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8 travelers at this place

  • Day5


    March 10, 2019 in Germany ⋅ 🌧 6 °C

    First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out
    Because I was not a socialist.

    Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out
    Because I was not a trade unionist.

    Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out
    Because I was not a Jew.

    Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

    - Niemöller - Protestant Priest and prisoner at Sachsenhausen
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  • Day56

    Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp

    July 1, 2017 in Germany ⋅ 🌧 17 °C

    The Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp lies 45 minutes by train outside of Berlin and was part of the Nazi Regime of the Third Reich. As a concentration camp, it was marketed as a labor camp where prisoners who were perceived as detrimental to the German community were taken to work for their freedom. This included thieves, political resistance groups, homosexuals, Jews, Jehovah Witnesses, anyone against the German ideal. We walked the path that prisoners took as they were offloaded from the train, paraded through the town, declothed, stamped with their identity code and labeled with a coloured triangle depending on their rank of crime. Jews wore a yellow triangle depicting the worst crime, homosexuals wore a pink triangle and communists or politicians wore a red triangle. It was an incredibly eerie feeling walking through Tower A which was the main viewing point for the SS army. On the gates is etched "work sets you free" in German which could be interpreted as work hard and you'll be set free but in reality, freedom was in fact death. The grounds of the concentration camp are huge which highlights just how many people were held here. We visited some of the old barracks, kitchen, infirmary and solitary confinement unit. The most heart-wrenching part was Station Z - a site built where prisoners were led to believe they were receiving medical treatments but in fact without knowing it, were shot in the back on the neck before being cremated. More than 10,000 people were killed at Station Z and there is no way to know the exact total number but the four mass graves nearby suggest there were thousands and thousands of more deaths. It was a really depressing day realizing the magnitude of Hitler's horrendous reign as leader of the Nazi party during the Third Reich but also a truly humbling experience to see first hand the site of Sachsenhausen. As I walked through the grounds, it's hard not to think about how a lot of the issues are still happening in today's society - North Korea, Iraq, Syria for example and even the multiple attempts of genocide that followed the Nazi regime like in Rwanda and Armenia. It's moments like today where I truly value living in New Zealand, the equality and equity we experience (in most areas) and the unity we share as Kiwis.Read more

  • Day52

    Berlin - Sachsenhausen

    September 21, 2015 in Germany ⋅ ⛅ 16 °C

    After the slightly saddening walking tour yesterday, we decided to go full on losing-faith-in-humanity mode with a tour of Sachsenhausen concentration camp. This was one of the main concentration camps used by the Nazis, but you don't hear about it as much as others because instead of being liberated by the Allies, it was liberated and reused by the Soviets for their own political prisoners. The former administration for all concentration camps and the SS training buildings were nearby too.

    Sachsenhausen was a sort of experimental camp, where, in addition to various "medical experiments" testing the various limits of human bodies (oxygen deprivation, freezing, drugs, ...), they experimented with more efficient ways to lay out the camp (fanning out from a central point so a mounted machine gunner could see everywhere), and ways of killing people (an elaborate fake health check-up so they could efficiently shoot non-resisting people and minimise traumatising the shooter).

    I think it was the methodical planning and efficiency for murdering and torturing people that really got to me after a while. It was kind of disturbing, but will definitely be something I remember and appreciate having seen.
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    Overview of triangular, fanned-out main complex


    Most of the housing was gone in the main complex area, with just stone marking where they were.


    Firing squad area (too inefficient on bullets, too traumatising for shooters)


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