Concentration Camp Tour Berlin or Prague

Feb 20th, 2004, 10:44 PM
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Concentration Camp Tour Berlin or Prague

We will be in Berlin and Prague in September. We only want to go to one concentration camp. We have four days in Berlin and the same in Prague. In which city should we go to a concentration camp.
spiegelcjs is offline  
Feb 21st, 2004, 03:37 AM
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Hi spiegel,

My suggestion is to go to the Pinkas Synagogue for the memorial list and the children's art work, the Old Jewish Cemetery and the Terezin Camp and get the entire cathartic experience at one time.

It will be less
ira is offline  
Feb 21st, 2004, 10:19 AM
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Did the rest of Ira's message vanish into cyperspace?
Underhill is offline  
Feb 21st, 2004, 10:31 AM
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You might also want to visit Lidice, a short distance from Prague, where the nazis killed all the males and then destroying the town in retaliation for the killing of one of Hitler's favorite officers. All that's left is a monument and list of those slain.

I remember during the war when this happened and hearing my Czech grandfather and his sister and brother talking about this horrifying event. Not a concentration camp, but further testament to the brutality of the nazis.
Giovanna is offline  
Feb 21st, 2004, 01:03 PM
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Hi underhill,

Yes. The sentence was, "It will be less depressing".

I saw it when I wrote it. It was there before I sent it.

ira is offline  
Feb 21st, 2004, 02:15 PM
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There were never any concentration camps in Berlin or Prague.

To see the remains of a death camp go to Oswiecim/Auschwitz in Poland. It's a little bit west of Krakow and east of Prague by about the same distance that Berlin is north of it.

hopscotch is offline  
Feb 21st, 2004, 04:54 PM
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Sachsenhausen perhaps, hopscotch?

35 kilometres from Berlin city center and the first built. It was a model for all the other death camps.

The book I purchased at the museum there sums the place up much better than I ever could:

'200,000 prisoners were in Sachsenhausen between 1936 and 1945. Almost 100,000 people died from exhaustion, disease, malnutrition on pneumonia from the freezing cold. Many died in violent medical experiments or were executed.'


joe4212 is offline  
Feb 21st, 2004, 05:04 PM
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As someone whose family perished in Aushwitz, it's very disturbing to me to hear concentration camps discussed as if they are "tourist attractions." They are the remains of one of the darkest moments in European history and a manifestation of human evil. It's also distressing, spiegelcjs, that you want to "go to a concentration camp" when you do not even know enough about the history of the time to know that there were no concentration camps in Berlin. Berlin was city from which Hitler and his followers perpetrated the atrocities -- the Nazis made sure to keep the concentration camps far away from their beloved Berlin.
CFW is offline  
Feb 21st, 2004, 05:59 PM
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CFW: I second your response. The question made me feel uncomfortable. " In which city should we go to a concentration camp" sounds like voyeurism. On the other hand may be those who do "visit" the camps will forever after have a better understanding of atrocities committed in WWII.
pipsil is offline  
Feb 21st, 2004, 07:03 PM
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CFW, whilst the original poster to this thread has used perhaps an unfortunate title, he or she should be allowed to ask the question without being belittled.

I too have family who perished and occasionally I am surprised at some questions asked here about camps. It is important though that we answer those same questions freely and fairly and not criticise. I want people to visit them. In doing so the memories of those who suffered and whose families may still be suffering will never ever be forgotten.

Pipsil, I agree with your thoughts that by visiting the camps a person may never forget those atrocities. Thank you.

milley_5 is offline  
Feb 22nd, 2004, 12:15 AM
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From those cities your choice is Sachenhausen, north of Berlin, and Terezin, north of Prague. I am afraid I have not been to Sachenhausen, but think it was for women: I once stayed bed and breakfast with a woman who had lived through it. I felt odd and somehow ashamed as she served me breakfast, but of course she had no such feelings.

I do strongly recommend Terezin, an hour from central Prague, for a morning visit. If you use you find that busses leave Prague Florenc bus station at 0830 and 0900 and take an hour to Terezin LT, where the museum opens at nine, daily. Afterwards I suggest you take a bus in 15 minutes over to lunch in Litomerice, a fine Baroque city centre, to wash from your mouth that horrid taste.

I think people should go, with thought, to ask how matters came to this, and what the history of race hatred says on the topics of our treatment now of blacks (police videos ?) Moslems, asylum seekers, and the poor of Africa, Asia and Latin America. And even of Jews: Mel Gibson s film ? Adolf Hitler has not lost until he has lost everywhere and for all time. A visit to Terezin gives energy.

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ben_haines_london is offline  
Feb 22nd, 2004, 03:50 AM
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Hi all,

I think that itisimportant that people be encouraged to visit these places, even if it does sound as if they were 'tourist attractions'.

When we were in Prague, we visited the site with the names of those who were murdered and the art work from the children at Terezin.

