The witness of history


My life begins in the ninth century.

I passed the beginning of my existence in a beautiful place. In front of a family house, the laughing, crying and loving was  part of my normal day. A swing was hanging from one of my arms. I saw little humans grow up a lot. Who at the end let me to build a new family in a new place, and I became an old memories of their childhood.

That was the time of innocence.

In 1914, This house has been destroyed by the army.

I lost my game play.

The first gunshot that I heard was in the beginning of August 1914. During 4 years, a lot of people were  dying in front of me. I saw blood, weapons , hate, ignorance and the lost of the humanity.

The things was that there was any difference between them.

One day all these things finished, until this moment, I waited during 20 years to have a new  family.

But it wasn’t a family’s house in front of me, but a huge community. There were two  different types of people : the dominated and the dominants.

The things I saw were unexpected. It was not only about death, but about cruelty, domination, fear, hunger, cold, illness,…

The worst thing I’ve never seen happend there.

There wasn’t a welcoming house but all the same little browns houses where the most empty people were living. Their eyes contained the sadness, the tiredness, the hate.

Even in this terror some beautiful things could happen. One smile, an act of help, a little bit of food, more clothes. Things that today sound normal but, at that time, they had to risk their lives for survival

I saw prisoners risking their lives for another, some dominant helped the dominated because sometimes even in the darkness of the human cruelty a part of humanity still exists. The only thing  they could keep was hope, and no one could take it away.

One day, the hope paid off, and the dominated became the same than the dominant.

It was the time of the most cruelty of the human being.

Now the little brown houses have disappeared, only the sadness of this place stays.

It’s the time to remember and never forget what happened in Sachsenhausen.

Never forget Sachsenhausen

yonah_new bikess
[Rewritten lyrics _ melody - Maria (La Oreja de Van Gogh)]

Do.  (C)                        
People coming every day
Lam.  (Am)      
Entering the main gate
Fa. (F)                                 do(c)
Thinking they know what happened in this place

Do (c)
They studied it at school
Lam (Am)
Or heard a lot about it
Fa. (F)                          Sol(G)
But the truth is much harder to believe

         Do(C).       Sol(G).      Fa(F)
I don't know what to think about this
Considering the past there's too much peace
And my words they're just gone here

     Do(C).      Sol(G).     Fa(F)
Reading and listening witnesses
Inside me I feel nothing but emptiness
A place like this makes me speechless

2 (same chords as 1)
Came on holidays to this place
Or tourism
Historical interest and so on

I'm going back home
With shame and powerlessness
But also with much more consciousness

Ch (same chords as chorus)
I don't know what to think about this
Considering the past there's too much peace
And my words they're just gone here

Reading and listening witnesses
Inside me I feel nothing but emptiness
A place like this makes me speechless

Ch2 (same chords as chorus)
Still I'm thankful that we can come here
There are mistakes that humans can't repeat
This place reminds us of those things

Gotta learn from the past and never
Never never never forget
Never deny what happened...

People coming every day
Entering the main gate
Thinking they know what happened in this place

They studied it at school
Or heard a lot about it
But the truth is much harder to believe

The bulldozer

Sachsenhausen doesn’t look like a concentration camp anymore, now it is a place of learning, a place to remember, and to respect the people that lost their lifes in there.
Some original objects and buildings are still here, these can help us to imagine all the things that the victims lived.
One of those objects is the manual bulldozer, the prisoners were forced to use it to roll the land, which was a very difficult task, since it is extremely heavy, and they didn’t have enough food or the appropriate living conditions to have strength.
The architecture of the place has changed a lot through the years, most of the buildings that used to be barracacks were destroyed, and some of them were reconstructed, for me, is hard to decide how this make me feel, because with the lost of the buildings we lost a part of the history of humanity, but they represented a lot of pain and abuse.
I think that we all, like humanity, own a responsibility to the victims, the responsibility of never forgetting, that every person know what happened, so it will never happen again, we cannot let that cruelty, abuse and dehumanization become normal things again.
Maria_new Kopie



In this photograph, we see the main entrance to the barracks field at Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp. The building was used by SS and it has existed since those times. It was used as a tower, so SS guards could easily observe the prisoners from this building. Also, it was an office where important decisions taken for SS. Thus, this building was important for SS on those days. Moreover, there is an expression on the entrance: Arbeit mach frei. It means that “Work sets you free”. This slogan is known for appearing on the entrance of Nazi Concentration Camps. Taking photograph of historical place that has deep meaning in itself was very valuable and meaningful for me. Therefore, it was a good experience that trying to understand and imagine on my mind what happened there.

Ezgi Kayar




 I took the building called “station Z”. It has existed since the time of camp. This was taken out of service in 1943. As well as 4 cremation ovens, there were a gas chamber and a firing squad execution oven. You can see the parts of those rooms used for extermination inside the building.  This building was blown up by the KVP (militarized people’s police) of East Germany in 1952 and 1953. It was only in the course of constructing the national memorial in 1961 that architects were able to secure the remains of them. On the wall in front of this building, there is a comment that is the most impressive to me;

“And I know one thing more: that the Europe of the future doesn’t exist without commemorating all those, regardless of their nationality, who were killed at that time with complete contempt and hate, who were tortured to death, scarred, gassed… ( Andrzej Szczypiorski, Prisoner of Sachsenhausen Concentration )”

We cannot change what we did, but we can fix our future by learning our mistakes.




