Friday, 24 April 2015

Auschwitz

Today, we were visiting Auschwitz, the biggest concentracion camp and a big part of german history.



In nearly every building there is some kind of sub-museum where you can see an exhibition to a special topic like the holocaust of hungarian or polish jews. Already after the first building I felt pretty sick because everything was so bad and disgusting and unhuman I just wasn't sure how to deal with it.


It started with a place they put the dead people they shot when they wanted to break out of the camp as a warning to the others. All the people they burned (after shooting them or killing them in the gas chamber) were even reused by taking the ashes and dunged the fields where the camp inhabitants were working on with it. It was like fully sustainable in a really really sick way.


People who were getting sick were sorted out by the probability that they would be able to work again. They just treated people who would work again, the rest was just killed. They even performed experiments on women to see if they could make them infertile.


This wall is the wall were the people got shot. There were so many ways to die in those camps. They say about 1,2 million people were killed in Auschwitz in total.

And I asked myself: If the war had taken another few years, if they had been successful to kill all the jews and gypsies and so on - who would have been next?

Krakow

Yesterday we did a trip to Krakow. Unfortunately, the planning was not that good and we had like 3 hours for the whole city which was really not enough. But we managed to see some great aspects of the city.



This was the first impression of Krakow and now I am feeling sorry that we don't have something like that in Austria. I know that there is a place to relax at the Donauinsel in Vienna but this is actually next to the castle, therefore really close to the city center. I even found my favourite place to relax where I would go if I would live in Krakow. There were also lots of tables where people of every age were coming together and playing chess.




After that, we were in the Jewish quarter and it was really impressing. This was really lively and there was this place where all the people just sat together and ate and the bus was a bar and so on. I have never seen a bus that is a bar now.


In the middle, there was a synagoge (unfortunately it was already closed) and lots of bars around that sell jewish stuff, like here: hummus & happiness. The funny thing is that the hand on the building is the hand of god for the jewish people, but I saw it too in Istanbul, where it is the hand of Fatima. It's like they all use the same stuff but for different meanings.

The buildings were mostly very interesting to look at - in most cases the face of the buildings was partly destroyed, but they did not restore it but just let it like that - like it was polnian style. And it actually looked good and fit into the face of the city. That was really interesting for me to see.


Of course they also had an old town - it is acutally a pretty big one. If you just walk straight ahead through the old town you need about 15 minutes to cross it. And outside, there is the wall, which is still in a great shape and around the wall there is a small park which probably used to be the moat. Therefore, there is a really big park area in the center. The city center was beautiful too and looked a little like Prague but for me the jewish part was more impressing.




And here I have a picture of all the Austrians at the Euroweek project for you that we took before we had to leave again. But I can really recommend you to visit Krakow!

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

City of Katovice


I want to tell you a little bit about the city I am currently staying in. Katovice is in the south of Poland near to the Czech border and close to Krakau and Auschwitz. We are actually planning to visit both before leaving again. It is a city with a pretty big university, the University of Economy Katovice. This really makes a difference - because of all the students, the city gets pretty lively. Until now, I haven't seen the city center at daylight, but next to this beautiful church, there is the "party street" where you can eat at lots of restaurants in the daytime and have a drink in the nighttime. And for some reason, there is always somewhere to go, even on uncommon days for going out in the evening. And everything is pretty cheap. If you eat something expensive, it's about 5 Euro, for a drink you normally pay 2 Euros or for a Cocktail 3 Euros. I could get used to that prices.

Yesterday in the evening, we were not in the "party street" but in a pub a little outside and I must admit, it looked like a place where horror movies could take place. When you entered the small street, this was what you saw:






And the pub was around the corner, so we had to get into the darkness. Good thing we were not alone. The pub itself was actually pretty cool with really simple furniture.

On our way to the university where we are doing the project, we walk along this view:





I am not sure what they are, there are lots of them all over the city and I guess they are garages, because my grandparents have one like that except theirs is out of bricks and not out of panel sheets. Also, I guess their car is now too big for this garage.

But I also have to point out, the main building of the university we are currently working on our project is probably new and really well done. They have all the newest technology we don't even have on my FH or any other university in Graz I have been to. Everywhere around the Campus there are Couch corners to sit together or work on something and there are lots of big balconies to sit outside in the sun. All the newer buildings look a little bit like Limerick because there you see they are built out of bricks. All in all, it really looks like an ambitious region, but right now you can't forget that it was not always like that.

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Going to Katovice II

video


As I promised, here is the music we heard when watching this guys:


Sunday, 19 April 2015

Going to Katovice

Today I arrived at Katovice in Poland, where I am staying until saturday for a project of my university. Therefore I will spend a lot of time working on the project and I won't have so much time to get cultural impressions. But I will do my best.

To get to Poland, a study colleague picked me up in Vienna and we took his car through Czech Republic. The whole drive only took 4,5 hours so it is not that far away. On the way we drove through Ostrava, a city near the polish border that is known for its steel industry. The highway was more or less built over the city so we had a nice look down on Ostrava. It is like the most industrial town I have ever seen. The whole skyline was filled with big chimneys and funnels of all the factories operating there with smoke coming out of some of them. In the center, we saw all the different factories next to each other. Around, there were those big panel buildings with lots of flats in them and a little bit farther around there were even small houses for j ust one family and some churches. It looks like the industry came first and then they made a city out of it. Not like all the beautiful towns you talk about where there was a castle first and then people moved next to the castle to be safe. It was really interesting to see because I always thought Linz was a really industrial city. This is like the last place I ever want to live.

Until now, Katovice is really nice. They do have those creepy buildings that have wood panels instead of windows or sometimes don't even have that just standing around near to the center but they also have a really nice downtown and everything is pretty cheap. I already met some people from other countries and we were out to eat and drink.On our way back to the hotel we saw the police and heard loud music coming from a building (that looked creepy as well). Turned out some .. movement occupied a flat there, putting up banners and seeking attention while wearing all black. For some reason, my photo of the scene got lost but I will add another one tomorrow.

The music was acually pretty cool, if you want to, I will put up a video in bad phone quality.