I know the history. I have seen Schindler’s List. When I was a girl, I visited Dachau. None of that prepared me for visiting Auschwitz. Being there felt like all of the historical tragedies of the past few hundred years were smothering me. There isn’t much left of the camp, but what remains sucked the oxygen from the air and from my lungs. I searched for open space, an escape, a moment to catch my breath, but it was impossible. Everywhere I looked, I was bound by brick, barbed wire, or electrified fences. Escape would not have been possible.
We all know the history, but the numbers are worth repeating because I think sometimes we forget. 1.3 million people were murdered in this death camp between 4 June, 1940 and 27 January, 1945. We must never forget and we must never let it happen again.
I hope my photographs help you to understand the fear and the eventual loss of all hope that the people who walked through the gates of Auschwitz experienced.
-Neeley (24 November 2015)