There were about a dozen young people who started off treating the visit as just one more "boring cultural" stop. They left in tears.
ira is offline  
Feb 22nd, 2004, 05:20 AM
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I agree with Milley,this dreadful episode in European history should never ever be forgotten.
I am sure spiegelcjs didn't mean to de value the importance of such places.
But we must remember that as generations pass by it will ultimately be tourists who visit them.

I have to say that I have never been to any concentration camps but really feel the need to do so.This is necessary.
I do really worry that things may go the same way as Normandy beach sites and become extremely tacky IMO, losing sight perhaps of the memory of the soldiers and civilians that suffered and died.
In the 21st Century unfortunately it is probably tourism that will keep these places alive and with that in mind, ensure the memory of all those that suffered are never forgotten.
Mucky is offline  
Feb 22nd, 2004, 07:03 AM
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It is important that we remember and honor those who suffered and died in the Holocaust and that as Ben Haines says we carry with us the lessons we learn and apply them in our view of current events so we don't repeat the horrors of the past. I agree that people should visit and gain an understanding of what happened in these places. At the same time, as Mucky says, I hope the concentration camps do not just become another "tourist site" for people to visit and say "been there, done that" like Monet's house in Giverny or the Louvre.
CFW is offline  
Feb 22nd, 2004, 09:17 AM
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Sachsenhausen was for men too. It was mainly for politicals. I know, because my uncle was in it; and as someone else mentioned, it was close to Berlin.
Michael is offline  
Feb 22nd, 2004, 02:43 PM
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Sachenhausen was a "model" concentration camp (as opposed to extermination camp. Many Soviet prisoners were interned there (including Stalin's son, who probably died during an escape attempt. It is a short train ride from Berlin.
Marc_David_Miller is offline  
Feb 25th, 2004, 09:03 AM
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I have waited a while to respond to all of the comments posted regarding my question and have decided it is time to respond.

First of all my apologies if I offended anyone as this was not my intention I can assure you. I am fortunate that I do not have any direct relatives of the horrors inflicted on the Jewish community, however, we have friends that to. As we have traveled to other parts of the world, Israel, Paris, Rome,St. Petersburg, we always visit the Jewish synagoges, make donations, and hope that all of the suffering will never happen again.

My use of the word concentration camp is evidentally a common mistake as I have now had this conversation with many friends. We all know that some were work camps, some holding areas, and unfortunately some the actual death camps. If you read the travel books etc. you can see that this mistake is very common. However, it does not negate the fact that people want to visit and should visit to "never forget." I do not frankly care what people call these atrocities, and if they are going as tourists, or like us a reminder of what the Jewish people have suffered. I find it hard to believe that after visiting , no matter for what reason, people will not come back with a better understanding and horror of what occurred, and never let this happen again.

I for one do not have to be reminded, but since this is unfortuantely part of my heritage and past I feel that visiting one of these locations is my duty so that when the time comes and this is discussed with my grandchildren I can be sensitive and explain this part of their heritage in a way that is understandable to them.

As the new Mel Gibson movie comes out today, I feel that it is more important than ever for everyone that visits a country that has a Holocust memorial or site of these atrocities visits to know that this did happen, and can never happen again.

Back to my original question about each of the facilities. If anyone has been to both the one outside of Berlin and the one outside of Prague I would still like an opinion if we are only going to visit one.

Thank you

spiegelcjs is offline  
Feb 25th, 2004, 10:35 AM
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My family and I are going to include a visit to Terezin as part of our Prague visit in March. I will report back.

I don't think it matters what people call these places, whether they were way station horrors like Terezin where people died from disease and starvation or camps which had gas chambers. They were all atrocities.
elaine is offline  
Feb 25th, 2004, 10:36 AM
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CFW, I believe you are getting a little bit too worked up over a simple question. Many people go to concentration camps to learn about what went on there, and to pay respects to the thousands that lost their lives in them. Would you rather leave them to pass on into obscurity with nobody acknowledging what happened there?

I visited Buchenwald last summer and it was a very sobering experience. All of the "barracks" where they kept prisoners are leveled, with memorial stones in their place noting specific groups of people that are remembered. Buchenwald has a multitude of information, but the majority of it is in German, so it would help to understand the language. Its located (if i recall correctly) near Weimar which is a couple hours from Berlin. We stopped on the way to Berlin from Dusseldorf last summer.
robkoval is offline  
Feb 25th, 2004, 11:15 AM
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I can't recommend either one--and BTW, I do not recall survivors and their friends and acquaintances ever making a distinction between the types of camp, they were all KZ--but I do recommend that you read some personal accounts before you go. Primo Levi's Survival in Auschwitz is an obvious choice, but I would also recommend any translation you can find of Jorge Semprun's books about his experiences in Buchenwald.
Michael is offline  

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