July 8, 2012

Sachsenhausen



Yesterday, a small group of us took the subway to Sachsenhausen, a concentration camp turned museum in Oranienburg. It's hard to put something like this into words and have it do any justice to the thoughts and emotions you feel stepping into a place that used to be full of so much death, hatred, and torture.

Entrance of Sachsenhausen



Only a few buildings in the camp were preserved. The rest of them were marked off by strips of gravel, so the site was pretty bare and open.


A couple of the barracks were still standing, so we were able to go inside. It's so inhumane to think that 250 people shared one tiny building, had 30 minutes to wash before roll call (yes, all 250 had to bathe in 30 minutes), and could only use the bathroom twice a day - in the morning and in the evening.



Many prisoners were drowned by SS troops in the washrooms.



There was also a prison at Sachsenhausen where prisoners who tried to protest had to stay. Part of me thinks staying in the jailhouse would be better than being in the barracks. At least you'd have a cell to yourself, right?


In 1942 "Station Z" was built, and it was used for extermination purposes. When it was opened 96 prisoners were killed by shooting. Then in 1943 a gas chamber was added to "Station Z," and it was used until the end of the war.



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