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Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp Tours

This trip to the past is painful but necessary. I tell you how to visit the concentration camp closest to the capital.

Isabel Catalán

Isabel Catalán

6 min read

Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp Tours

Sachsenhausen concentration camp | ©MandyM - Wikipedia

During World War II, the Nazis built many internment centers throughout Europe but among them all the one that was considered the ideal prototype to embody the ideals of the National Socialist regime was the Sachsenhausen concentration camp.

After the harsh events that occurred in the camp those years, the Sachsenhausen concentration camp was transformed into a memorial in honor of the victims of barbarism, so that these terrible events will never be repeated. I explain how to visit it.

How the guided tours of the Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp look like

Entrance to the concentration camp| ©Mendeztrives - Wikipedia
Entrance to the concentration camp| ©Mendeztrives - Wikipedia

The Sachsenhausen concentration camp is considered one of the essential visits to do for those who travel to Berlin. To see it, this is the most complete and popular option.

What this tour consists of

It is a 6-hour excursion to Sachsenhausen to learn with a Spanish-speaking guide (accredited by the memorial itself) the history of this place, the type of prisoners it housed and their harsh living conditions. It held around 60,000 prisoners, of which more than 12,000 did not manage to escape alive.

In addition, this walking tour will show you the most important sites of the camp such as Barracks 38, the punishment cells, the central courtyard or the infirmary where human experiments were performed on the inmates.

During the visit you will also hear several testimonies of the survivors, see some pictures of the camp taken by the SS as well as secret documentation found at the end of the war.

Why take this guided tour?

Without a doubt, I recommend you to do this excursion to Sachsenhausen with a guide instead of doing it on your own mainly because you will not have to worry about how to get the tickets there and because you will have the narration of a professional guide who will solve your doubts and give historical context to what you see in the camp, which is quite convenient in a place of these characteristics.

Useful information

  • Duration: 6 hours
  • Recommended if... you want to get to know Sachsenhausen but don't have much time to plan your own visit.

What is and what you will see at the Sachsenhausen concentration camp

Shooting area| ©Mendeztrives - Wikipedia
Shooting area| ©Mendeztrives - Wikipedia

Nazi Germany designed this place as the ideal prototype in which to embody the ideals of the National Socialist regime and it came to house the central administration office of the other concentration camps.

It emerged as a detention center and labor camp for political prisoners, but the Nazis soon also interned people they considered inferior because of their race, religion or other characteristics.

During the time Sachsenhausen was in operation (1933-1945), thousands of people were subjected to forced labor, torture, starvation, human experimentation and finally extermination.

After the liberation of the concentration camp by the USSR, Sachsenhausen became a special camp of the Soviet secret service and another detention center for GDR prisoners. Since 1993 it has been a memorial to the victims of that time.

What you will see

Because Sachsenhausen was almost completely dismantled in the 1950s, most of the concentration camp is empty and hardly anything remains of the original infrastructure. However, many parts were reconstructed according to the models used by the Nazis and with the same materials for authenticity and accuracy.

  • Tower A: the watchtower through which the concentration camp is accessed.

  • Barracks 38 and 39: these were the buildings in which the Jewish prisoners were crammed. You can see the reconstructions of the bunks and toilets that were made later according to the testimony of survivors. Today it is the Museum of the Resistance.

  • Punishment cells: it was the prison of the camp. Here the most important prisoners were locked up and the Gestapo applied brutal punishments.

  • Kitchen and laundry: two barracks with permanent exhibitions about Sachsenhausen.

  • Firing pit, gas chambers and mass grave: places where the Nazis murdered the prisoners and later buried them.

  • Infirmary and morgue: the site where human experiments were performed on the inmates and where some of the corpses were stored.

  • Tower E: this tower shows an exhibition about the relationship between Oranienburg and Sachsenhausen.

  • Central courtyard: this was the space where the Nazis forced the prisoners to train for long hours in the rain, cold and heat or where they carried out public executions by hanging.

