Oranienburg Things to Do

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  • Things to Do
    by alancollins
  • Things to Do
    by alancollins

Most Recent Things to Do in Oranienburg

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    Klinkerwerk Camp

    by alancollins Written Apr 7, 2010

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    Klinkerwerk Camp
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    Work started on the Klinkerwerk in 1938 and it became the largest brick works in the world. The aim of the camp was to create bricks and other building material for the new Germania. Up to 1,500 prisoners were originally marched from the main camp to the brick works and back each day for their 12 hour shifts. Barracks were constructed on the site in 1941. The work was always regarded as a punishment due to the harshest of conditions and those from minority groups were always chosen, as death was a frequent visitor. To start with, there were problems with the brick production as the wrong clay was used and it took some time to sort this out. A harbour was built on the Hohenzollern Canal next to the brick works, together with a railway bridge over the canal to transport the materials to Berlin. Both of these structures survive to this day. As the war went on arms were produced at the site including aircraft parts and grenades. On the 10th April 1945 a bombing raid destroyed most of the Klinkerwerk buildings killing about 200 prisoners. The Soviets removed anything of value after the war and then flattened the site. The site was returned to the town of Oranienburg in 1951 but immediately became a closed area which was used by the GDR Military. From 1989 until 1991 it became an unofficial dump. A new brick works stands on part of the site and other parts have been fenced off to protect them.

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    Klinkerwerk Bakery

    by alancollins Written Apr 7, 2010

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    As you walk down the lane towards where the Klinkerwerk was located, the first original building that you can see is the former bakery. Built in 1941 it was used to supply the main camp with bread and the local population with bread and cakes. At its height it was producing 30,000 loaves a day, baked by 80 prisoners, working 12 hour shifts. It survived the bombing raids of World War 2 and was closed for a short period before being reopened in 1946. Time caught up with the bakery and it was finally closed in May 1991. Part of the building was destroyed by fire in September 1994. The building has been listed as an historical building and hopefully it will be renovated to form part of the future memorial park.

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    Klinkerwerk Memorial Plaque

    by alancollins Updated Apr 5, 2010

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    One of the satellite camps of the Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp was the Klinkerwerk. Opened in April 1938, working there was regarded as a punishment and a death sentence due to the harsh conditions and prisoners from the minority groups were used as labour. Prisoners were marched from the main camp to the brick works where they had to work mainly in the open air for 12 hours before being marched back. Many did not survive. 10 barracks were completed on the site in April 1941, making it an independent camp. Most of the camp was destroyed on the 10th April 1945 during an air raid. The Soviets removed what was left after the end of the war. The area was forgotten as an historical site though this memorial was put up at the entrance to the camp in 1977. The area has been classified as an historical site and there are plans to turn to the area into a memorial park, but things seem to have ground to a halt at present.

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    Oranienburg Palace

    by alancollins Updated Apr 2, 2010

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    Most people travel to Oranienburg to visit the former concentration camp at Sachsenhausen but as you walk from the railway station instead of turning right towards Sachsenhausen, under the railway bridge, turn left along Bernauer Strasse and after about 1km you will reach the Oranienburg Palace. The Baroque Palace dates from 1655 and is the expansion of the former hunting lodge and was built for Princess Louise-Henriette of Orange from which the town of Oranienburg gets its name. The building is an unusual shape of being shaped like an upside down lower case h. The palace displays works of art by Dutch artists and it also has a Porcelain Chamber.

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    The original Oranienburg Concentration Camp

    by alancollins Written Apr 1, 2010

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    All that is left
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    For most travellers a visit to Oranienburg usually means visiting the Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp. Unless you carefully read the information you may be unaware that this was not the first concentration in Oranienburg. The original camp in the town centre was one of the first in Germany and was located in a disused factory which was a former brewery, opening on the 21st March 1933. There was a court house opposite and the prisoners were marched through the town to various locations to carry out work for the local authority. At first it was going to take 700 prisoners with 14 SA guards. By the summer of 1933 the number of guards had reached 170. At its high point the camp held 735 prisoners, and 3,000 prisoners including 3 women passed through the camp during its existence, at least 16 of which were murdered. After the Röhm Putsch the SA lost its power and the camp was taken over by SS guards. The prisoners were moved from the camp on the 13th July 1934 and the camp was put on a reserve status in case it was needed again. The camp buildings were bombed and reduced to rubble during the war. There is a permanent exhibition about the camp’s history at the main Sachsenhausen Camp. There is only a wall that remains of the original camp. A paved blocked area with a seat, plants and memorials have been erected by the original camp wall.

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    The Commandant's House

    by alancollins Updated Nov 2, 2009

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    This rather plain building was used as the offices of the Commandant of the camp from 1936 to 1945. Working in the Commandant’s House was considered a good career move by SS Officers and the way to advancement. After the war its function remained the same but it was now used by the Soviet Commandant of the Special Camp. It now houses public toilets but there are notices indicating it may be used as a museum in the future.

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    The Laundry

    by alancollins Updated Nov 1, 2009

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    This original stone building was built in 1937. It was used as a laundry to wash the prisoner’s clothes on a commercial scale and also housed a smaller area for ironing. Behind the laundry was another barracks which was used for the drying the clothes, it was also used for concerts. The building now houses an events room with the foyer used for small exhibitions. With the camp featuring in the film ‘The Counterfeiters’ the current exhibition has a display of objects from Operation Bernhard, which was a secret Nazi plan to destabilise the British economy by the use of forged bank notes which were to be dropped from aircraft over Britain. Work started on the project in September 1942 in hut 19 and from 1944 this was extended to include hut 18. These 2 huts were fenced off from the rest of the camp to hide what was happening inside. Nearly 9 million British bank notes were produced as well as stamps and identity documents; work on the dollar started too late for any sizeable quantity to be produced. Fortunately the notes were never dropped into Britain and the majority of the prisoners survived the war through good fortune, though the plan was to originally kill them all to hide what they had done. The notes were dumped in Lake Toplitz by the Nazis but notes have turned up since and are now valuable collector’s items.

