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 took place in the camp during those years, the Sachsenhausen concentration camp was transformed into a memorial in honor of the victims of barbarism, so that these terrible events would never be repeated. I will explain how to visit it.
Visit Sachsenhausen, a Holocaust Memorial
This tour includes admission to the Memorial and Museum Sachsenhausen and the accompaniment of a local guide who will tell you in detail the history of this terrible place.
With this tour to the Sachsenhausen concentration camp starting in Berlin, you will travel with a guide to the Sachsenhausen concentration camp by public transport. During the journey, the guide will tell you about the Nazi concentration camp system and give you all the details about the history of this terrible and dark place.
Once in Sachsenhausen, you will visit the appellplatz, the barracks, the pathology department, the Zeilenbau (Gestapo prison), the extermination center and the crematorium, during a tour in which the guide will tell you stories about the daily life of the prisoners, the tortures and punishments. You will also learn about the last days of this concentration camp and its use after World War II by the Soviets.
Recommended if... you want to visit Sachsenhausen but don't have much time to plan your own visit.
How are the guided tours of the Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp?
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 excursion consists of
It is a 6-hour excursion to Sachsenhausen to learn, along 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
I definitely recommend doing this tour 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 answer your questions and give historical context to what you see in the camp, which is quite convenient in a place like this.
The history of Sachsenhausen concentration camp
Nazi Germany designed this place as the ideal prototype in which to embody the ideals of the National Socialist regime and came to house the central administration office of the other concentration camps. It began 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 at the Sachsenhausen concentration camp
Because Sachsenhausen was almost completely dismantled in the 1950s, most of the concentration camp is empty and little of the original infrastructure remains. 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 where the Jewish prisoners were held. 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: this was 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 a visit to Sachsenhausen concentration camp is worthwhile
Given its proximity to Berlin, a trip to Sachsenhausen will allow you to delve into a tragic episode of European history, 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 will need to psych yourself up and prepare 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 the Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp
Where is it located?
Straße der Nationen 22, 16515, Oranienburg,
How to get there?
These tours do not include travel to Sachsenhausen, given the proximity of the camp to Berlin, so you can 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, once there, follow the signs for "Gedenkstätte" to Sachsenhausen. The journey takes about 50 minutes.
- March 15 to October 14: 8:30 am to 6 am.
- From October 15 to March 14: from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 a.m.
The museums are closed on Mondays.
What should I take with me to Sachsenhausen concentration camp?
- This place is big and you have to walk a bit between the different points of interest so I recommend you to wear comfortable shoes. As for clothing, since this 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.
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. Among others, you can make an excursion to Potsdam from Berlin. And if you want to delve deeper into history, you can take a **tourthrough Berlin's Jewish quarter.