I visited Krakow last week with some friends. Before we went there was some debate about whether we should visit Auschwitz or not. I was broadly against it, because I wasn’t sure what I would get out of it. But in the end I went with the consensus and because I thought I could at least explore how I felt about the place.
It was upsetting but not for the reasons I thought. It is now very much a tourist attraction, coach trips and postcards. I could accept this at some level if the people who visited it all reacted to it for what it is. But they don’t. We saw many people snapping smiling pictures of each other in front of the buildings. Most shameful was a guy of about 50 holding on to a barbed wire fence, pretending to be electrocuted and screaming at the top of his lungs to the ‘amusement’ of his friends. It is clearly time the whole place was closed to the public.