Concentration camp near Berlin
Visiting anywhere in Europe brings you near to remains of World War Two. In Germany, these sites are generally named “Gedenksätte” - memorials, and they are free to visit.
Around 22 miles outside of Berlin is Sachsenhausen or Sachsenhausen-Oranienburg concentration camp. This is the nearest Nazi concentration camp to Germany’s capital city, which operated from 1936 to 1945 and housed mostly political prisoners.
The site became an NKVD special camp (NKVD means Narodny Komissariat Vnutrennikh Del, The People's Commissariat for Internal Affairs which was the interior ministry of the Soviet Union after the war when the area came under Soviet control.
The camp was a training centre for Schutzstaffel (SS) officers. These officers would be trained at Sachsenhausen and then transferred to other locations. About 200,000 people passed through Sachsenhausen between 1936 and 1945 with 105,000 who are believed to have perished here.
As the Soviet army advanced, around 30,000 inmates of the camp were ordered to take part in a death march. The march ended near Raben Steinfeld when 18,000 remaining prisoners were liberated by tanks of the 2nd Belorussian Front. On 22 April 1945 the camp's remaining 3,000 inmates were liberated by the Red Army and the Polish Army's 2nd Infantry Division.
After the war
Soviet Special Camp No. 1 was the new name for Sachsenhausen in 1948 as political prisoners and those involved in Soviet Military Tribunals were the new inhabitants of the camp.
The camp closed in 1950.
The"Sachsenhausen National Memorial Site" came into being on 23rd April 1961. The East German government constructed an obelisk decorated with eighteen red triangles, the symbol the Nazis gave to political prisoners, usually communists.
Sachsenhausen Memorial and Museum
Straße der Nationen 22
Travel information (from Berlin city centre):
The memorial site is very close to Berlin and easy to visit by public transport.
Oranienburg Station is in Zone C, so you will need a ticket which covers this zone as well as A & B.
S-Bahn route S 1 (Wannsee - Oranienburg) to Oranienburg Station (travel time from Berlin Friedrichstrasse 45 min., runs every 20 minutes).
Regional train RE 5 (Stralsund/Rostock - Neustrelitz - Wünsdorf-Waldstadt/Elsterwerda) to Oranienburg Station (travel time from Berlin Main Station (Hauptbahnhof) 25 minutes, runs hourly).
Regional train RB 12 from Berlin-Lichtenberg and Berlin-Ostkreuz (destination Templin) to Oranienburg Station (travel time 25 minutes, runs hourly).
Regional train RB 20 from Potsdam to Oranienburg Station.
From the station, bus no. 804 or bus no. 821 to the stop "Gedenkstätte".
15th March to 14th October
daily 8:30 am - 6:00 pm
15th October to 14th March
daily 8:30 am - 4:30 pm
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