Michael and Pam's Travels Our European Motorhome Adventures and other Travels

Brandenburg, Germany 2017 ๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ช

Travelled: 179 kilometres from Neustrelitz to Brandenburg, Germany.

Visited: Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp and Brandenburg

Stayed: Brandenburg Marina Stellplatz, โ‚ฌ10, water โ‚ฌ1. N52.41753, E12.56565

Leaving Neustrelitz we set the GPS for Oranienburg.  Its a bit of a slow drive, the 96 is probably a B road by German standards, single lane passing through the villages rather than around them.  We arrive in Oranienburg in time for a late lunch down on the canal.  Then we hit the Lidl for a few essentials.  Firstly we are close to Berlin and with any luck my favourite German beer is available at a Lidl price, which it is.  The Lidl has stock beers that are available in all its supermarkets but they also stock some local regional beers.  Although a bit expensive at โ‚ฌ0.69 for a 50cl by Lidl standards my personal favourite is Berliner Kindl.

Pam just doesn’t understand my affection for the BK.  Sometimes we are so different people.

From Oranienburg its only 3 kilometres on to Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp Museum. Similar to our experiences last year, the Germans build these huge museums but don’t make them easy to find.
Through the portals of the main gate, the haunting message to the victims ” Work set you Free”.  From the information provided, its seems Sachsenhausen was not part of the ‘final solution’ to the Jewish Question.  Its victims were communist, homosexuals, Gypsies, anti-facists and just general disidents.
Again from the outside, the main entry point to the camp. The camp was huge in the 1939-45 period extending in all directions. Built up to the town’s existing houses you do wonder what the local thought was happening in the fun-park. Perhaps the regular gunfire or perhaps the constraint smoke and smell of the incinerators raised concerns. We can only ponder.
There is only a short section of the old electric fence still intact, but the cinder block wall around the inner camp and all the towers are still in place. It seems Sachsenhausen was kept in use by the Russian to house German prisoners until the 1950’s then the GDR for political dissidents for a few years as well.
Four of the original barrack style huts (400 people per hut) are still sitting in place. The two hospital buildings are also still there.
Communal wash area within the barrack. Cold water only.
The old hospital buildings are now museums or information areas.

We find our visit to Sachsenhausen very confronting.  Whilst Belsen-Bergen places the responsibility on the national socialist (Nazi) for the murdering of the Jews.  It is less personal I think.  Sachsenhausen clearly states what happened here, it provides example of many different people, through images and documentation of why they where arrested through to their torture and death in most cases.  On a wider theme, Sachsenhausen is built on the edge of a town.  Local people lived in houses adjoining the walls and fences, it questions didn’t the local community know what was happening here.

The remnants of the crematorium can still be clearly seen. There was a gas chamber here as well.  From memory I think the figure of 160 bodies a day were cremated on average.
Finally the Russian Memorial to the victims stands on the far side of the complex.

Feeling a little overwhelmed by Sachsenhausen, we are glad to be back in the Hymer and one our way to Brandenburg.  The view from the marina stellplatz is very calming, we feed the ducks have a beer and glass of wine to unwind…

Michael and Pam

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