In America, it's not so easy to be close to recent history as it is in Europe. I felt it was important for the kids to learn a bit, so we headed out to spend the day at the Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp Memorial.
We caught the tour at the Zoo, which began with a train ride out to Oranienburg. We were lucky enough to change trains at the beautiful new Berlin Hauptbahnhof.
I love the angles of this space!
It was a pleasant ride out
Our guide, Jakov, had advised us to pick up sandwiches before we began, and it was a wise idea. We waited for a few minutes
taking Jakov's advice to sit whenever possible.
After a pleasant 20-minutes walk through the charming town, we arrived.
Jakov was an amazing guide, patiently, yet passionately explaining the history of Sachsenhausen.
Ruins of the Officer's Club
The front gates
Perhaps it was our guide's age, but he drew our kids in- the were totally "into" the whole trip.
Morning Roll call area
Markers are placed where each barracks stood.
Two barracks have been reconstructed
Inside as well as out.
Walls and guard towers are always present.
The prison within a prison.
In the distance is the Soviet Liberation Memorial, erected in 1961.
Down in the celler of the kitchen, talented artists used the walls to draw cartoons when they had the chance
Sachsenhausen was never an extermination camp, in the sense of Auschwitz, but executions were carried out here by firing squad.
But sadly, it is estimated that over 100,000 inmates did die in Sachsenhausen. The remains are buried in mass graves marked like this.
And, sadly, experiments in mass gassing did occur at Sachsenhausen, and remains of these facilities and the crematoria can be seen in a special area that was called "Station Z"
And, yes, medical experiments were also conducted on inmates in the medical wing.
It was quite a moving and reflective tour, and, if you ever get a chance to visit, do so.
Back in modern Berlin, we were glad to have a traditional German dinner that evening.
I don't think AJ expected such a big eisbein!!!
I can never pass up a schnitzel...
nor Grumpy Guy his wurst!