The last couple of days have been filled with a lot of activity and an extreme amount of walking. Yesterday I visited the museum of the underground ruins the are located beneath the old square. Some of the exhibits go as deep as 16 feet and date back to the 13th century. After that we toured one of the first churches of Krakow and the very first college of Krakow, which was established in the 14th century. Then once I thought I was done for the day I remembered that I still had to tour the salt mines. The mines were amazing and went down over 300 feet. It is something that you definitely have to experience to understand how truly amazing it is.
Today we went to Auschwitz I and Auschwitz II. It was a very somber day, with overcast skies and an overall gloomy feeling. It was very eye opening to actually see and be where the victims of the Holocaust lived, and sadly most of them died.
As I have stated before my research project is to discover what kind of perspective or thoughts the Polish have about the Germans. Obviously, going to Auschwitz the overall feeling was hatred towards the Germans for all of the horrendous crimes they committed during World War II. Also, I have noticed, with very careful observation, that many of my tour guides subtly insult the Germans. It is often hard to notice that it is even an insult, but I believe that it is just their way of thinking about the Germans so they don’t even realize they are insulting them. I have a couple examples of times where I noticed the subtle insults:
- When I was in the underground ruins the guide made a comment something along the lines of, “And the Germans whined saying it couldn’t be done, but of course, the Polish figured out a way to do it.” — He was talking about a time before WWII, but from that comment I got the feeling that he felt the Germans were weak or inferior and the Polish were the ones who were superior.
- Next, when I was going through my salt mine tour the guide was telling us a story about how the Germans had occupied the mine during WWII and they were in a boat trying to get to the other side of one the lakes. She said something along the lines of,”They were not smart enough to figure out that you cannot swim in these lake because of the brine. So when they capsized they all drowned. In my opinion, she was insinuating that the Germans were not very smart people.
- Lastly, during our tour of Auschwitz, one of the other people in my group had asked a question about how someone could doubt that the Holocaust actually happened, especially with all of the evidence laid out in front of them. The guide responded with, “Usually the only people that doubt the Holocaust actually happened speak German.” This allows me to concur that he had negative thoughts towards the Germans, and possible was blaming them for still trying to cover up the horrible crimes they committed.
I plan to use this evidence I have collected along with other research articles I find to draw a consensus on what the Polish perspective of the Germans really is today, and then compare it to there perspective during WWII.