The Group Consensus

Through the good offices of Old Stokie there has developed a ritual of an annual long-weekend trip to a European city. The group is five Stoke fans, that’s how we know each other, and we are close. It’s mainly larks, drinking, sightseeing, horsing around , talking rubbish, football, the usual. For this trip to Krakow OS had it on the agenda to visit the Nazi death camps at Auschwitz and Birkenau, forty-odd miles away. On the night before the night before this we had a conversation in which I said that as far as I was concerned these places did not strike me as tourist attractions and I would be happy not to go. However, in the protocol of time-and-motion when you are away for a brief time with a small number of others, I went with the majority decision. I’ll write more about it, possibly, when I’ve had time to think; for now let’s say that by the time we had left behind the massed coach parties (there were about 20, on a Monday morning) of tourists, boyfriends taking photos of their smiling girlfriends outside the barracks, and had gone past the postcards carousel on the way out, postcards showing soft-focus sunset pictures of the barracks or of the ‘Arbeit Macht Frei’ sign (what would I write on the back of one of those, I wondered : Wish you were here?) we were all of the view that the whole thing ‘wasn’t right.’ ‘It’s like fucking Alton Towers,’ as one of our number, Lee, put it, shaking his head and lighting a fag.

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2 Responses to The Group Consensus

  1. johnnyneptune says:

    McAuschwitz if you will?

    I felt similar at Checkpoint Charlie. Obviously, it’s not *the same* but the sheer number of people queueing to get their passport stamped by the “Russian Guard” left a sour taste.

    Anyway, holocaust tourism aside, did you have fun?

  2. OS says:

    Lee was right. It is like Alton Towers and was even busier than the last time I went about five years ago. There was a group consensus that the whole site should be closed to the public and gardens set around it where folk could sit and think and pay their respects that way. ‘They’ have turned one of the greatest atrocities known to mankind into a circus. It’s just not right. Seriously, had I lost a family member there then I would have felt like killing some of the unthinking, insensitive bastards we saw. Little kids have an excuse…they need to grow up. We saw adults behaving like morons. There were far too many to even contemplate giving them a bollicking for their behaviour.

    It was a good weekend in Krakow but that’s for another thread. Winger, it was important you saw it. At least now you have firm knowledge of what you suspected.

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