Visiting a Concentration Camp: Sachsenhausen

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Those who are looking for a powerful experience, those looking to find closure or those seeking an understanding about the Holocaust should take the opportunity to visit one of the concentration camps still standing in Europe today.

Arbeit Macht Frei, Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp

Sachsenhausen by robertpaulyoung

While an experience visiting a concentration might be heavily emotional, it allows many people the opportunity to ponder historical mistakes and to commit themselves to make larger strides in the future.

For a small glimpse into Nazi Germany and the Holocaust, some travelers visit the Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp located just outside of Berlin. The camp is smaller, in comparison to Dachau or Auschwitz, but it provides a very strong visual representation of a gruesome chapter of human history. Most everything in the camp still stands today as it did over 60 years ago. Travelers can visit the entire camp, including the gas chambers, the barracks and the infirmary.

Both Dachau and Auschwitz are busier with more travelers on a daily basis – probably because they are larger and more well-known. I preferred my visit to Sachsenhausen because the camp is hardly ever bombarded by a crowd – in fact, the two times I visited was rather empty and almost eerie. Having less tourists around gave me a better opportunity to think and learn.

Many travelers don’t know that Sachsenhausen exists such a short drive outside of Berlin. There are a handful of informational exhibits throughout the camp. These exhibits provide an excellent insight into the workings of the camp. Visitors will read personal experiences and see documents and photos left behind of the camp. However, these exhibits are only offered in German.

Entrance is free to Sachsenhausen. This attraction exists for the sole purpose of providing future generations with a glimpse into the past. Depending on a traveler’s interest level, visiting the camp takes anywhere from a few hours to a half day. Some find the experience to be overwhelming and are unable to visit the entire grounds of the camp.

It may feel uncomfortable to visit Sachsenhausen, however most travelers find the experience to be very powerful and even life-changing. For any history buff or traveler interested in societal/cultural issues, this attraction should be included during a visit to Berlin.

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