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The concentration camp at Sachsenhausen was the first to be built under the orders of Heinrich Himmler, head of the German police when the camp was established in 1936.
Its location just an hour north of Berlin gave it special status among the camps that were to follow - but its role was no different.
It was here, for example, that the intellectuals from Krakow's Jagiellonian University were taken when the Nazis invaded Poland and made that city the headquarters of their general government. In all, about 200,000 people were held at Sachsenhausen between 1936 and 1945. Tens of thousands were murdered, or died of overwork, malnutrition, ill-treatment... and many more who did make it to the end of the war perished as the camp was cleared and the prisoners taken on death marches. Now it's a museum and memorial, operated by the Brandenburg Memorials Foundation. Entry is free, and getting there is simply a matter of joining a tour in Berlin or catching a train to Oranienburg.
Editor & Berlin Local