Berlin Day 18 of 21
July 23, 2014
Today is Wednesday and I am on the countdown to time to go home. In the meantime, I have decided to make the most of it all. I ventured out with Ms. Davis’ class to Sachsenhausen Memorial and Museum, the former concentration camp. This outing was eye opening to me. I have had the occasion to read some of the history about Germany and the Holocaust, but visiting this former concentration camp shined the light on the situation.
Oranienburg Concentration Camp consisted of 1,000 acres of land laid out in the shape of a triangle. Prisoners at this camp were mainly male, Jews, homosexuals, and female prostitutes. Women and children were housed at another camp that was miles away from Oranienburg. In this camp everyone entered at Gate A and most ended their stay at Station Z. Station Z was not an exit, but a death chamber. Prisoners were executed by one shot to the back of the neck at the top of the spinal cord. There were horrendous conditions at this camp that everyone in this small town knew existed. I wonder how people can think that it is alright to capture free people, load them onto a train, march them through town, imprison them, and make them work for free separating them from their loved ones all because they do not worship the same way as their captures. Also, people think that they are doing someone a favor by selecting prostitutes and gay men from the streets and making them slaves.
Today I realized that every single member of our group would have been captured and tortured too. Why you ask? Because none of us are pure Germans, we also have different religious beliefs, and some even African American. Furthermore, I would have been singled out as well because I have a gold tooth. Our tour guide, Nickolai, explained to our group that if a prisoner had gold teeth they would place a blue A on their chest. This would make them easily identifiable for guards to go back and retrieve the gold.
My father used to tell me that a hard day’s work never killed anyone. I beg to differ because there is a sign on the entrance gate that says “ARBEIT MACHT FREI”: this means work will set you free. It also can be translated to say that by working you can set yourself free. This was a lie because most of the people who entered never left alive; they died.