Germany Concentration Camp Pictures

I went to Berlin a couple weeks ago. I have a lot of pictures, but I think the concentration camp ones deserve their own posting. The rest should come up in a couple weeks after I’m done traveling for my break.

First a little background about this concentration camp. I don’t remember the name, I’ll look it up when I go back to my room and post that later, maybe tommorow. This camp was one of the first ones to start operating and mostly housed politcal prisoners to be used for labor in the nearby factory, though other types were here as well. Due to this kind of focus it made sense to have a camp like this near the city. There’s actually houses right next to the camp, most of which were built before World War II. After the war ended this part of Germany was under communist control and the prison was again used to house politcal prisoners until the 1960s when the first memorials were built here.

The first two pictures are actually from the Jewish museum in Berlin, but I think they kind of fit in with this so I included them here. The museum has a kind of interesting design. The entrance goes to a long hall leading the the main exhibits on Jewish history. But cutting across it are two other hallways that also intersect with each other. One is called the hall of exile with information about how Jews escaped from the holocaust. It leads to a garden at the end, shown below.

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It actually is a little crooked. The idea was to make a person feel disoriented here, so the ground is a very steep slope. The columns are filled with ground from different countries that accepted Jewish refugees, as well as from Isreal. There are also willow trees growing out of the columns. The next picture is from the other hall, the hall of the Holocaust. At the end is this room, which is an empty concrete room with the only light coming from a small slit, which is what this picture is.

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This picture is taken along the path leading up to the gate. This was actually the same way the prisoners were brought to the camp. That’s one of the guard towers on the left. To the right, but not in the picture, was housing for the SS guards and their families. Apparantly those buildings are now used as a police academy, something which is kind of controversial there.

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This is the main gate of the camp. The clock still shows the exact time the Russian army arrived since they shot at the clock tower and it was never repaired.

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A closer picture of the gate. It says “Work makes you free”. It was meant to motivate the prisoners to see this everyday when they would return from the factory.

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This is just inside the gate, where the prisoners were made to line up every day to be counted. The wall was built in the 60s as part of the memorial. It is at the edge of where the buildings used to be, and from closer up there are outlines of the buildings built into the wall. Just in front of the wall are patches of ground with different surfaces. Prisoners were made to run on them all day as a way to test different kinds of boots that were made in the city for the army.

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This is the site where the cremation furnaces were, though not much is still visible now, just the foundation of the building. I could see the ovens a little, but it didn’t show up in the picture. The construction is taking place to build a museum on this site. Even though this camp wasn’t an execution camp, a lot of people still died here, the guide said about 2 tons of ashes were found after the Russians arrived.

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This is in the only building with living quarters that is still standing. It shows the area where the beds were. About 200 people were crammed into this building.

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This is one of the cells for important prisoners, or prisoners of war that might be traded for German prisoners. These ones didn’t have to work, but they were kept cells like this all day instead.

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This was the other monument built by the communists in the 1960s. It can also be thought of as a monument to the problems with the communist government. The reason is because of the red triangles, this was the symbol for communist prisoners of the camp. The communist government never really acknowledged that there were even any prisoners here for other reasons. Apparently even well known Jews were refered to as political prisoners.

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I had to think a little bit whether or not to include this picture, since this building was probably the hardest to be in, instead I decided to leave it as the last picture. It is the pathology building, where a lot of experiments were performed. The guide said he isn’t comfortable going inside, so this was actually when I came back after the tour with two other people. After going in I could understand why he would feel that way. I think the hardest thing was just the fact that it is kept pretty much as it was. The other buildings that remain had displays with information; this one had just one with a little information for people who wouldn’t know what kind of experiments the Nazis were actually doing. That authentic character of the building was very disturbing, as if the ideas of what was going on here weren’t disturbing enough.

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The trip out here was one of the most interesting experiences of going to Berlin. That’s not really a good word, but I have trouble coming up with a way to describe it. The sense of actually being in a place like this is much more intense than could ever be experienced by reading about it. I hope the pictures can convey some of that, but I really doubt it.

6 Responses to “Germany Concentration Camp Pictures”


Andy, very well done.

Susan - October 24th, 2004 at 12:23 pm

Very powerful pictures & comments

Ed & Gloria - October 24th, 2004 at 1:15 pm

It would do us all good to get this kind of education. We pray that we never see this again.

Dad - October 24th, 2004 at 1:38 pm

Good work, Andy! Very interesting!

Jörgen & Bertil Gustavsson - October 25th, 2004 at 10:17 am

The name of the camp is Sachsenhausen

mcmillan - October 26th, 2004 at 5:25 pm

i thought the picture showed every thing right. good work!!! and i hope to go see it one day.

Eyerus - April 21st, 2005 at 12:34 pm

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