Our third day in Berlin saw us gather with a small group totalling five people, meeting at 10am for our next tour with a difference. We were off to visit Sachsenhausen. The Sachsenhausen Camp was most prominently used during the second world war as part of Hitler’s regime. It also served as the model camp during the Holocaust, used to structure the other concentration camps – this being one of the first to be formed.
After an introduction to David – who has been a tour guide in Berlin for over three years – it was clear that he was insightful and keen to share his knowledge. He’s clearly dedicated to the history of Germany having devoted his degree and PHD towards the subject.
The tour starts with taking the S1 train north to Orangienburger in Brandenburg in Zone C where we walked for around fifteen minutes to the memorial site of Sachsenhausen Memorial Camp. After an introduction to German history by David with background about the existence of the Camp, we were shown around the site taking in sites such as:
- Barracks where prisoners were held in groups of up to 400 people (originally built to hold less then half that capacity). A couple remain in existence that are reconstructions of the original bunkers.
- Solitary confinement cells where prisoners were sent for further isolation from the rest of the camp.
- Station Z, the location of the crematorium and to test the ‘best method’ for killing high numbers of victims.
The tour lasts for around six hours taking you around the whole camp and learning a great deal about those that spent their years in sufferance. It is very moving and poignant, highlighting the capabilities of humans as you stand in the very spot where such atrocities occurred.
The photos below summarise the camp as it stand today.
Overall I found the tour to be educational but disturbing as I tried to understand how such actions could happen. It’s difficult to imagine such a time when that was occurring, yet it wasn’t all that long ago.
- Bring water for the journey, it’s a tiring day with much time outside.
- Wear good walking shoes.
- Wrap up warm if visiting during winter – we experienced temperatures of minus 6 and more with snow. Thermal wear is recommended.
- Have a Zone A, B, C travel pass for this particular tour, although add-on tickets are available at a small cost from the tour guide.
Sincere thanks to Expedia UK and readers of the Ad-lib Traveller for providing this opportunity for me to visit Berlin, Germany.