Revisiting Auschwitz in the 1970's

This black and white photo from Henry’s album was taken sometime in the 1970’s. He stands with his cousin, Stanislaus (I think). They stand in front of Block 11, Blok Smierci Polish for Dead Block. The web site for the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum lists a timeline of its existence. It was established by the Polish Parliament in 1947; the first permanent exhibition was established at Auschwitz I in 1955. 

Auschwitz I comprises the original complex of block barracks that were formerly Polish army barracks. Auschwitz II was Birkenau, constructed entirely by the Germans for mass deportations.  

Henry made two trips to Poland in the 1970’s that I know of. Nancy never went with him, though when I asked her about that years later, she regretted it. She didn’t speak Polish, so knew she wouldn’t be able to speak with anyone. Secondly, even though Henry had a US passport, he had defected from communism and knew there was the slight chance they might arrest and detain him.

However, as Nancy and I reminisced years later – that also met that she and Henry’s mother never met each other, for Henry’s mother never traveled to the United States.

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