. This is in an old Mikvah which is a Jewish ritual bath house. It is no longer in use as the 65,000 Jewish population of the city was wiped out by the Nazis. And then to bed, Miss Dickinson said, ‘that was a busy day, we saw so much and walked 10.48 miles, a great PE & History lesson’.

The following morning we toured the Old Jewish Quarter and visited the Enamel Works, which was made famous by being run by Oskar Schindler who saved 1500 Jewish people and featured in the film, Schindler’s List. We then went to the Wavel Castle, souvenir shopping, had lunch (a massive Pannini, a coffee, an ice cream) and finally the tram back to the airport. A very busy, tiring, but immensely enjoyable trip, and one we would recommend to everyone.