Saturday, June 9, 2012


I can now add a 60th country - Lithuania (my fourth new country this year) - to my list of countries where I have slept at least one montionless night:
  1. UK
  2. Malta
  3. Canada
  4. U.S.A.
  5. Austria
  6. Saint Lucia
  7. Tunisia
  8. France
  9. The Netherlands
  10. Cuba
  11. Egypt
  12. Eritrea
  13. Czech Republic
  14. Hungary
  15. Ukraine
  16. Portugal
  17. Saudi Arabia
  18. Germany
  19. Guinea
  20. Sierra Leone
  21. Bosnia and Herzegovina
  22. Switzerland
  23. Ethiopia
  24. Somaliland (Somalia)
  25. Djibouti
  26. Azerbaijan
  27. Kenya
  28. United Arab Emirates
  29. Afghanistan
  30. Pakistan
  31. Australia
  32. Brazil
  33. Thailand
  34. Malaysia
  35. Cambodia
  36. Ireland
  37. India
  38. Nepal
  39. Liberia
  40. Ireland
  41. Belgium
  42. Cyprus
  43. Turkey
  44. Sri Lanka
  45. Bulgaria
  46. Romania
  47. China
  48. Italy
  49. Norway
  50. Dominican Republic
  51. Haiti
  52. Russia
  53. South Korea
  54. Myanmar
  55. Mexico 
  56. Central African Republic
  57. Cameroon
  58. Iceland
  59. Poland
  60. Lithuania

Countries I have technically visited but which do not qualify with one motionless night:

  1. Croatia (airport transfer in Zagreb)
  2. Japan (airport transfer in Tokyo)
  3. Monaco (for lunch)
  4. Martinique (day trip from St. Lucia)
  5. South Africa (airport transfer in Johannesburg)
  6. Slovakia (crossed twice at night by train)
  7. Spain (crossed twice at night by train)
  8. Sudan (airport transfer in Khartoum)
  9. Holy See (museum and St. Peter's square visit)
  10. Panama (airport transfer in Panama City)

Sunday, June 3, 2012


Today I toured the German concentration camps at Auschwizt (real name Oświęcim) in Poland.

Current scholarly estimates of the inmates include 1.3 million people, around 90 percent of them Jews, as well as 150,000 Poles, 23,000 Roma and Sinti, 15,000 Soviet prisoners of war, some 400 Jehovah's Witnesses and tens of thousands of people of diverse nationalities.  Those not killed in the gas chambers generally died of starvation, forced labor, infectious disease, individual executions, and medical experiments.

About 20,000 (of 60,000) inmates survived a forced march away from the oncoming Soviets in January 1945.  About 7,500 remaining inmates were liberated by the Soviets in the camp.

Please see the Wikpedia article 'Auschwitz concentration camp'.

Auschwitz I (Stammlager or base camp)

Arbeit macht frei ("work makes free")

Zyklon B

Among the artifacts of automated murder found by the Russians were 348,820 men's suits and 836,255 women's garments.

Thousands were executed against this (reconstructed) wall for crimes such as stealing bread.

At least 60,000 people were gassed to death here.

They were efficiently cremated here.

 Auschwitz II–Birkenau (Vernichtungslager or extermination camp)

'Gate of death'

Wagons such as these transported 80 people without food or water for days.

Hungarian Jews on the Judenrampe (Jewish ramp) after disembarking from the transport trains, to be sent rechts! – to the right – meant labor; links! – to the left – the gas chambers. Photo from the Auschwitz Album (May 1944)  [Museum photo caption from Wikipedia]

Crematorium II where more than 20,000 people could be gassed and cremated each day.  Hundreds of thousands of people, mostly jews but also The gas chambers of Birkenau were blown up by the SS in January 1945 in an attempt to hide the German crimes from the advancing Soviet troops. 

If someone did manage to escape, the SS would pick 10 people at random from the prisoner's block and starve them to death.

Each of the three levels of each bunk unit slept seven people.