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What was life like in Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp?

by | Mar 7, 2024 | Concentration Camp

Want to explore sachsenhausen concentration camp? Come and join us on the Original Berlin Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp Memorial Tour.


Have you ever wondered what life was like for prisoners inside a Nazi concentration camp? Here, we’ll explore the Sachsenhausen concentration camp, one of the most notorious camps during World War II. Discover the history, conditions, and stories of those who lived through this dark period of human history.

1. History of Sachsenhausen

Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp was established in 1936 near Oranienburg, Germany. Initially, it served as a model camp intended to showcase Nazi propaganda. However, over time, it evolved into one of the largest and most brutal concentration camps in Nazi Germany.

During its operation until 1945, Sachsenhausen housed around 200,000 prisoners, including political dissidents, Jews, homosexuals, and those considered “asocial” by the Nazis. It served as a training ground for SS officers and a center for human experimentation.

2. Living Conditions in Sachsenhausen

The living conditions in Sachsenhausen were harsh and inhumane, designed to dehumanize and break the spirit of the prisoners. The camp consisted of several barracks, which were overcrowded and infested with pests.

Prisoners were subjected to forced labor, often performing grueling tasks such as quarrying stone, manufacturing goods, or working in the nearby factories. They survived on meager rations of bread, thin soup, and occasional scraps.

Torture and physical abuse were prevalent, with SS guards inflicting punishments on prisoners for any perceived infractions. Internment in “standing cells” or confinement in disciplinary barracks were common forms of punishment, leaving lasting physical and psychological scars.

3. Daily Life in the Camp

Every day, prisoners faced a constant struggle for survival in the camp. They lived in fear and oppression, stripped of their dignity and individuality.

Roll calls were a routine part of camp life, where prisoners had to line up in rows for hours, enduring extreme weather conditions. Countless prisoners died during these roll calls due to exhaustion, illness, or execution.

Prisoners were subjected to medical experiments, forced sterilizations, and inhumane “standing cell” punishments. They were also victims of brutal violence and random acts of cruelty by the SS guards.

4. The Liberation of Sachsenhausen

As Allied forces advanced, Sachsenhausen was liberated on April 22, 1945. The camp was then turned into a Soviet Special Camp, where former SS members, Gestapo agents, and political opponents were held without trial.

The Soviet Special Camp was operational until 1950, and it is estimated that around 12,000 people died there. In 1961, after the construction of the Berlin Wall, the East German government established a memorial on the site as a reminder of the Nazi era atrocities.


The Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp stands as a chilling reminder of the horrors perpetrated during World War II. The stories of those who suffered and perished within its walls serve as a stark reminder of the consequences of unchecked hatred and intolerance.

By remembering events like those that occurred at Sachsenhausen, we honor the memory of the victims and pledge to build a better future, free from the tyranny of discrimination and persecution.

Want to explore sachsenhausen concentration camp? Come and join us on the Original Berlin Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp Memorial Tour.


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What was life like in Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp?

Mar 7, 2024