A Travellerspoint blog

24 July 2015

Berlin, day 1 of 3

all seasons in one day
View Europe 2015 on OhMissLia's travel map.

After an uneventful early-morning train journey on a very fast train...

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...we arrived on Friday morning to the very pleasant discovery that our hotel was awesome! They let us check in right away, and the rooms were comfortable and most of us even had a decent view. Saskia and I, however, did not. Oh, well.

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Then it was time to visit Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp. I had very sore feet and had already visited the very similar Dachau, so I didn’t explore as much as I might have otherwise.

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Sign showing the route of the "death march" that cost thousands of lives when inmates were forced to evacuate Sachsenhausen.
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The kitchen area is covered in political cartoons like this. Hans Fischerkoesen, known as "Germany's Walt Disney" was an inmate at Sachsenhausen for not wanting to get too cozy with the Nazis. He decorated the kitchen area with "funny" cartoons that were actually very rebellious statements. Hans' fascinating story (he survived and had an incredible career) can be read at http://www.awn.com/mag/issue1.7/articles/moritz1.7.html.
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The secrets of this building were not specified, but I found it compelling.
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Original barbed wire along the original enclosure wall that separated inmates from SS personnel barracks.
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I spent a good amount of time in a small room in one of the barracks that had served as “home” for eleven boys and young men aged 11-23. They were hand-picked upon their arrival in Auschwitz to serve as guinea pigs for some of the medical experiments conducted at Sachsenhausen. At one point, the boys were scheduled for death, but were saved by the heroic actions of the medical assistants—the interesting part is that the boys, who all survived the camp, did not know who had saved them until a reunion fifty years later.

There were video interviews of the survivors taken 50-60 years after liberation (although, technically, Sachsenhausen wasn't "liberated," it was abandoned via death march--the very sick were left behind and discovered by Russians and Poles a few days later). I watched and listened as they described the men that conducted the experiments, both the willing and the forced. They described the room they lived in—the very room I was sitting in. My eyes went to the window when the man described how they would look out the window, and how the view was only of the side of the next barracks building a few feet away (the area is now cleared; there are only foundations visible behind this room). When the man talked about their single sink and mirror, I easily found the place on the wall where they used to be—like a house in renovation, there were holes where the pipes used to be and the outline of where the mirror had been hung.

The tiled area is where the sink/mirror used to be.
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A drawing by one of the boys while at the camp, depicting an SS official holding a gun on inmates, saying, "Work sets you free." The inmates are digging holes, likely pits for crematorium ashes.
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After Sachsenhausen, we rested a bit then went for dinner (without a doubt, the very best Indian food I have ever had, YUM!) and a stroll.

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If you zoom in, you can see that these posters across the river are for the celebration of 25 years of reunification.
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The stroll was a relaxing way to end a long day, and provided a great taste of what else Berlin had to offer us in the coming weekend. :)

Posted by OhMissLia 08:51 Archived in Germany Tagged germany berlin summer_2015 24_july

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Comments

Beautiful and interesting pictures. Love the personal observations, thoughts, and detail. Also appreciate the links, leading me to interesting things I never knew.

by Lani Kai

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