Sachsenhausen national memorial

Remembrance without authenticity

Due to the use of the concentration camp site and its military infrastructure by the Soviet forces, it was not possible to commemorate the camp victims in an authentic setting. For this reason, the first remembrance ceremonies held after the end of the war, took place in the centre of Oranienburg. It was during such a ceremony that in 1961, Fritz Cremer's sculpture 'Die Anklagende' was erected. In 1950, the KVP took over the site, and so began the site's destruction and neglect.

In 1952/3, without reference to the historical importance of the site, the KVP blew up 'Station Z' - the crematorium and killing areas, to make room for a shooting gallery and the local population used the remaining materials of the barracks for building and heating. The Nationale Volksarmee (NVA) were also involved in the destruction of the site. They began using the old SS camp in 1956 and used the 'T-building' - the offices of the concentration camp inspectorate, until 1990. Although ex-prisoners wanted visitors to have the most authentic view of Sachsenhasuen possible and continually called for the preservation of historical buildings, the prisoner's camp was almost completely 'cleaned of its history'. In 1956 a group of foreign ex-prisoners wanted to visit the place in which they had suffered, this lead the NVA to open up the triangular protective custody camp (Schutzhaftlager) to the public. Many visitors both from within the GDR and abroad criticised the camp's neglected condition.

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Sachsenhausen national memorial
Remembrance without authenticity
The site's authenticity is reduced and changed
The state opening
The one-sided historical perspective