It’s hard to put into words. There really isn’t any proper way of putting it that can sufficiently describe, accurately portray, completely give the depth and entirety of what you see, hear, and feel walking through a concentration camp.

Some time ago, I was doing research on the end of World War II, particularly the Nuremberg Trials. In my research, I came across a file, a digitized version of one of the evidence films used in the prosecution of Nazi war criminals. This particular two-hour film was focused on the concentration camps. The film left nothing out. After a while, the horrors honestly became numbing, but what I never really got used to was watching the live people in the film. Their faces, expressions, body language, was so real. I’d seen pictures of the concentration camps, both during and after their use, but for some reason those pictures feel like from a book, like it belongs in history class and nowhere else. Watching these people come to life in film though- watching them move, talk, and feel -made them so much more real to me.The joy and relief of some women who didn’t have the strength to stand up, but enough strength to smile at their rescuers. The numb shell-shock of some survivors. The slow and horrifying realization of locals who knew something was happening at the “camp” down the road, but didn’t know the extent of the disgusting evils.

Continue reading “It”

Sins of the Past

Going to the Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp was very interesting, but incredibly sobering. It makes one wonder how people are capable of doing such terrible things to each other. Most concerning of all is how it was a gradual process. It wasn’t so bad at first, just strongly encouraging people to leave. Then people were forced out of the country and eventually arresting and sent to their deaths. All the while, the German people were fed propaganda and indoctrinated in the Nazi regime’s ideology.

The results of those terrible events can still be seen today. The German people are very averse to strong nationalism. It may very well be why the new right wing nationalist movements in Europe don’t seem to be gaining and hold in Germany.

It affects things more subtly as well. There are gold colored plaques throughout Berlin that mark the locations of Jewish families that were forced from their homes and businesses. Just as the plaques are present, but not advertised, the Holocaust museum in is under the radar as well. There is a field of rectangular stone slabs. In the monument park lies the entrance to the museum under the field. There are no signs or advertisements, but it is there.

I don’t think the German people will ever forget about what their country did in the past, but maybe one day they won’t be burdened by the guilt.


Visiting Sachsenhausen was a moving experience. Upon entering the camp, and going up the the main gates, the thing that struck me the most were the words, “Arbeit macht frei.” I imagined what it must have been like to walk through those gates and see those words, knowing that you might never leave that place alive. I think Germany does a good job of remembering the evils that took place in their country in the past without bringing them to the forefront of everyday life. The camp is there, and it is not hidden, but at the same time it is not advertised around the city. I think that this is relevant to life in America today, with the controversies surrounding the removal of Confederate icons that represent a certain heritage to some but pain and suffering to others.

Reflections on Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp

On one of our weekend trips, we visited the Sachenhausen Concentration Camp. It was a very interesting trip as we were able to tour around the restored campgrounds. We were able to read about how the Nazi and the Soviet officers treated their prisoners and how life was for prisoners as well.

This trip was very sobering as well. I personally was struck at how people can have so much hatred for others. I understand that wars can be necessary at times and in wars, there are prisoners. What I can’t understand is the underlying hatred that was directed toward these prisoners. They had to endure so much and no shred of humanity was even shown to them. It simply amazes me how someone can have this much hatred towards another that lead them to torturing them this much.

Better Late than Never

I was supposed to write a blog about Sachsenhausen after I went to see it. That was over two weeks ago, and I still haven’t written anything out. I guess I just don’t want to talk about it. It was a very powerful experience and it made me realize just how forgettable my life is to others. Walking through the camp I realized how many people were there, and how many people died there. At many of the camps and museums, there are several stories of people who did not survive the horrors of the Holocaust. Thousands upon thousands of people whose life is summarized into a paragraph. Continue reading “Better Late than Never”

Reflections on The Concentration Camp at Sachsenhausen

Recently I visited one of the many concentration camps that were used during World War II. There was a lot of history to a place like that. Each students was given an audio tour and  I spent my time just standing in the middle of the camp and listening to all of the stories that were there to be heard. Throughout the trip I constantly questioned how anyone could ever justify the evil actions that were done in concentration camps, even if they thought that it could be beneficial to their country. Continue reading “Reflections on The Concentration Camp at Sachsenhausen”

Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp

When we were in school, we all learned about the horrible events that occurred during the Holocaust. We learned of Hitler and his hatred for Jews. We learned that millions of innocent people were slaughtered for no good reason.

But these are Just facts.

To fully (or at most partially) understand the events that took place during that period means taking a visit to one of the locations where it all happened. Continue reading “Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp”