Finally, in a room near the end of the tour, is The Book of Names, a document painstakingly compiled that aims to preserve the identities of as many of the people killed by the Nazis as is possible. The Book of Names is about the length of a bus and each page is approximately three feet high. I find two pages full of the Rajchmans I will never know.
It is no surprise to be moved by these things but it is left to chance exactly what will get you and when. For me, it is the room with wall-to-wall projections of black and white films of Jewish families going about their day-to-day business before the war. The contrast of these scenes of bustling life against a backdrop of a place like this hits with some force. And though the Nazis were keen not to document the actual gas chambers, there are photographs, from something known as The Auschwitz Album, of people from Hungary and Lodz straight out of the cattlecars, waiting on a grass verge for their turn in the "shower". The look of hope on their faces is devastating.