Scrapbookpages Blog

June 29, 2012

Mass graves at the Sachsenhausen concentration camp Memorial Site

I took the photo above in 1999 when I visited the Sachsenhausen Memorial Site in Oranienburg, Germany. Now a regular reader of my blog has returned from a trip to Sachsenhausen where he took some fantastic photos of the mass graves, which you can see on his blog here.

There have been a lot of changes at the Sachsenhausen Memorial Site since I visited it in 1999.  This quote is from the blog of The Black Rabbit of Inlé:

[at the mass graves, there is] an expensive looking electronic gate. You push a button to let yourself out of the memorial,
and then later, push a button—with a security camera in your face—to request re-entry into the memorial.

When I visited Sachsenhausen in 1999, the mass graves could only be accessed by a revolving gate at the north exit of the Memorial Site, and there was no re-entry. Visitors who exited the Memorial Site to see the mass graves had to return to the parking lot by means of a road that ran along the west side of the former camp.

Sachsenhausen was one of the three major concentration camps in Germany; the other two were Buchenwald and Dachau.  The camps in Germany were mainly for political prisoners and illegal combatants who were captured during World War II; most of the Jews were “transported to the East,” to Auschwitz and Majdanek, or to the three “Operation Reinhard” camps at Treblinka, Sobibor and Belzec.

After World War II, Sachsenhausen was in the Soviet zone of occupation. The Soviet Union set up Special Camp No. 7 at Sachsenhausen, which was an “internment camp” for German prisoners.

According to an Information Leaflet, which I picked up at the Memorial Site in 1999, the former Nazi “preventive detention camp” at Sachsenhausen was converted by the Soviet Union into Zone I for German civilians who were arrested and sent to the Sachsenhausen camp without a trial.

The brick barrack buildings at the north end of the Sachsenhausen camp, which the Nazis had used as a Special Camp for Allied Prisoners of War, were initially converted into Zone II for Soviet citizens who were awaiting return to the Soviet Union. Some of them were former concentration camp prisoners who were looked upon as traitors to Communism; they were waiting to be sent to the gulags in Siberia. Two of these brick buildings are shown in the photograph below. In August 1945, these brick barracks were used by the occupation forces of the Soviet Union as part of their prison camp for German citizens who had been arrested without charges.

Sachsenhausen barracks where German citizens were imprisoned by the Soviet Union, without charges or a trial,  after World War II ended

The Sachsenhausen camp was liberated by soldiers of the Soviet Union on April 22, 1945; most of the prisoners had been marched out of the camp, and only the prisoners who were too weak or sick to walk had been left behind.

The Soviets set up internment camps, in their zone of occupation, along the lines of the gulag system in the Soviet Union under the Communist dictatorship of Stalin.
This quote is from an Information Leaflet which I obtained from the Memorial Site in 1999:

In the Gulags that were created by Lenin and extended into a huge complex by Stalin, millions of people were required to perform forced labor for the development of the Soviet Union. Lawrentij Berija, the head of the Soviet National Commissioner’s Office of the Interior (NKVD), had already made provisions by January 1945 to secure the hinterland of the advancing Soviet Army. Members of the German Army and civilians captured by the Red Army during its advance were placed in camps immediately behind the front lines in order to be deported to the Soviet Union. Following the completion of the war negotiations, these camps were replaced by so-called Special Camps that were intended for long-term internment and imprisonment. Within the German territory occupied by the Soviets, ten camps were established, five of which were in Brandenburg. They were not under the authority of the Soviet Military Administration in Germany, but were administered by a department of the NKVD in Moscow.

According to the files released by the Soviet Union, a total of approximately 60,000 German prisoners were held in the Sachsenhausen Special Camp No. 7 after World War II ended. The bodies of approximately 12,000 prisoners who died of starvation and disease were buried in unmarked mass graves in three locations: the Commandant’s Yard in the front of the north exit of the Memorial Site, on the dunes on Schmachtenhagener Street, and in the Schmachtenhagener Forest on highway B 273 between Oranienburg and Schmachtenhagen.

