K = Krakow, Poland

Sometimes our travels take us to places we never expected to go.  Krakow would be one of those places for me.

In 2014, we traveled to Krakow with the sole purpose of visiting Auschwitz.  I had serious misgivings about being a tourist to this infamous concentration camp and wrote about the experience here.  It felt wrong, it felt disrespectful … but Gilles convinced me that future generations have an obligation to remember, to ensure it never happens again.

Arriving in Krakow, we discovered a beautiful and proud city.

K = Krakow
Main Square – dates back to the 1300s

I got lost one morning while out running and stopped to ask for directions.  In a heartbeat, I had 3 non-english speaking people around me, pouring over the map I was carrying, using sign language to direct me back to my hotel.

K = Krakow 3
Wawel Royal Castle

… and visiting Auschwitz?

It was every bit of emotional I suspected it would be.  However, the horror of Birkenau disturbed me even more.  Gilles is right. It’s important that the world never forgets.

K = Krakow 2



  1. What a beautiful city, and the story of the sign language directions is a good one.
    And yes … we must never forget. And I fear, that some of that evil is being resurrected lately …


  2. I agree entirely – it is important to keep these memories alive. So many people want to pretend that it never happened. I fear the rise of hate in this country (the US) and where it will lead.


  3. Kraków is hauntingly beautiful but there is still a thread of anti Semitic tension that I found there. I recall your thoughtful posts on the concentration camps and while I couldn’t find the strength to visit last time I would if I ever went again.


    • Krakow was worth the many hours drive we took to get there. It was a city of contractions – we met extremely surly people and wonderfully thoughtful people.
      It is a place I would have liked to have spent more time for sure.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I think I recall you writing about making this trip Joanne. I can appreciate it would be so emotional but as you say so important that we never forget. When I hear some of the hateful things going on in this world it makes me wonder.


  5. It is such a tragedy that there are places like Auschwitz for us to visit and remember. I’ve never been to a camp but I’ve visited two Holocaust museums and I was profoundly moved. I’d love to think we’ve evolved as a species but current world events indicate that we haven’t.


  6. I was going to make a particular comment but went and checked and it was what I said on your original Auschwitz post so I won’t repeat myself. What I will say is 1. Poland is on my bucket list and you’ve just confirmed its place. 2. I fear that in 50 years, Australians will be asking “How could you let that happen?” about our own concentration camps…sorry…detention centres. And one day, a Prime Minister will stand up and make a formal apology to the families of those we imprisoned on Nauru and Manus Island for the pain and trauma the government of the day inflicted on them. How can we have reminders such as Auschwitz and still be doomed to repeat the horrors?


  7. Very moving post. I’m not sure I could visit but I think that having a physical, tangible reminder of the terrible atrocities should surely prevent such things happening again. If only.


  8. Joanne, I can certainly understand your misgivings about visiting Auschwitz as a tourist, it seems somehow disrespectful in some way. I also understand the reason we need to go there. To remind ourselves of this the horrible atrocities that took place here.

    Krakow looks like a lovely city to visit, one that I am certain must be so rich in history.


    • When we travel, so often we are cramming a huge agenda into a short period of time, then we are left wishing we had had more time in particular places.
      Krakow was one of them. We were there only a few days and I felt there was so much more I would have liked to explore.


  9. I’m glad you referenced that other post. I seem to remember seeing that window pic with the reflection before and being struck by what a great way that was to photograph the “horror” of a concentration camp…Almost as though you couldn’t bear to confront it straight on. But I don’t remember reading that post and I certainly this one goes right along with it. I agree with you that the world needs to remember and learn from the past and that is so important. Unfortunately, we seem to have a lot of slow learners in our world today. Hopefully, with posts like yours pointing out the need for empathy, tolerance, and acceptance the change will come and people will learn. We always have hope. I’m sure the ex-residents of camps like these could tell us much about that.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Beautiful pictures. Strangely, it feels almost disturbing to see a picture from Auschwitz with blue skies and a puffy summer cloud — somehow it’s a place I’ve always associated with darkness and bad weather.

    The human race doesn’t seem to have learnt anything from the Holocaust. I’d visit Auschwitz-Birkenau in a heartbeat if I were to travel in that direction. Yad Vashem in Israel would be on my list too.


  11. The photos are beautiful. The last one is disturbing, but it should be. This is something that should sink deep into our thoughts. Sadly, I think your reply to the above comment is more to the point…


  12. Yes, Gilles was right. We have to experience the horror, no matter how much discomfort it brings us; no matter how many tears we shed. We have to. We have to have that experience. We have to remember. We have to pass it on. We have to keep it from happening again.


    • I haven’t been to the Jewish museum in Washington, but I expect it would be heart-wrenching.
      Unfortunately intolerance in all its various forms continues to thrive today. As a species, we aren’t learning a thing about accepting the differences in others.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I have been to see the museum and it is most definitely worthy of a visit. I had avoided it for a long time because I felt it would be too depressing to visit.

        Yes, it was moving, sad and even horrific but there was also a whole section that included all that led up to this happening.

        Hitler wasn’t always a monster, he was the selected leader. The museum shows the power of collective thought agreement and how destructive it can be if done so without evaluation for consequences…valuable lessons at any age. I think all high school student should see it – it will put life into perspective.


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