Sachsenhausen concentration camp 1936 - 1945

The ideal concentration camp

Soon after Heinrich Himmler 'Reichsf├╝hrer SS' was appointed to the post of 'head of the German police' in July 1936, the SS organised a prisoner detachment from Esterwegen concentration camp to construct the first few barracks of a concentration camp in Sachsenhausen. Himmler in 1937, said of the camp, that it was to be the prototype of a "modern, up-to-date, ideal and easily expandable concentration camp".

It is possible to highlight the meaning of Himmler's words by comparing the camp in Sachsenhausen with the one in Oranienburg - the camps have often been confused. In contrast to the highly improvised organisation of Oranienburg concentration camp, the SS designed Sachsenhausen according to an 'ideal' plan. Both functional considerations and the symbolic representation of terror and control demonstrated by the camp's architecture, were taken into account.

Sachsenhausen concentration camp was built in the form of an equilateral triangle with its buildings grouped symmetrically around an axis. It was here that 'Tower A', the SS camp administration, was centrally housed. A semicircular roll-call area was located directly in front of this and was closed in by four barracks. The SS had their barracks on a continuation of the middle axis which followed the camp street, passed 'Tower A' and accentuated both the axis and the symmetry of the camp.

More informations:

Sachsenhausen concentration camp 1936 - 1945
The ideal concentration camp
A concentration camp for the capital city of the "Reich"
Prisoner`s society
Forced labour
The victims
Evacuation, death marches, liberation