The Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp, near Berlin, was established in 1936 and played a significant role in the concentration camp system. Over 200,000 prisoners were deported here, many murdered. Today, the Sachsenhausen Memorial is a place of remembrance and learning, with a modern museum making history tangible.
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KZ Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp | | Beginning of a Dark Era in German History
The construction of the Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp in the summer of 1936 marked the beginning of a dark era in German history. Built by prisoners from the Emsland camps, a later discovered photo album meticulously documented the establishment phase of this institution. The architectural design of the camp, conceived by SS architects as an ideal concentration camp, aimed to reflect the worldview of the SS and subjugate the prisoners to the absolute power of the regime. The facility was symmetrically grouped around Tower A, which housed the SS camp administration, and besides the prisoner camp, it also accommodated an SS troop camp and extensive residential areas for senior SS personnel and their families.
Over the years, more than 200,000 people from around 40 nations were incarcerated in Sachsenhausen. The prisoners were political opponents of the Nazi regime and members of groups deemed racially or socially inferior by the Nazis. Thousands perished due to hunger, disease, forced labor, and abuse, while others fell victim to systematic extermination actions. Notably, the murder of at least 12,000 Soviet prisoners of war in the fall of 1941 and medical experiments on prisoners were among the cruel acts committed in the camp.
The dissolution of the camp occurred in April 1945, as the Red Army approached within a few kilometers. In the ensuing months, death marches were initiated, during which thousands of prisoners perished or were shot by the SS. After liberation by Allied forces, surviving prisoners were housed in barracks. The post-war period was marked by memorial events for the victims and investigations into the crimes committed by Soviet forensic experts. The Sachsenhausen Memorial and Museum continue to commemorate the dark past of the camp and serve as a place of remembrance and education about the atrocities of Nazism.
Sachsenhausen Memorial in the Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp
Since the 1960s, the site of the former camp has housed the Sachsenhausen Memorial and Museum, serving as a place of remembrance and learning. The institution follows a decentralized concept to allow visitors to experience history at authentic locations. Emphasizing the importance of remembering the victims, it educates about the horrors of the Holocaust and the lessons that can be drawn to ensure that such events never recur.
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