Sachsenhausen Germany: Impressions in Black and White
By Natalie Cincotta – Natalie is a GlobaLinks Learning Abroad 2013 Fall Correspondent who is studying abroad at Freie Universität Berlin, Germany. She is from Northern Illinois University.
Natalie Cincotta – Fall 2013 GlobaLinks Learning Abroad Correspondent
The unimaginable atrocities committed by the Nazi regime against Jews, political opponents, the disabled and other groups deemed “undesirable” is something I have only encountered in books. It is one thing to read about it, to study it, to research it, but something entirely different to see it in person. This is why studying abroad is so important: it adds that personal, first-hand experience to what you know.
Sachsenhausen is in the town of Oranienberg, only a hour train ride from central Berlin. The site today is quite large, yet only represents only 15% of the original camp in its entirety, not including 100 satellite camps. After you walk through the gates of the watchtower, past the iron wrought ‘Arbeit Macht Frei’ sign, you are standing in the roll call area, which was surrounded by a semi-circle of prisoner barracks. Straight ahead lies a memorial, and the Soviet special camp behind it. To the right you can walk into the pathology barracks and the prison, and to the left are the infirmary, mass graves, and ‘Station Z’ crematorium and gas chamber.
Visiting such a place is difficult to explain, so I hope to leave you with an impression of what I saw in photographs I took at the site.