To me, this photo is quite describing of the feeling I get when I am in some parts of Auschwitz-Birkenau. The barracks are long gone, destroyed or looted for building materials after the liberation of the camp in January 1945.
The prisoners and guards are gone, leaving almost nothing else than the foundations of the buildings. The voices are also gone. Not only physically, but also metaphorically. The few survivors from each barrack are dead, or soon to be.
I don’t know the age of this tree or even if it was there before the camp was built. Now it represents a quiet witness to all that have occurred on that ground. It must be green and beautiful in the summer, with its enormous crown.
I imagine the prisoners looking on the tree and feeling some kind of freedom. On the other hand there were probably no trees inside the camp. There are none to be seen in the pictures I have seen from the war.
This is the true feeling of Birkenau. So enormous, but oh so quiet…