So today is D-Day, and it got me thinking back to my adventures in Germany. I spent most of my time in Berlin but did manage to get out to Sachsenhausen-Oranienburg for a Day Trip. It was one of my more somber and memorable adventures so I decided it would be a timely tribute to share it with you here.
First the Facts;
More than 200,000 people were imprisoned in the Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp between 1936 and 1945. At first the prisoners were mostly political opponents of the Nazi regime. However, increasing numbers of members of groups defined by the National Socialists as racially or biologically inferior were later included. By 1939 large numbers of citizens from the occupied European states arrived. Tens of thousands of people died of starvation, disease, forced labor and mistreatment, or were victims of the systematic extermination operations of the SS. Thousands of other prisoners died during the death marches following the evacuation of the camp at the end of April 1945.
The infamous phrases "Arbeit Macht Frei" mounted on the entrance wrought-iron gate. This German phrase meaning "work makes (you) free". Was placed over the entrances to a number of Nazi concentration camps during World War II.
Barracks No. 38 and No. 39.
Both Barracks were damaged in 1992 during an anti-Semitic arson attack
On January 31, 1942, the SS forced a team of inmates to build the so-called “Station Z” in a section of the industrial yard. This new installation was built solely for the extermination of the prisoners. On May 29th, 1942, the SS invited dozens of high ranked Nazi officials for the inauguration of the new installation. In order to illustrate its effectiveness and efficiency, 96 Jews were shot execution style. The name Station Z was intended to be a joke, according to the Memorial Site built their in later years, because the entrance to the camp was through Building A, which was the gate house, and Station Z was the exit from the camp for those who were executed.