    I photographed the watch towers and stones of the barracks. It was there during the time of the camp. (1936-1945).These towers were used for watch the prisoners to keep them under control. Moreover, the SS guards were shooting the prisoners who tried to run away. Nowadays, you cannot enter these towers because these are fragile historical buildings. There is a balcony in it. SS guards were using these balconies to watch and shoot the prisoners. The reason of choosing this building is that when I entered the Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp, I saw these towers and I thought if I were a prisoner in this camp, what can I do? I tried to find a solution but it is impossible to escape from here. So, I felt very desperate because it is really difficult to live in a concentration camp.

                                                                                     MURAT CAN KENEZ

Barrackes 38-39

In this picture we can see barracke 39. It was built for a place of living for the inmates in the Sachssenhausen concentration camp. Actually, there are 68 barrackes so there were thousands of inmates in this camp.

Inmates used to sleep in beds of three floors and more than one inmate each bed. They also had a shower and go to the toilet. They had a little room for torture, SS guards close them in small place (room) for lots of hours.

Inside of the barrack it’s divided into different sections: toilet, bedroom and torture room.

They used to spend only night time in barrackes  because the rest of the day they were working. The barrackes were in bad hygienic conditions and it’s such a claustrophobic place to be.

I feel frustrated because nobody deserves to live in that conditions, we will never forget.






Yesterday morning, after we finished our handmade camera we went to the concentration camp. We had to take a picture of something we find interesting and emotional, so I chose the memorial tower. This is the tallest building in there and it was built in 1961, years after the concentration camp. From the outside you can see drawn 18 orange triangles. I personally find it interesting because it is a good way to remember what happened there and all the countries who were involved. This memorial tower says also how people had changed and how they felt sorry about it. In addition, I feel that is really important that people can visit it and be conscious, so nothing gets forgotten.

Samjhana Font Borras


What if?..

Every day we pass by this abandoned house as we’re heading for the memorial. A long one-floor brick building with broken windows and walls all covered with colorful graffiti. A former private house of the SS.

You can enter there and see broken furniture, flaky paint on the walls. Graffiti is everywhere and there is glass on the floor. It crunches under your feet as you go from one room to another. Take a walk down the long corridor absorbed into complete, black darkness if you can deal with unbearable anxiety raising inside of you with every minute spent here. As you reach the end of it, you’ll find yourself in a huge bathroom with erotic pictures on tiles glowing in the flashlight. I wonder if I have ever been in such a gloomy and creepy place.

How come this house of the SS (and a few others) stands like this here, in a five-minute walk from the memorial? If they were not included in the memorial itself, why couldn’t they have been demolished? Now they seem to attract only teenagers and probably some gangs. Even though these buildings did not belong to the concentration camp itself, they are still strongly connected with it, they are a part of its history full of terror and tragedy. Therefore I feel like what some people did to those buildings reflects their indifference to what was happening just a few meters further. And now I can’t help but keep asking myself: what would have become of all the barracks, towers, walls, the gate of KZ if there were no memorial there?..


Not a shadow of memory.

SS officers used to live in vicinity of Sachsenhausen concentration camp during times of Second World War. When it ended, they either were killed or had evacuated abroad. Their houses are still standing. They are located beyond Sachsenhausen memorial’s gates. Only few hundred meters away, but far enough to be token into parenthesis of history, left behind discourse and eventually forgotten. Some of them are totally abandoned, some are dwelled with other families. Both options are weird… “Schade” i would say, if I were German.

About abandoned SS houses.

The former SS living houses are located on our way from hostel to memorial Sachsenhausen. Among other smaller buildings there are four blocks standing. Three of them are out of use since times of concentration camp. They stand in a row one after another, in a shadow of overgrown trees, empty and abandoned. The fourth is a second-hand shop now.  All of the houses are alienated from other, more lively parts of Oranienburg. City services sometimes visit this place for reasons, they only know. It’s pretty easy to enter those houses . The construction is in a good state, some of the exterior walls flake away step by step, but  it’s not much of a chance of collapse in next decades. Nevertheless, it’s too creepy to explore them on your own, knowing the context and events taking place here seventy years ago.


An entrance to one of abandoned houses.

The fasade of SS house, which is a second-hand shop nowadays.

About dwelled SS houses

Along the Bernauer strasse, closer to Sachsenhausen Memorial there are small, one-family houses with triangle roofs. Those used to be homes for SS officers seventy years ago. Another families live there now. People keep them well, modernized and perfect for living. There is not a shadow of memory. Of course, who would like to live in house with such history? Well, as long as people are mostly not aware, it’s not a problem. With time passing, it becomes less and less questionable…

Dwelled house, which belonged to one of SS-officer.

By Marina Mashtaler