an American in Germany: a blog about culture, language, society
Friday, May 18, 2012
On Friday we went to the concentration camp Sachsenhausen (Oranienburg) just outside of Berlin. It was actually the first time I visited a concentration camp. Most of them are in the east, and I think all of the former death camps are in current-day Poland. It's telling evidence that the Nazis knew what they were doing was wrong when they tried to hide the majority of the killing from the German population, and destroy evidence as the war came to a close. Thousands of prisoners died in the last days of the war as the SS forced them on "death marches" to clear the camps. Many of the prisoners here were political prisoners, but there were also Jews, and in 1941 13,000-18,000 Soviet prisoners of war were interned and then killed here. The current museum/memorial site has a few of the barracks standing with museum exhibits inside, and a large memorial put up by the Soviets.