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A Day Out In Canada

Added: Thursday, January 26th 2023 at 7:51am by fangio821
Related Tags: war


Here I am, thousands of miles from home in a freezing, barren place with a group of strangers I cannot understand and whom I do not know. I decide to walk by myself. It is early December , and very very cold.

A greasy mist hangs over the flat, featureless land. In the distance tall, slender birch trees puncture the mist.


To my left, a series of low wooden buildings sit in military ranks on courses of crumbling, rust-coloured bricks. The buildings end, yet the lines of their foundations stretch out forever until the frosty mist hides them from view. No birds fly overhead; no birds sing; no birds.  None at all.  It is too cold.


After an hour of walking I reach the leafless birch trees I’d seen earlier. They have been planted to form a screen around one side of an oval, man-made pond. Nothing disturbs the pond’s surface. No water birds, no fish, no water bugs. Maybe because it’s too cold.


At first I think the pond must be frozen, except that reflections of low grey clouds slide silently across the water. Five white granite plinths, shaped like British “trig points”, sit accusingly between the trees and the pond’s edge defying me to approach. All are inscribed with writing that glistens in the frosty light, four in languages I cannot understand. The fifth is in English:


“Near to this spot was the area of the camp which the prisoners called Canada. Groups of them were put to work to sort the personal belongings of those who had already been killed in the gas ovens. When the ovens used to burn, the dead bodies created too many ashes to be disposed of; the ashes were scattered in the pond before which you now stand.”


Auschwitz Birkenau


User Comments

Well done!  And sobering.  I never got that far north or east but I did go through the camp museum in Dachau near Munich.  Several times over the years.  I'll never forget the first time...it was in October and blustery, leaves chasing around the parking lot...and when we went through the gate it was suddenly dead still and freezing cold.  It was only a barbed wire fence, no way it stopped the wind, but still it was nonetheless.  

Good piece...brought back chilling memories.

Thanks BFD.  I went into Auschwitz camp first, then Birkeneau.  The first thing I noticed apart from the gateway was the total absence of birds.  There were none at all.  Very sad places.


A trip down dismemory lane?

Which is why I love MY life everyday!!!!

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