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    The Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp

    by tigerjapan Updated Dec 4, 2008

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    The Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp (1936 - 1945) was built by concentration camp prisoners from the Emsland camps. It was the first new camp to be established after Reichsfuhrer-SS Heinrich Himmler was appointed Chief of the German Police.

    More than 200,000 people were imprisoned her between 1936 and 1945. Tens of thousands of people died from starvation, disease, forced labour, mistreatment and as victims of the systematic extermination operations of the SS. Also, at the end of April 1945 the camp was evacuated and thousands of other prisoners dies in the death marches that followed the evacuation.

    It is the closest concentration camp memorial and museum to Berlin and is a truly important place to visit should you be in Berlin.

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    Prisoners Kitchen

    by alancollins Written Jul 9, 2008

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    The prisoners’ kitchen is one of the few surviving original buildings in the Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp. The ingredients provided for the prisoners’ meals was sparse; hunger and starvation common place. The prisoners drew humorous pictures on the walls of the kitchen basement which were refined over the years. When WW2 ended the kitchen continued to be used to feed the inmates of the Soviet Special Camp. The kitchen was turned into a museum in 1961 and remained the same for over 40 years. More recently it has had a makeover showing the history of the camp. There is a cinema with a continuously showing film about the camp with audio in different languages.

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    Unknown Sachsenhausen-SS Parade Ground

    by alancollins Updated Jul 8, 2008

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    SS Parade Ground
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    The former SS Camp is now used by the Oranienburg Police Department. In the inmates’ camp the main feature was the Appell Platz. In the SS Camp this translated into the enormous parade ground around which all the Barracks were located together with other important buildings. It is now overgrown and wild to the extent that whilst I was walking around it I disturbed a Fallow Deer.
    To find the SS Camp. Exit the camp by the turnstile at the northern end of the camp. Follow the fencing by the mass grave memorial and double back along the footpath with the special camp on your right. When you reach the end of the special camp fencing fork right. You will eventually see the wall of the camp. Turn left along the footpath and watch out for the camp wall to end and turn right. You should now be in the SS Camp.

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    The SS Camp Entrance

    by alancollins Updated Jul 8, 2008

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    Entrance to the camp
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    The Sachsenhausen complex was huge at approximately 500 acres and only a small part was used by the inmates in their triangular shaped camp. There was a large training camp for the SS Garrison which numbered about 4,000 of which nearly 400 were women. As you walk along the main camp road with the inmates camp to the left on the right was the SS camp. Part of it is now used by the Oranienburg Police Department for training and this is off limits but can be viewed from a distance. Parts of the former camp still exist and can be reached either by exiting the inmates camp by the Special Camp and doubling back. The camp can also be reached by walking along Bernauer Strasse until you reach the entrance to the Oranienburg Police Department Camp. Turn into the entrance and then follow the small roadway in the same direction as you were walking. The former SS Camp will be on your left and you will start to see garages. You are not stopped from viewing the former SS Camp but you are not actively encouraged.

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    SS Garages & Workshops

    by alancollins Written Jul 7, 2008

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    Garages & Workshops
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    Inside the SS Camp and around the edge of the parade ground there were a large number of garages and workshops, where vehicles were stored and repaired. A large number of the garages still survive and are in use today.

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    The Former SS Barracks

    by alancollins Written Jul 7, 2008

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    SS Barracks
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    The SS Barracks were built around a large parade ground. They were built of wood but were disguised to have the appearance of a more substantial building by being rendered with plaster and render. A number of the buildings still survive but looking at the broken windows and damp they are being ignored instead of being preserved as historical buildings from the war period which are now rare.

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    Unknown Sachsenhausen-The SS Camp

    by alancollins Updated Jul 6, 2008

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    Front of the Shower Block
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    This building is located in the former SS Camp. In it heyday it was a grand building, for its purpose, which was a shower block and boiler room. The officers had better showers and space than the other ranks. Unfortunately the building has been left to decay and be vandalised.
    To find the SS Camp. Exit the camp by the turnstile at the northern end of the camp. Follow the fencing by the mass grave memorial and double back along the footpath with the special camp on your right. When you reach the end of the special camp fencing fork right. You will eventually see the wall of the camp. Turn left along the footpath and watch out for the camp wall to end and turn right. You should now be in the SS Camp.

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    SS association with Oranienburg

    by alancollins Written Jul 6, 2008

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    Guard Tower
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    The Guard Tower next to the Special Camp Museum has been rebuilt and now houses an electronic visual display of the relationship between the SS Camp and the town of Oranienburg. It was a ‘con’ because the SS gave the outward appearance of an elite unit that was garrisoned close to the camp but had nothing to do with it. There was a close relationship between the town and the SS, with people encouraged to visit the SS Garrison and looked around. The SS played sport against the town, their band played at various events; drunken behaviour was not encouraged and was punished. As far as the town was concerned the SS had nothing to do with the Sachsenhausen Camp or the fact that this was also a training camp to provide guards for other concentration camps.

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Oranienburg Things to Do

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