Michelle, Mary, and I were the only ones who wanted to visit the concentration camp closest to Berlin. We met at 9:30 and it took us two hours to get to the city of Orangienburg! It was definitely a bit farther than I was anticipating, but it was worth the trip. We ate lunch, I got gelato, and we came back to wait for the start of our tour at 2:30 PM.
There was hardly anyone there! It was kind of nice to have the entire camp to ourselves (just about at least). We combined the English and Spanish tours because we didn’t have enough for each one and the Spanish-speakers were bilingual.
Although the grand majority of the camp no longer exists, they did a good job of giving the impression that something terrible happened here. I was expecting to be emotional, but I didn’t shed a single tear. Instead, I left feeling like I wanted to learn more about the camp and ones like it. I also can’t understand how the SS could do such horrible things to other human beings. That’s what I really can’t wrap my head around. Although mass shootings occurred and a small gas chamber existed on the campgrounds, most prisoners were worked to death instead of murdered. It was also interesting that most prisoners at the camp were part of opposition groups—only a small portion were Jewish. I also learned that Sachsenhausen had an office that essentially controlled what happened at the other camps, such as disciplinary action, types of work, methods of murder/torture, etc. Although it wasn’t as big as Auschwitz, horrible acts against humankind were committed on these grounds.
I’m really pleased with my decision to visit the concentration camp. There truly is nothing like this in America, or even anywhere else in the world. I would definitely want to visit more in the future, as I will definitely be coming back to Europe.