“Arbeit Macht Frei.” Those are the words that the prisoners saw upon entering the Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp. That is,“Work makes you free” (translated roughly) was the lie that welcomed those that came to Sachsenhausen at the ever dreaded Tower A.
Continue reading “Sachsenhausen”
This may be a little late, but our trip to Sachsenhausen was intense. A large amount of the camp was destroyed and most of the buildings are gone, but still some buildings remain and the history there will never go away. Going through the entrance of the camp at Gate A was powerful. Thinking about how many people saw and entered through that gate who would never leave the camp again caused me to tear up. The barbed wire, or at least the few sections that are still up, was rusted and the signs warning the prisoners to stay away were faded. The medical section of the camp gave some terrible stories. Continue reading “Always Learn From the Past”
When I learned about the Holocaust in history classes throughout middle and high school, I learned vague details that made it seem as if the Holocaust was just one simple point in history.
Continue reading “Remembering the Holocaust”
It was certainly enlightening to be able to visit both the holocaust museum and the Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp. These cites serve an important purpose, to honor the fallen and to warn us of past mistakes so that we might make better choices in the future. Walking through Berlin today, you would never have guessed at the horrors that happened here. The city has moved on, there are no signs pointing out famous WWII battle grounds or plaques commemorating events- just silent monuments and somber memorials.
Every time I take time to remember the events of the holocaust I am very sobered and reminded of the quote that roughly says, “one death is tragedy but a thousand deaths is only a number.” Continue reading “Holocaust Reflections”
Visiting the Holocaust museum and the Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp initially left me shocked at the horrors committed by the Germans against Jews, homosexuals, and other minorities. Initially I wanted to blame the German people for the Holocaust, but I must believe that the problem is deeper than that. For me it served as a display of sin’s hold on humanity and our desperate need for a savior. Unfortunately, this genocide, while extensive, is not unique. As long as we as humans remain “fallen short of the glory of God,” (Romans 3:23) we will continue to do evil against one another.
Even if the problem is not specific for the German people, there have certainly been historical consequences for Germany. This event has not only shaped the German stereotype, but was a factor in the Allies’ occupation of Germany following the end of WWII. People believed that Germany, after provoking two global wars and attempting to “ethnically cleanse” their nation, needed to be controlled, at least temporarily. Also, as a result of the war, most historical buildings in larger cities are damaged or destroyed, leaving a constant reminder to those passing by.
I realize that I could only scratch the surface of the true horrors that were experienced by those caught in the Holocaust. I also realize that although this experience was sad and dark, it was good experience as well. It gave me an objective view of an important time of recent history, as well as showing me the true depths of human sin and our desperate need for Jesus.
I find it extremely difficult to fully comprehend the events that happened during WWII. Despite the years of learning about the Holocaust in history classes, visiting the museum here in Berlin, and touring the Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp, I still struggle to understand how people could do such horrible things to others. However, being here in Germany has helped me digest the war and its effects. Continue reading “Understanding WWII”
During my time in high school and college I have had to read a fair amount of Holocaust literature. So in the first part of the museum there it was a timeline that I already knew fairly well. The rest of the museum was filled with personal stories of families and the destruction that the Holocaust caused. This part affected me quite a bit. Suddenly I could put myself in the shoes of a person who was unlikely to see the rest of their family ever again and likely lose their own life. The amount of suffering recorded was terrible.
At the Sachsenhausen Concentration camp I was confronted with a place that caused incomprehensible suffering. While there I walked up the the main gate tower that an officer would have stood to look out over the camp. It made me realize that the people who caused the suffering were real people. It also made me wonder how somebody could come to the state of mind where they believed it was right to cause so much suffering. Places like Sachsenhausen and the Holocaust museum are so important because they prevent something like the Holocaust from ever happening again. Despite being depressing experience, I would say that journeying to these places is something important for everyone to do.
During our trip to the Holocaust museum, I was surprised by the power that personal stories had. The Holocaust museum here in Berlin tells in detail the stories of families and individuals who suffered in the Holocaust. The stories of individuals helped me better empathize with the victims and made that time seem very real and very recent. As I spent those few hours in the stories of those people, I was overwhelmed by the grief and pain they endured. I have never been faced with someone else’s suffering in that personal kind of way.
Continue reading “The Holocaust Museum and Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp”
Both the holocaust museum and the Sachsenhausen concentration camp expressed the complete horror and destruction caused by the actions of Hitler and the Nazi party. Though through both you could feel the German peoples dislike for this subject, also was a clear want to make all its history known so something like this never happens again. One of the saddest parts was walking around the outside of the concentration camp where different people and groups could place grave stones for their fallen. These stones came in all shapes and sizes from large stone sculptures to one which was carved from a tree which used to stand at that location. These stones also came with inscriptions in all different languages, from Russian to Finnish, to German. There was only one that I found which was in English. It was for the British Expeditionary Force. The inscription ended with a verse. It read, “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. (John 5:13)”. To have the courage and love for your fellow countrymen to have the courage to be willing to go through the torture which these men went through in the concentration camps is beyond words.