CLIO mr brice - page 51

Sachsenhausen
In March 1933, Adolf
Hitler became Chancellor
of Germany, and his Nazi
party was established
as the dominant
German political party.
Shortly after Hitler’s
rise to power, the first
concentration camps were
constructed. The first
German concentration
camp, Dachau was
founded in March
1933, and was originally
intended to imprison
or ‘accommodate’
political prisoners, such
as communists and
individuals who posed
a political ‘threat’ to the
Nazi party (members
of the Reichsbanner, a
liberal democratic party,
for example). Roughly
3.5 million Germans were
detained in concentration
camps and detention
facilities for ‘political
reasons’ from 1933 until
the dissolution of Nazi
Germany in 1945.
However, the role of
the camps was soon
expanded. In 1934, people
categorised as ‘racially
undesirable’ began to be
arrested and interred into
the camps. This included
groups of Jews, criminals,
homosexuals and Roma
and Sinti people. During
World War 2, millions of
people were incarcerated
and murdered by the Nazi
party in concentration
and extermination camps,
including millions of
Soviet prisoners of war. It
is estimated that in total
about 20 million people
were imprisoned or killed
in concentration camps by
the Nazis during World
War 2.
The camp Sachsenhausen
was created in 1936
and is a 2 hour coach
ride outside Berlin.
Sachsenhausen was
established as a
concentration camp, but
30,000 ‘prisoners’ died
there. Many lives were
shortened as a result of
disease and malnutrition,
but a great number
were murdered, either
by being shot, hung, or
exposed to brutal ‘medical’
experiments. The camp is
still open as a memorial,
and I recently visited it as
part of the year 11 history
trip.
When you arrive at
Sachsenhausen, you are
a short walk from the
entrance to the camp. As
you walk, you pass a wall
which is covered in images
of prisoners who were
forced into a ‘death march’
near the end of the war
in 1945, when the Allied
armies were sweeping
through Germany,
liberating millions of the
victims of the camps. One
image depicted a road,
with bodies piled high
along the sides. The walk
was deeply moving.
The
of
Tragedy
Berlin Trip
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