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Auschwitz. The name says it all. It is a gruesome name. It is a gruesome place.

I had tears in my eyes as I entered the gates. I had read about this dreadful place for years. But now I was actually there, near Krakow, Poland.

This was one of Nazi Germany’s largest extermination and concentration camps. It was actually two camps linked together: Auschwitz and Birkenau. According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, between 1.1 and 1.5 million people died at Auschwitz. Ninety percent of them were Jews.

Many were children. The site has been converted into a museum and memorial. In 1979, it was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Anne Frank was there. So was Viktor Frankl, Elie Wiesel, and untold numbers of others.

As I spent three hours walking through it, I thought of the misery and pain of the millions who entered the same gates I had just walked through.

Crowded, unsanitary conditions, hence the name concentration camp. The brutality and cruelty of their captors. The lack of basic necessities. The murder of millions because they were Jewish or different in some way, not a part of the master race.

As I left, even more tears came.

Auschwitz. A gruesome name. A gruesome place. We must never forget what happened there.

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