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26/04/2015

Schöne Berlin Part 3: Sachenhausen Concentration Camp and Reichstag Building

Reader Discretion Advised (I will mark the end of my experience in the camp with a page break)

On the Saturday, we got up early, had another amazing breakfast and got on a coach to Sachenhausen Concentration Camp.

On arrival, we entered a building full of exhibits which I couldnt bring myself to look at. (I was being photographer, so everything here is accounts from other people, I tuned out and focused on my photography, blocking out the awful things that happened there.) We then walked down an incredibly long driveway, towards the gate to the camp and the beer store. Nigel took us through the gate, where my teacher made a joke to break the tension, and none of us were impressed he stayed quiet after that.
The gate. 'Work Sets You Free'

We went into the last remaining barracks, which had been arson attacked and preserved after. It had been turned into a museum full of things found in the camp, and on the bottom floor was a glass cabinet full of shoes, bits of clothing and bags and other various belongings. There were drawings around the room, and documents too. At the back of the room was a pair of striped pyjamas, clean, but obviously worn.

We left there and went into the prison block, this is where I let my guard down, I wasn't going to take photographs in there, but I did, with my guard down. Towards the back of the prison block, there were memorials in the cells, including one to the British victims. My friend who was walking with me just simply said 'rest in peace' and I nearly cried. I had to step back and take deep breaths before moving on. Before we had entered the building Nigel said to us 'When you leave the building, there is something some of you might not want to see, Turn right if you don't want to see it, turn left if you do.' When I left the building I turned left, to see three hanging posts. I was horrified.

We headed through the camp, all the old barracks were destroyed, but there was metal outlines where they used to be, each engraved with the number of the barracks. I found this hard too, as it was almost desolate. Now I can't remember whether we went into the kitchens next, but I will tell you about them anyway, we went into the basement, and found paintings made of fats from the foods, though we can't understand why they were there. There was one particular painting that fascinated me, and I never took a photo of it. It was of a lake, or a sea, with an island, and the little details included boats, birds, clouds and waves, showing how much they dreamed of freedom.
The memorial.

When we left there, we went into a memorial, there wasn't much information surrounding it, though it was heartbreaking to look at.

We then went to the hospital wing and mortuary. I was brave and went in the mortuary, and into the basement. It was cold and echoed. You can probably guess what was in there. The hospital wing was just an exhibit, explaining what it was used for. I didn't really read any of this, by this point I wanted to get out.

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We headed out to McDonalds for lunch (Or McTransfat as my teacher called it) and had lunch before going to a museum. We were flagging again by this point, everyones feet were hurting and everyone was tired and stroppy, though they dragged us round the museum for an hour and a half before going back to the hotel for dinner.

After dinner (which was the worst one by far, it made me feel ill) we went to the Reichstag building. (Ill keep this short, theres not much to talk about anyway) which is basically a parliament building which you are allowed to go into, through security and everything. We went up the dome, and then back down, I took some photos, none of them were good.

The paths in the Reichstag Dome.
After this we walked past the Brandenburg Gate again, and then past the Jewish Memorial, the block one? We went in and it was so disorientating. The blocks varied a lot, though the floor was dipping and dropping, it was dark, which meant people could easily scare you at one end of the row.

We went back to Potsdamer Platz so my teacher could have another slice of cheesecake, and I went into a different bar and had a typical German drink, which I don't know the name of. It had raspberry syrup in and we had an ice cream sundae too. We went back to the hotel and stayed up again over the changing of the clocks, and went to bed at about 2am.

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