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Poland and Auschwitz has to be part of an overlander around the world trip. The Auschwitz concentration camp complex was the largest of its kind established by the Nazi regime. The SS authorities established three main camps near the Polish city of Oswiecim: Auschwitz I in May 1940; Auschwitz II (also called Auschwitz-Birkenau) in early 1942; and Auschwitz III (also called Auschwitz-Monowitz) in October 1942. At Auschwitz I, SS physicians carried out Medical-experience in the hospital, Barrack (Block) 10. They conducted pseudoscientific research on infants, twins, and dwarfs, and performed forced sterilizations, castrations, and hypothermia experiments on adults. The best-known of these physicians was SS Captain Dr. Josef Mengele. Between the crematorium and the medical-experiments barrack stood the “Black Wall,” where SS guards executed thousands of prisoners. In total, approximately 1.1 million Jews were deported to Auschwitz. All I can say that our experience was depressing and we still wonder if the world has learned anything since this happened ( Referring to Vietnam, Rwanda-Cambodia-former Yugoslavia and no doubt in a few years Afghanistan and Iraq).
A country in trouble after such a great Euro 2012 marketing push. The Ukraine has been for many years a global bread basket due to extensive fertile lands and is/was one of the worlds largest grain exporters. The population of the Ukraine is around 43 million and Kiev is its capital city. Over 20 million tourists use to visit the Ukraine (23 million during EURO 2012) Mostly from Eastern Europe Turkey and Israel. It is known as the cross roads between West and East Europe. After our visit to Auschwitz in Poland It was time for more pleasant times, we crossed into the Ukraine to watch the Dutch soccer team play in the Euro Championships, but this was short-lived as it never came past the first round, nevertheless Ukraine was a pleasant surprise after all the poor media it received. Nearly 20 million foreign people visit the Ukraine every year. It is at the cross roads between Central and Eastern Europe. Its Capital Kiev has many unique structures and broad boulevards the old city of L’viv with its cobblestone streets its medieval old town and unique architecture. Our destination was Kharkov a city which history started in the mid-17th century. Unfortunately, we never made it inside Chernobyl as bookings were required. From Kharkov it was only a short drive into Russia and our main destination Moscow.