"Sobering Sachsenhausen" Top 5 Page for this destination Oranienburg by grishaV1

Oranienburg Travel Guide: 71 reviews and 303 photos

There are more than one town or place in Germany named Sachsenhausen, but I think this is the first one people think about. The place for the concentration camp where so many people died. My partner and I visited this place. He had wanted to see it a long time as its a subject he writes about, and having visited similar places in the far east Russia where we used to live.

Construction is being done on the premises and surrounds and when you get off from the bus that drops you in front you dont see anything. You wonder if you come to the right place. From the street you can see no sign or anything, only a cafe stupidly in front of where you enter.

Sasha wanted to visit in winter, only in winter he said, because that was one of the cruelest time for the prisoners and he wanted to be there then and see no green grass or blue sky only grey and cold....and as on this day raining mixed with ice and snow.

It is sobering to know that under the regime that created such places we would automatically have been killed even before the concentration camps came into being. We are Russian and gay, too terrible strikes against us for the Nazi regime. But to me as I walked, everyone who died or was forced to be here are my brothers and sisters forever. Remember always it was Nazis and their sympathizers, not all necessarily Germans or all German people participated. That makes a great difference.

What Visiting Taught Me

My feelings, I had read about the history of such places like Sachsenhausen in school, had seen television programming and films which gave stories of what happened here. Stories of courage and endurance or cruelty and death. But still I was noncommital to go, it was not a burning need in me like for my partner. It was not a pilgrammage for me. We chose to take the longer route by train there, longer but with less stops. We was mostly on the train those going just to see the concentration camp, people with cameras and tripods looking at research notes or whatever. There was little chatter.

The feeling once we got to Oranienburg was strange to me. Of course we had to ask for directions, which bus to take, where to stop, and when we did people´s faces went empty expression. They gave you the information you needed but careful to give nothing away of what it cost them, or express how they felt that people came to their town, a place they might really like just to see parts of the awful past. They went jolly again if you ask them about the weather, or where a good place to have a beer, but you don´t forget how pained they looked just for that split second when you said Sachsenhausen.

How does it feel to live there I wondered? On the street that ends with the concentration camp, how does it feel to live just a few steps away from where so many people died? Its said that some who lived around the camp back then didn´t really know what was going on inside. Several thousands of people going in a door and not coming back out again, how can it be missed? But its not for me to doubt. Many of the ones who live in Oranienburg now were not even born then.

My feelings changed after I went in and in this day and age was allowed to come back out. I had made the trip just for something to do along with Sasha. I walked around with anger growing in me, never saddness. Being sad won´t bring back any of the dead, but feeling outrage and anger about what happened can help me make every effort to not let it happen again in the future. I came out very sobered. I came out very determined. I came out still loving mankind, still hating evil, but not hating individuals. It´s an important place. A hard lesson but we have to all make it worthwhile to our earth and learn from what happened. These were enormous crimes, horrible, but they began with simple negative thoughts like, "they are different from us", "we should have a place just for us", "so and so people or religion are wrong. we are right."

Pros and Cons
  • In a nutshell:If you can, everyone must go. These were extreme crimes against humanity, but such begins with simple thoughts like "they are different from me". Stop even the smallest prejudices.
  • Last visit to Oranienburg: Jan 2004
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Reviews (10)

Comments (8)

  • Greggor58's Profile Photo
    Oct 27, 2008 at 8:01 PM

    Grisha... Ive never read this page before...The day I visited here it was cold and dreary also...and so unbelievable...so surreal.. reading this tonight...I remember again.. Thank You...

  • Docu2001's Profile Photo
    Jun 4, 2008 at 9:29 PM

    Nicely written introduction.

  • HotelMan's Profile Photo
    Oct 18, 2005 at 1:02 AM

    It's difficult for me to imagine the feelings that must engulf you in a place with such a dark, tragic history. I've never visited any of the concentration camps, but I think I understand the heaviness of the many emotions. Thanks for sharing, Grigorii.

  • roamer61's Profile Photo
    Apr 9, 2005 at 2:32 PM

    One of the lesser known concentration camps, yet just as bad as the others. Good page. PS: Thanks for your comments grish

  • advantix's Profile Photo
    Jan 9, 2005 at 12:36 PM

    Just thoughts !

  • nepalgoods's Profile Photo
    Dec 8, 2004 at 9:27 AM

    *** no words ***

  • pepples46's Profile Photo
    Sep 14, 2004 at 9:24 PM

    yes, it is sobering we need to remember!!

  • awayhome's Profile Photo
    Feb 3, 2004 at 6:20 AM

    look so interesing, hope to visit someday, great page!!!


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