The photograph above shows the graves in the Schmachtenhagener Forest.

The following quote is from a brochure available at the Sachsenhausen Memorial Site in 1999:

A total of at least 12,000 prisoners of the Special Camp in Sachsenhausen died from the conditions of their imprisonment, from disease and chronic undernourishment. During the harsh winter of 1945-46, when the already insufficient food rations were again halved, prisoners died in masses. The dead were hastily buried, naked and without identification, in mass graves in the surrounding area of the camp.

Because every form of contact with the outside world was strictly forbidden, particularly receiving news from relatives, the Special Camp was often referred to as the ‘Camp of Silence.’ After the camp’s closing was propagandistically reported in the press in the spring of 1950, it was not permissible to speak of the camps in the German Democratic Republic. Even in the west zones of occupation and later the Federal Republic of Germany – where organizations like the ‘Fighting Group Against Inhumanity’ and the ‘East Offices’ of the SPD and CDU had tried to procure and spread information about the ‘Camps of Silence’ – by the end of the cold war the camps were completely forgotten.

Only after the breakdown of the Communist system in the G.D.R., when three mass graves of the Sachsenhausen Special Camp were discovered, did ‘Stalin’s camps in Germany’ return to the public consciousness. Former prisoners spoke openly about their memories and placed a memorial stone on the northeast camp wall in 1990.

A permanent exhibition on the history of Special Camp No. 7 is housed in a museum which has been built in the former Zone II, an area which was incorporated into the Sachsenhausen Memorial Site in 1995.

My 2001 photograph above shows the overhanging roof of the Special Camp No. 7 museum, which is located just outside the triangle which is the former prison enclosure.  The museum building is black granite with no windows; the interior is completely dark with spotlights shining on the displays.  In 2001, the museum included a lot of Nazi documents which served to explain why the Germans received such harsh treatment by the Communists in Special Camp No. 7. In 2001, this was not a museum devoted to exonerating the victims; it was highly critical of the Nazi regime, but perhaps it has changed since I visited.

On the right side of the photograph above, one can see the structure which formerly covered the ruined crematorium building and gas chamber.  You can see photos of the new structure that has been built at Station Z on this blog.  I previously blogged about the gas chamber at Sachsenhausen here.

The stone fence, on the left side of the photograph above, separates the Sachsenhausen concentration camp enclosure from Zone II where the brick barracks formerly housed Prisoners of War and later German army officers who became prisoners of the Communist Soviet occupation forces after World War II. The monument to the anti-Fascist resistance fighters can be seen in the center of the photograph.

Until recently, the Sachsenhausen camp was virtually unknown in America.  I had never even heard of it until September 1992 when a fire was started in the Jewish Museum by “right-wing extremists” and this was reported in my local newspaper.

You can read about the Jewish Museum on my website here.


  1. I have offered you reasonable explanations of so-called “Aktion Reinhardt”. But, you are asking me for evidence?
    The Globocnik Report is the evidence, even though it appears to be a forgery. Faurisson and Irving are historians, while I am not. They have to accept recognized documents and cannot dismiss them as forgeries, while I can.
    Was there or wasn’t an operation called “Reinhard(t)”, it even does not matter, as the documents show nothing sinister about it whatsoever. The followers of extermination narrative will always interpret it to their own likening.
    There is no point to discuss Goebbels’ diary entry, you are referring to. Goebbels could write in his journal whatever his heart desired, he still was not in position to send anyone to the camp. Goebbels exterminated nobody. Is that clear?
    You repeatedly stating that “denial is in a sorry state”. My friend, there is no “denial”, but critical evaluation of evidence presented. And all those inconsistencies, improbabilities, impossibilities of the official story, make normal people to ask questions. What makes you to believe that people will buy that story without asking critical questions? What proof do you have, that Aktion Reinhardt was an extermination program?
    How many people had been killed? Can we all see the list?

