One thing that really shocked me when I visited Sachsenhausen was the size of the camp and the fact that it was less than a hundred years ago.

In many of these places in Berlin (like the wall, Sachsenhausen, checkpoint Charlie, etc.) it’s crazy to think that, not too long ago, people were standing in these exact spots being shot at, being tortured, etc. It is actually really hard to wrap your head around that. Many times when we talk about history, we learn about things and say to ourselves, “right, I knew that that happened, but it’s just history,” but with Sachsenhausen and history like this, it happened so recently that it’s barely even history.

The other thing that shocked me as well, is that there are people who try to destroy places like Sachsenhausen because they don’t want to admit that these terrible acts were wrong. We learned that in 1992, a group of individuals climbed the walls of Sachsenhausen to sneak in and burn down the Barack’s that had been reconstructed to commemorate the Jewish people that lived there. They wanted to show that they still did not support the country recognizing they were wrong and wanted to show that they still did not think Jews deserved the same sort of respect as any other people. Now, I am not saying that it is just a select few amount of Germans who are bad people. In every country and culture, there are still people who do wrong things. But my point is is that we recognize that these terrible things have happened in history, but it doesn’t mean that more terrible things won’t happen. We have to always be aware of ourselves and the people we surround ourselves with, and be sure that we don’t end up on the wrong side of history.

One thought on “Sachsenhausen”

  1. Regarding your realizations about how recent some of this ‘history ‘ is: I am one of your classmate’s parents who, in 1977, spent 6 weeks traveling with my parents and brother, mainly in Germany (I was temporarily ‘homeschooled’ before it was a thing!) Some of the lasting memories I have of that trip are the visit to Dachau concentration camp and going through Checkpoint Charlie to visit East Berlin, 12 years before The Wall would finally come down. I didn’t think of myself as a part of history then, seeing The Wall, but my parents knew it was important for us to see Communism in action and to be grateful for what we had in America. You, as well, may look back some day on all that has transpired in your lifetime and be amazed at the history you witnessed. Perhaps you’ll even create some of it with the engineering lessons you are gaining this summer. I pray that you all are forever changed by the insights and experiences from this trip!

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