  • Monuments: in the camp there are several memorials dedicated to the victims such as the Soviet memorial, the one in the central courtyard, the plaques dedicated to the Spanish prisoners or the monument next to the disappeared gas chamber to all those murdered in Sachsenhausen.

Why the Sachsenhausen concentration camp is worth a visit

Caption on the gate: Work will set you free| ©Mendeztrives - Wikipedia
Caption on the gate: Work will set you free| ©Mendeztrives - Wikipedia

Given its proximity to Berlin, an excursion to Sachsenhausen will allow you to delve into a tragic episode in the history of Europe, empathize with the suffering of many people and reflect on what happened here so that it will never be repeated. In addition, if you like history, you will see in person one of the most important places in the development of World War II.

However, to do it you must take into account that it is a very hard visit. Before joining this tour you should prepare yourself for what you are going to see and hear here. There will be times when you will get a lump in your throat and goose bumps as you walk through this place and imagine the aberrations that were committed at this site.

So, be warned that the Sachsenhausen concentration camp tour may not be suitable if you are a very sensitive person. In fact, it is not recommended for children under the age of 12 because of the crudeness of the exhibits.

Plan your visit to Sachsenhausen concentration camp

Crematorium ovens| ©Mendeztrives - Wikipedia
Crematorium ovens| ©Mendeztrives - Wikipedia

Where is the camp?

Straße der Nationen 22, 16515 Oranienburg

How to get there

These excursions do not include travel to Sachsenhausen due to the proximity of the camp to Berlin, so you are perfectly free to go on your own. These are the transports you can take:

  • By train from Berlin: Take the S1 line (S-bahn Wannsee direction Oranienburg) at Berlin Friedrichstraße station and get off at Oranienburg station which is the last stop. To travel you will need a ticket valid for ABC zones. Trains run every 20 minutes and the journey takes about 45 minutes.

  • To Sachsenhausen from Oranienburg train station: You can walk 20 minutes to the concentration camp (don't worry, the way is well signposted) or take buses 804 (direction Malz) and 821 (direction Tiergarten) to the memorial.

  • By car from Berlin: Take the A111 freeway to Hamburg. When you arrive in Oranienburger Kreuz take the A10 direction Prenzlau and exit at Birkenwalder. Then take the B96 towards Oranienburg and follow the signs "Gedenkstätte" to Sachsenhausen. The journey takes about 50 minutes.

Opening hours

Open every day:

  • From March 15 to October 14: 8:30 AM to 6 PM.
  • From October 15 to March 14: 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM.

Museums are closed on Mondays.

What should I take with me to Sachsenhausen concentration camp?

  • This place is large and you have to walk a bit between the different points of interest so I advise you to wear comfortable shoes. As for clothing, since it is a visit to a memorial, I recommend you to wear formal clothes out of respect.

  • In the concentration camp you can take pictures, so there is no problem to bring your camera but remember that Sachsenhausen is a memorial to the victims of Nazism, so when taking pictures try to do it with some consideration.

  • For the way back to Berlin I advise you to bring a bottle of water and some snacks in case you get hungry.

6. Other excursions you may like

If during your trip to Berlin you would like to do more excursions apart from this one, take a look at The best tours and excursions from Berlin where you will find more ideas to make the most of your getaway.

Frequently asked questions

  • Which concentration camp sites will I be able to visit on this tour?

    You will relive the history of the camp, visiting its laboratory, infirmary, prisons and barracks, as well as the punishment cells and crematorium on an extensive walking tour of the site while listening to the moving narration of an expert guide.

  • What does a visit to the concentration camp include?

    All tours include a local expert guide and a map of the city, and private options usually include hotel pick-up.

  • Anything I should know before visiting Sachsenhausen?

    You are probably wondering if you are allowed to take pictures, and although they are allowed it is very easy to take a picture that is not entirely appropriate in these places, so we recommend you to think before you shoot. In this regard, think carefully about the clothes you are going to wear, to avoid carrying any uncomfortable slogans or slogans.