Germany/Poland ’23, Day 5


On Saturday we visited our first of three camps, Sachsenhausen. This camp sits just north of Berlin and was important for several reasons – its size, its proximity to Berlin, and the number of techniques and tactics that were learned here and implemented across the rest of the Nazi camp system. The experience was very challenging for all of us, to say the least. There is no way to soften the reality of the brutality and inhumanity that occurred in these places.

Educationally, not only did we learn a lot of particular facts, but we began to ask many questions and started many conversations. Some topics include, the “what do we do with this?” question, discussions regarding the universal capacity for evil (could I have been involved in something like this?), the role of deception (of self and others), and the idea that the quantity of the inhumanity may be necessary to bring our attention to the qualitative issue of the sacredness of life – to name just a few.

Before we took the train ride up to Sachsenhausen, we briefly stopped by the East Side Gallery, an installation on the banks of the River Spree where artists from over 20 countries have displayed works stretching across the longest remaining section of the interior wall.

Tomorrow we visit the Jewish Museum of Berlin.