Our experience in Poland was extraordinary. For many of us it was our first time to Poland and specifically to Krakow. Being given the opportunity to visit Auschwitz-Birkenau was incredible, it was a very emotional and moving experience but one that should never be missed. It was bizarre to think just a short bus journey away from the vibrant city of Krakow was this place of extreme brutality.
During this trip we also got to explore Krakow, finding small cafes with homemade national cakes and shopping at the Galeria krakowska. Whilst travelling around the city, we visited Schindler’s Museum and the site of the Krakow Ghetto, which was home to around 15000 Polish Jews before it was liquidated in 1943. Returning from Auschwitz-Birkenau, everyone was feeling a little sombre and so we visited the family home of Pope John Paul II, this was very interesting and allowed us time to reflect on what we had just seen and give us time to process.
Our visit to Auschwitz was indescribable, being able to go inside Gas Chamber 1 was haunting and the deserted atmosphere surrounding Birkenau was daunting. However, this was one of the best experiences and I am incredibly grateful to my teachers who organized this trip and gave us an opportunity to visit some of the most crucial destinations of the 20th century.