Of all the historical events, eras, and sagas taught in grade school history classes, none is more rigorously discussed that the Second World War and, more specifically, the atrocities of the Holocaust. While I learned a great deal about topic during my formal education, sadly the vast majority of my knowledge developed solely out of a need to pass an exam. I remember hearing unbelievably emotional stories from friends who visited concentration camps such as Auschwitz and vowed to visit at least one of these camps during my lifetime. More than a simple social obligation, I felt the need to see Auschwitz with my own two eyes to gain a better understanding of the events that transpired in this region of the world. Since the poster child for atrocities committed during WWII - Auschwitz II Birkenau - is located just outside of Krakow, I could not leave Poland without a visit.
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