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If you haven't been to Auschwitz, I thoroughly recommend that you go. I wouldn't say attending the place where an estimated one and half million people were murdered in death camps is the holiday of choice, but it certainly makes you realise how horrifying the scene was while finding out facts that continue to shock 75 years after it was liberated.
One fact that I learned was that Jews from as far as Athens were forced to pay for their own train tickets to their death.
Another was that a group of victims within the camp in 1944 revolted against the Nazis and burnt down one of the gas chambers. If you're thinking that liberation followed you would be right. Unfortunately, it was not before the tragic murders of the ones responsible for the fire and the ones found guilty of helping them, which came just days before the holocaust came to an end. For me, that put the event into perspective of just how cruel the Nazi Party was and the lack of hope there was for the victims. My trip to Auschwitz was one of the most memorable experiences of my life, so far.
Within the museum at Auschwitz Birkenau is a room filled with portraits of many of the victims and their stories. Image credit: Grace Guimaraes
The diary of Heinrich Himmler, the man behind many of the decisions to murder millions of Jews during the holocaust - and just as much of a dickhead as Adolf Hitler - has resurfaced those memories and emotions.
The journal, which includes recorded dates, places, meetings and his decision to send millions of innocent civilians to their death covers the years 1938, 1943 and 1944, reports the Daily Mail.
In one of the entries, it documents the time when Himmler witnessed the 'effectiveness' of the death method by diesel engines at Sobibór death camp. In that same camp, an estimated 250,000 people were killed during the holocaust.
Containing more than 1,000 pages - and found 71 years after Himmler was caught by British soldiers before biting down on a cyanide capsule contained in his tooth and dying within minutes - the journals also document how he once nearly fainted when the brains of a Jew splattered on his coat.
Himmler was responsible for the entire terror apparatus of the Nazi state. That's everything from organising policemen on the beat right up to the harrowing decisions and operations within concentration camps around Europe, which killed more than six million people.
Words: Hamish Kilburn
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