One of the stupid things of concentration camps is: your memories are i black-and-white, because the pictures from that period were in those colours. So when I had taken the S-Bahn on a beautiful shiny day to the outskirts of Berlin, and was walking through the village of Oranienburg, my thoughts were far away from the cruelties of this place.
Suddenly you realise that the sun also shone in the old days. Thus also when the nazis in 1936 decided to build a model concentration camp. Just outside the capital, designed to make the submission of certain parts of the people to the state tangible and visible.
From the barracks only a few are left. It makes the exhibition in those buildings, and the huge grass meadow surrounding it, even more impressive. It’s rather alarming that neonazis a decade ago managed to set some barracks on fire, as if they could erase history in that way. Thankfully these barracks have been rebuilt.
What will forever remain, is the small building for medical examinations. It was designed in such a way that corpses could be transported efficiently. Murder as a logistical problem: in that case you have surpassed all degrees of humanity. The worst is, that the Russians continued with those practices when they took over the camp in 1945…