#sharingmemory – Our motto for the 76th anniversary of liberation held at Sachsenhausen Memorial
We especially focus on the perspective of the generations born later. How do the relatives of the victims live with their parents’ and grandparents’ history of persecution? How do we want to remember the crimes committed at Sachsenhausen now and in the future? Find the programme here:
Liberation in 1945
Advancing on Berlin, Soviet and Polish troops reached the Sachsenhausen concentration camp in Oranienburg on 22 April 1945. They encountered some 3,000 totally emaciated men and women from all over Europe.
The Soviet soldiers provided them with medicines, food and clothing. Yet for hundreds of those liberated all help came too late. They were too weak to survive.
While a number of Sachsenhausen prisoners saw liberation in the camp abandoned by the SS, thousands of others were still marching along German roads. The SS commanders had the camp evacuated in the night of 20-21 April, forcing more than 30,000 prisoners on death marches northwest. The marchers suffered from cold, hunger and pain. Anyone unable to walk on was shot by the SS on the spot.
As the end of the war was drawing closer, more and more guards left their posts. American and Soviet troops liberated the last prisoners from Sachsenhausen in the area between Parchim, Ludwigslust and Schwerin in early May.
Both liberators and those liberated tried to photograph the moment of liberation. Have a look at the picture gallery to see photos taken between April and June 1945 by Soviet (1) and Polish soldiers (2, 3) as well as liberated prisoners (4).
“No-one knew where we would go.”
“… when we were on the death march, I wanted to beat it, but didn’t dare to, because there was nowhere to go.”
“In the afternoon, there were no more uniforms in the streets.”
“I had never ever imagined that this was how I would go into freedom.”
“So now, what to do? I was very hungry.”
“… we shared a loaf of bread and a slice of sausage between the five of us; after that we didn’t have anything to eat for the next three or four days …”
“… and suddenly I noticed that we were all alone, no guards anywhere.”
Danielle Chaimovitz, granddaughter of survivor Hirsz Litmanowicz, talks to Astrid Ley about the importance of education, tolerance and solidarity.
Efforts to investigate the disappearance of her grandfather prompted Cassan to write a book about the death march and liberation.
His father survived the death march. The son goes out on his own memorial march and writes a book about it.
Joanna Dubielecka is the granddaughter of survivor Władysława Górska. She speaks about the important role of her grandmother in her own life.
Marking the 76th anniversary of liberating the inmates of the Sachsenhausen concentration camp, the Moka Efti Orchestra will give a very special concert.
The history of National Socialism is the object of the radio play, while acoustic narration itself is an experiment.
The audio-visual intervention “TRANSITIONS: threshold to hell” provides a new perspective of the entrance to the concentration camp.
Sabine Kelka, an artist from Berlin, uses the 76th anniversary of liberation for an intervention with coloured tape on the site of the Memorial.
Austrian Federal President Alexander Van der Bellen in an interview with Adrian Erhart, Austrian Holocaust Memorial Service volunteer at the Sachsenhausen Memorial.
Social Democratic Party politician Kevin Kühnert in an interview with Franziska Vogt, Austrian Holocaust Memorial Service volunteer at the Sachsenhausen Memorial.
Germany’s ambassador to Israel in an interview with Mira Schneider, doing her Voluntary Social Year at the Sachsenhausen Memorial.
Austria’s Gedenkdienst sends mainly young volunteers to one-year placements at the Sachsenhausen Memorial.
Kreisjugendring e.V. organizes activities for children and young people in the Oberhavel district where it has been cooperating as a partner with the Memorial over many years.
Coalition for Action is a network advocating action against violence, rightwing extremism and racism.
VJF organizes international work camps in Germany and cooperates with the work and study camps held at the Memorial.
LKJ is the sponsor of Brandenburg’s Voluntary Social Year in Culture. Every year, one volunteer is given the opportunity to do cultural work at the Sachsenhausen Memorial.
Carmen e.V., an international sports and cultural association for young Roma, and the Memorial work on a joint project in the context of “Young People Remember – Young Interventions”.
The coordinators of ImPuls e.V. work with young people in Oranienburg and take part in the Memorial’s “Young Interventions” project.
The Centre for Persecuted Arts in the Solingen Art Museum and the Memorial have been working for a number of years on making the Memorial’s art collection visible.
Amaro Foro e.V. is a transcultural organization for young Roma and non-Roma. The organization is a regular visitor to the Memorial in the context of workshops.
The Friends of the Memorial brings together members from all over Europe to support the work of the Memorial.
Zeitwerk, the LJR’s counselling centre, is the coordinator of überLAGERt, a project in which young people search for clues to the Nazi past in their locality.