Sachsenhausen Memorial: Private Walking Tour
As a physical manifestation of the Nazi worldview, Sachsenhausen served as an SS testing ground for the Holocaust & nucleus of the concentration camp system.
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Tour Length Six Hours
Group Size Small Group
Most people, when asked about Nazi camps, would point East – to the extermination camps that gained notoriety through the Holocaust: to Auschwitz, Treblinka, Majdanek etc. The truth is, however, that these camps came relatively late in the history of the Third Reich. Their predecessors, the concentration camps, such as Sachsenhausen, were constructed within Nazi Germany in the 1930s.
Devised as a so-called ‘protective custody camp’ to house political prisoners, Sachsenhausen grew to become an SS training centre, a prison to many notable figures, and the site of numerous bizarre developments in Nazi research and military strategy.
Constructed by the Nazis, inherited by the Soviet forces, and eventually opened as a memorial by the East German government; Sachsenhausen is a startling example of how different regimes chose to use the same land for purposes of punishment and propaganda.
(All of our private tours are custom tailored to our clients’ needs and wishes and can include Berlin sights decided in advance or spontaneously organised on the day of the tour. If you have any specific requests for your tour, regarding sights and content, do not hesitate to ask – you can email us at email@example.com)
Our six-hour Sachsenhausen private tour starts in Berlin, from your accommodation or a centrally located landmark, before heading north to one of the most notorious and historically significant locations from the Third Reich period – the nucleus of the Concentration Camp System.
Public transportation is necessary for this tour (included in the tour price, up to five people) – with a regular regional train service leaving Berlin’s central Hauptbahnhof station to the sleepy village of Oranienburg – home to the Sachsenhausen Camp Memorial – around 45 minutes north of the city.
Walking through the infamous gates of the camp – adorned with the slogan “Arbeit Macht Frei” – you will explore the history of a facility devised as a so-called ‘protective custody camp’ to house political prisoners that grew to become an SS training centre, a prison to many notable figures, and the site of numerous bizarre developments in Nazi research and military strategy.
From the central Tower A watchtower, the tour covers life in the Jewish Barracks, the brutality exhibited on the Appelplatz roll call area, the grim fate of prisoners in the ‘special SS/Gestapo prison’ and Isolation Barracks of the camp before examining some of the original artefacts stored in the former Kitchen building of the camp. Notable as a site constructed by the Nazi regime as a slave labour and detention facility, inherited and used by the Soviet forces and eventually opened by the East German authorities as a memorial – the gruesome history of Sachsenhausen extends beyond the end of the Second World War and the walls of the camp to an adjacent facility that housed Nazi POWs and enemies of the Soviet regime.
Sachsenhausen stands as a physical manifestation of the worldview of the Nazi party and SS, and a record of the crimes of the era. Nowhere is that more visible in the camp than Station Z, an industrial yard turned into an industrial extermination centre – the ruined foundations of this area still remain – allowing visitors to trace the route prisoners unwittingly took to their fate.
Passing the nearby Pathology and Hospital buildings while leaving the camp you will learn of the medical experiments inflicted on inmates and the controversial story of the camp brothel, frequented by prisoners are a reward for good behaviour.
Writer Hannah Arendt referred to the concentration camp as the ‘true central institution of totalitarian organizational power’ – designed for the systematised dehumanisation and destruction of human personality. A thought-provoking and often uncomfortable journey – Sachsenhausen stands as a warning from the past and a recommended excursion from Berlin to all interested in learning more about the conditions where gratuitous cruelty flourished and experiments to cultivate inhumanity succeeded – – the ‘theory and practice of hell’.
Special Tour Inclusions:
This tour requires the use of public transportation (included in the price, up to 5 people) – thus it is possible that the following sites could also be included in the itinerary (on request and time permitting – an extension of the tour duration may be required):
- Visit the Ravensbruck Concentration Camp
- Visit the site of the original Oranienburg Concentration Camp
- Visit the Inspectorate of Concentration Camps building
- Six-hour Sachsenhausen private walking tour accompanied by one of our expert local guides (English language)
- Collection from hotel/accommodation or tour start from central landmark (such as TV Tower/Brandenburg Gate)
- Hotel/accommodation drop-off at end of tour (if requested)
- Includes public transportation costs for up to five people (necessary for this tour)
- Includes time for coffee/snack break (not included in price)
- Includes time for photo breaks
- Price includes VAT (19%)
- Price includes Booking Fee
- Price includes Mandatory German Tour Insurance
- This tour does not include private transportation
- This tour does not include food/drink (unless requested)
- Guide gratuity
In the event you need to cancel your booking with us, we ask for at least two weeks hours notice. Tours booked within two weeks of the tour date are not eligible for cancellation.
We will refund the total amount (minus any transaction fees) if we receive an email cancellation request at least two weeks before the tour/s. Cancellations made less than two weeks before the tour date are not eligible for refunds.
In order to guarantee the best guides and transportation for our tours, we have a two-week cancellation deadline that means that guides who are scheduled for tours are compensated for their time (often allocated to mean that they are not able to accept other work on the days we book them). We offer our commitment to our transportation suppliers in the same manner.
Our shorter tours (up to three & four hours) include time for a short coffee/snack break – our longer tours (5 hours and above) include time for a longer lunch break and also short coffee/snack break.
Some of our tours include public transportation tickets for up to five people in the total price, please check the tour descriptions on the tour pages for more information. If public transportation costs are not included in our tours descriptions but you would prefer to use transportation for the tour, we would be happy to arrange the particulars. Our car/van tours are all conducted with fully air-conditioned high-quality cars/vans (usually Mercedes Benz or Volkswagen).
They certainly are; although Berlin winters can be cold and we certainly recommend wrapping up. And don’t forget the sun lotion in the summer!
Berlin is a relatively flat city and the streets are easy to navigate. Despite being the German capital, Berlin is also not nearly as busy as other cities of a similar calibre. All this means that touring can be relatively stress-free. We strive to make Berlin accessible to everyone, all we ask you to bring is a healthy curiosity. If you have any special requests, don’t hesitate to ask.
Of course this depends on the time of the year – a hat and gloves in the winter, sunglasses in the summer. Please do check the weather before your trip, summers in Berlin can be rather hot (suntan lotion is a must) and the winters can be cold (don’t forget a coat). We always try to make sure our guests stay hydrated on tours, whether that’s coffee or tea, but a bottle of water is always a worthy travel companion.
We cater for guests of all ages and can tailor all our tours accordingly.
That depends on what sort of animal we are talking about. Dogs seem to love the fresh air and walking. Cats have a habit of wandering off on their own. Some of our guides are deathly afraid of snakes.
Our guides and drivers will always work hard for you and tipping is a great way of them receiving immediate feedback. Gratuities are completely discretionary but always gratefully received.
All of our guides are Berlin residents and have lived in the city for years, they are all well versed in letting their stomach lead the way to some of the best spots in the city. When touring in Berlin, feel free to quiz our guides about everything. If you need advice on where to stay or things to see/do before or after your tours please do send us an email. We are more than happy to help