    Comment by Gasan — July 3, 2012 @ 6:01 pm

  2. I am referring to so-called “Globocnik Report”, which appears to be a fake by itself. SS-Obergruppenführer Odilo Globocnik has disappeared after the war and it is believed that he was silenced, rather than brought to trial. He completed and signed report in 1944 in Trieste, Italy, after he was assigned to anti-guerilla task force, which was fighting partisans of Italy and Yugoslavia. His report consists a great deal of statistical data and I doubt, that he would remember all of it.
    Have you ever heard before, that an operation would be named after first name of any significant person? The Germans were not known for that. Why name the operation “Reinhard(t)” and not “Heydrich”?
    Let me explain to you, my friend. There had never been “Operation Reinhard” or “Reinhardt”. The acting deputy of Secretary of Finance Fritz Reinhardt requested information from General-Governance of Poland for his future economic planning, allocation of funds, etc. Every local official would have to submit the report.
    Did you know that Germany had a planned economy at that time? The officials, of course, did not like to write comprehensive reports, most of them don’t like it nowadays, as well, and they nicknamed it “Aktion Reinhardt”.
    It is just as simple as that. Read the report, there is nothing “sinister” in it.

    Also, suggested reading:

    SS-Gruppenführer Richard Glücks, not only ordered to increase food rations at the camps and reduced mortality, but also “forgot” about camps Treblinka, Sobibor, Belzec and Chelmno (still remembered Lublin, aka Majdanek). Maybe, he had never heard of those camps?

    Comment by Gasan — July 2, 2012 @ 8:24 pm

    • So the document that Faurisson largely refers to, and the one that you just linked to in your post, is one that you believe to be a forgery. The sorry state continues! Of course there are many reports regarding the property plunder of victims from the camps of Treblinka, Sobibor, and Belzec. Enormous amounts of shoes, glasses, all types of clothing, blankets, gold teeth (!), bedding, etc., were sent from the camps to collection centers where they were counted, cleaned, and then shipped off to other centers (mostly VoMi). Currency and gold was also deposited in the Reichsbank. These matters were controlled not by the Reich Ministry of Finance, but instead the SS-WVHA. For instance see Frank order, 26.9.1942, NO-724, as well as Pohl to Himmler, 6.2.1943, NO-1257.

      So, my original question stands: I had asked: What “statistical, financial and demographic reports from Poland to State Secretary Fritz Reinhardt” are you referring to? You now state that the Finance Secretary was in contact with the Generalgouvernment regarding economic planning matters. Evidence for this claim?

      As for the order by Glücks, what do you mean about those camps being forgotten? Are you suggesting that those camps never existed? A better interpretation would be that Pohl had no need to include those camps, as they were not concentration camps and lacked any regular inmates. Of course, taking care of camp labor does nothing (as I believe you to be insinuating) to disprove the extermination of those unfit for labor. Remember that Goebbels wrote in his March 27, 1942 diary that “In general one may conclude that 60% of them (Polish Jews) must be liquidated, while only 40% can be put to work.”

      Comment by Ray — July 3, 2012 @ 7:18 am

  3. I believe, that you have followed this blog for quite a while and had probably read already this comment, posted by reader “Königsberg”:
    ” There has never been an “Operation Reinhard”.
    The Holohoaxters and exterminists have always argued that the “Operation Reinhard”is named after Mr Reinhard Heydrich. But that ridicules statement can’t even alone stand on its own legs, because it is overwhelming “un-German” to name an operation, what so ever, after an individuals Christian name. The Germans would name it after the individuals SURname!
    On the other hand, there was an “Aktion Reinhardt”, as the Germans themselves named it. NOTE the spelling!!
    And this REAL “Aktion Reinhardt” was named after the 3rd Reich’s Secretary of State for Finances: Fritz Reinhardt.
    And “Aktion Reinhardt” was about the economic and financial effects of the displacements, in Poland, of Polish and Jewish populations in the years 1942-1943 – nothing else.
    I suggest that all Reinhard-Heydrich-believers go to and educate themselves from one of the REAL experts on the WW2 history – Robert Faurisson. He deals in facts – never ever in fantasies and fairytales! And any statement he make will hold in any court of law and will there, without any doubt, pass any forensic check.”

