The Invention Of Hell Sachsenhausen Tour - Berlin Experiences

The Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp

 

The Invention Of Hell

Most people, when asked about Nazi camps, would point East – to the extermination camps that gained notoriety through the Holocaust: to AuschwitzTreblinkaMajdanek etc.

The truth is, however, that these camps came relatively late in the history of the Third ReichTheir predecessors – the concentration camps – such as Sachsenhausen, were constructed within Nazi Germany in the 1930s.

Devised as a so-called ‘protective custody camp’ to house political prisoners, Sachsenhausen grew to become not only the nucleus of the entire Nazi concentration camp industry; but also a proving ground for the methods and practices that would lead to the ultimate horror of industrial mass murder and genocide.

Sachsenhausen prisoners at the Tower A entrance/Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-78612-0002 / Unknown author / CC-BY-SA 3.0

Visit The Nucleus Of The Nazi Concentration Camp Industry

Despite the passage of time, the Tower A entrance to the Sachsenhausen Camp Memorial – emblazoned with its infamous “Arbeit Macht Frei” lettering – still stands as a threshold to another domain.

Missing are the sights, sounds, and smells of casual brutality. Instead of the cramped suffocating architecture of totalitarianism, a vast open field graced with rows of stone markers – where barracks houses once stood – exists in its place.

Constructed by the Nazis, inherited by the Soviet authorities, and transformed into a memorial by the East German government –Sachsenhausen is a startling example of how different regimes chose to use the same land for purposes of punishment and propaganda.

Sachsenhausen prisoners at roll call/Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-78612-0008 / CC-BY-SA 3.0

Tour Sites

  • The Tower A Entrance
  • The New Museum (Constructed By The East German Government)
  • The ‘Green Monster’ Canteen Building
  • The Infamous “Arbeit Macht Frei” Gate
  • The Appelplatz Roll Call Area
  • The Jewish barracks
  • The Special SS/Gestapo Prison
  • The Isolation Barracks
  • The Former Kitchen Barrack
  • The Execution Yard
  • The Industrial Yard/Foundations Of Station Z
  • The Site Of The Sachsenhausen Gas Chamber
  • The Crematorium Site
  • The NKVD/KGB Camp
  • The Pathology Building
  • The Hospital Building
  • The Site Of The Camp Brothel
  • The International Memorials & Graves

Featured Experiences

A place to pay respects - to reflect - to bear witness

SS Unterfuhrer at the Appellplatz/Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-78612-0010 / CC-BY-SA 3.0

Tour Details

Writer Hannah Arendt referred to the concentration camp as the ‘true central institution of totalitarian organizational power’ – designed for the systematised dehumanisation and destruction of human personality. The ‘theory and practice of hell’ materialised.

A thought-provoking and often uncomfortable journey –the former Nazi concentration camp of Sachsenhausen stands as a warning from the past and a recommended excursion from Berlin to all interested in learning more about the conditions where gratuitous cruelty flourished and experiments to cultivate inhumanity succeeded.

Sachsenhausen now is a place to pay respects, to reflect, and to bear witness. To observe the preservation of memory as a vital tool against the tyranny of forgetting what humanity is capable of in its darkest moments.

Not only does this private guided tour of Sachsenhausen consider the lives of the 200,000 prisoners who passed through the gates of this Nazi concentration camp – including designated ‘special prisoners’ such as Joseph Stalin’s son, the man who almost killed Adolf Hitler – Georg Elser – and pastor Martin Niemöller – but also the camp conditions, the framework of camp life, and the biographies of the guards and staff who for whom serving here was a matter of duty and honour.

We will also discuss how following the liberation of Sachsenhausen, the camp was redesignated as an NKVD/KGB detention center housing Nazi functionaries, political prisoners and inmates sentenced by the Soviet military tribunals.

While stressing the historical importance of the years of the camp’s operation, it is also vital to assess how in 1961 the East German government chose to open this site as a memorial – and what significance this location holds today as a part of Germany’s culture of remembrance.

History Beyond the myth

We will not only examine what remains of the Sachsenhausen camp in its current form as a memorial and museum site but also deal with the important issues associated with this hugely significant location and its tragic history. 

  • What was special about the design of the Sachsenhausen concentration camp?
  • Were the Nazi concentration camps inspired by the British?
  • Was Sachsenhausen a ‘Holocaust camp’?
  • Was it possible to be released from a Nazi concentration camp?
  • How did the Nazi methodology of industrial killing develop?
  • Was the Nazi party democractically elected?
  • How close did the Nazis come to developing an atomic bomb?
  • Were the Nazi medical experiments useful?
  • What inspired the racial theories of Nazi Germany?
  • Did Hugo Boss design the Nazi uniforms?
  • Was Joseph Stalin’s son killed by the Nazis?
  • Did the Nazis manage to counterfeit the US dollar during WWII?
  • How many times did Hitler survive assassination?
  • Were the Anglo-American air attacks on Berlin war crimes?
  • What was the relationship between Nazi Germany and the Vatican?
  • How was the history of the Sachsenhausen concentration camp presented in East Germany?
  • What were the difference between the Nazi protective custody camps and the camps of the Soviet GULAG?

And much more…

Prices

Berlin Private Guide - Our Services - Transportation | Berlin Experiences

650€ for a 5 hour private van tour – maximum 6 person group
($775/£585)*

includes 19% VAT, guide fee, booking fee, admin fee, transportation and driver costs, and mandatory German tourism insurances

(*prices in non-Euro currency calculated based on market rate at time of booking)

Transportation

All vehicles are recent model Mercedes Benz V-class/Volkswagen Caravelle vans suitable for up to six people.

For larger groups we also provide mini-vans and buses (up to 60 people).

Professional & Licensed

Member of the Berlin Guides Association – Bündnis Berliner Stadtführer e.V.

Secure Payment

Paypal/Stripe Checkout

Our payments are securely processed using Stripe/PayPal invoicing – all major credit cards accepted.

Safe Travel

Safe Tourism - Covid-19 Recovery Logo

All tours conducted in accordance with current German government Covid-19 precautions and guidelines.

Cancellation Policy

All reservations can be cancelled via email up to one month before the first tour date – subject to a 25% cancellation fee.

Starting Point

Starting from either your accommodation or a designated location in Berlin, this tour includes a 45 minute drive through the countryside of Brandenburg to the memorial location 35km north of the German capital. 

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Matt Robinson - Berlin Experiences Owner

Berlin Experiences

Holme-Robinson GbR
Ostseestrasse 77,
Prenzlauer Berg,
Berlin 10409

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