After Warsaw, we then went on to visit Krakow in the south. There we went to the Historical center, the Christmas markets, Oscar Schindler’s enamel factory, and the Jewish districts that were once the infamous ghettos. We took a day trip to the Wielicksa salt mine and to Auschwitz Berkenau labor camps to learn about the WWII atrocities in person. The trip was truly unforgettable and made Poland one of our favorite countries to visit yet!
In an effort to take back their city after 5 years of German occupation, struggling Poles rebelled in what is known as the Warsaw Uprising. Barely armed (it is said 1 in every 10 Poles had a rifle) and with the Germans brutality (going door to door, shooting every inhabitant including elderly, sick, women, and children), it was a losing battle from the start. Remnants can be seen throughout the city, especially in the concrete.
Personal belongings were taken upon arrival to a section of the camp referred to as “Canada”. Called “Canada” because people brought valuables (thinking they’d use at their relocation) and the Americas were viewed as prosperous. The Germans took anything of value, burned anything personal. These “Canada Warehouses” were subsequently destroyed by the Germans (along with gas and cremation facilities) to hide evidence of wrongdoing.
Correction, upon arrival they were allowed to keep one item…a belt…because they’d lose weight quickly.
I think guide said initially they’d photograph each inmate, but as cost of film and developing increased, they began using tattoos to save money. Also, as the death toll grew, tattoos were an easier way to identify the bodies.
Each prison uniform had a distinguishable patch so guards could quickly identify the category of prisoner. IE – political prisoners had a red triangle, criminals a green triangle, Jews a yellow star of David, Jehovah witnesses purple triangle, etc.
See bunk pic below, 5-6 people slept on each level.