    Should you need any further clarifications or assistance, I would be happy to oblige.

    Comment by Gasan — July 1, 2012 @ 8:16 pm

    • If that is what passes as an exemplary work from “one of the REAL experts on the WW2 history” than denial is in a more sorry state than I had imagined.

      And if you are still willing to help me, perhaps you could answer my original question as Mr. Faurisson does no such thing in his blog posts. I had asked: What “statistical, financial and demographic reports from Poland to State Secretary Fritz Reinhardt” are you referring to?

      In case you want to see a more informative analysis of the Aktion Reinhard name, see the work of Peter Witte and Stephen Tyas cited here: They actually follow the documents, rather than speculate and slobber over one document’s spelling; and a document that wasn’t even sent to Fritz Reinhardt at that!


      Comment by Ray — July 2, 2012 @ 6:49 am

  4. I strongly believe, that it was nicknamed “Operation REINHARDT” by those German officials, who had to send statistical, financial and demographic reports from Poland to State Secretary Fritz Reinhardt
    Reinhardt could count on the Nazi Party’s and Hitler’s backing, which was why he held such an influential position from the outset. Reinhardt made the decisions as to taxation. Under him were the Tax and Customs School – set up by him in 1935 – and the Zollgrenzschutz (“Customs Service”). It was one of the components of the programs aimed at reducing unemployment, which collectively were also known as the Reinhardt Program. It is held by some, particularly German, historians that Reinhardt gave his name also to Operation Reinhard, although broader understanding especially after its termination has associated that program’s name with Reinhard Heydrich, first head of the SS.

    Comment by Gasan — June 30, 2012 @ 6:05 am

    • As far as the Holocaust religion is concerned, the nickname for the three camps Treblinka, Sobibor and Belzec is “Operation Reinhard.” Both Wikipedia and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum website use the term “Operation Reinhard.” The official Holocaust story is that Reinhard Heydrich officiated at the Wannsee Conference where the genocide of the Jews (nicknamed the Final Solution) was planned.

      The Wikipedia entry starts off with this quote: “Operation Reinhard (German: Aktion Reinhard or Einsatz Reinhard) was the code name given to the Nazi plan to murder Polish Jews in the General Government, and marked the most deadly phase of the Holocaust, the use of extermination camps. During the operation, as many as two million people were murdered in Bełżec, Sobibor and Treblinka, almost all of whom were Jews.[1]”

      If Dictator Obama is re-elected and continues to shred the U.S. Constitution, and the Supreme Court continues to re-interpret the Constitution, we could be looking at 5-year prison terms in America for deviating from the official Holocaust story.

      Comment by furtherglory — June 30, 2012 @ 7:02 am

    • What “statistical, financial and demographic reports from Poland to State Secretary Fritz Reinhardt” are you referring to here? Do tell.

      Comment by Ray — July 1, 2012 @ 9:19 am

  5. Minor points: operation RHEINHARDT, not Reinhard. Majdanek (aka “L” or Lublin in the Kolherr report) was one of the 4 O.R. Camps…

    Comment by schlageter — June 29, 2012 @ 4:43 pm

    • I am sure that it was “Operation Reinhard,” named after Reinhard Heydrich, the man who led the Wannsee Conference. Lublin was the headquarters of Operation Reinhard; the Majdanek camp is currently inside the city limits of Lublin. I have never heard of the Kolherr report, but there was a Korherr Report, named after Dr. Richard Korherr.

      Comment by furtherglory — June 29, 2012 @ 9:23 pm

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