Sunday, April 14, 2013

Day 3 in Berlin Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp & Memorial, Check Point Charlie

I am back on a normal sleep schedule, jet leg has become a thing of the past, my body has fully adapted to European time.  I woke up around 9 am this morning, two of my hostel mates were moving out, could not sleep through the noise of suitcases closing, lockers opening, normal packing noise. I stayed in bed until about 10am, reading Stasiland, there was no point getting up, the hostel mates were using the bathroom.

A hostel friend and I planned to meet at 11 am to go to the Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp and Memorial, getting up at 10 am gave me plenty of time to get dressed and ready for the day.  We left for Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp a little after 11 am, we had no problems finding the trains to take, the directions were almost too easy.  It took about an hour to get to the train station for Sachsenhausen, then another 20 minutes to walk to the sight of the concentration camp.

Entrance to Sachenhausen Concentration Camp & Memorial

When we arrived at the concentration camp, there was a sign saying the next guided tour began at 11:45 am,  we decided to rent the headset instead.  Entrance to the Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp and Memorial is free, the headset cost 3 Euros, the guided tour costs 11 Euros.  The Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp is huge, the information on the audio guide was informative.  I started my tour of Sachsenhauser listening to the audio guide, however, the amount of information was overwhelming, I would need another trip and more time to listen to and see everything at this concentration camp.

Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp recounts the history of this camp, from its time as a Nazi Concentration Camp, to its liberation by Soviet and Polish military, to the Soviets using it as a camp for political prisoners.  We saw the crematories, the execution site, gallows, and burial grounds.  Seeing Sachsenhausen was another reminder of the evil, horrible crimes humans commit against each other, I discussed this with an Israeli I met yesterday on the Red Berlin : Secrets of the Communist Capital Walking Tour.  After a couple hours at Sachsenhausen, we decided we had seen enough for the day, this was not a concentration camp you could see in one day.

Quote from outside Execution Trench at Sachsenhausen 

From Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp we went to find Checkpoint Charlie, we wanted to make it during the day to take pictures.  This time we got on the wrong train at one point during the journey, one of the lines was under construction/repair and skipped our transfer station.   We did not get too far off track and found Checkpoint Charlie, there were some Germans dressed as American soldiers, holding flags charging 2 Euros for pics with them at the Checkpoint.  We were not interested in paying to take a picture with the Germans, but got our pictures from angles where the Germans were not standing.

Me at Checkpoint Charlie 

After Checkpoint Charlie we went to a popular German Burger stand, Burgetmeister.  Burgermeister was a public toilet, before becoming a hamburger shop.  There was a 25 minute wait to get our Burgermeisters, I ordered the burger named after the restaurant.  We went across the street to get something to drink and had a Turkish pizza appetizer while waiting for our burgers, neither of us had had a real meal today, we were hungry.  Burgermeister has a large display with the ticket numbers, we could see the display from where we were sitting across the street, I was number 83.  When the numbers got into the seventies, we moved to the Burgermeister area and found seats.  Was the Burgermeister worth the wait? It was a good burger, I prefer Five Guys, may be my American bias, but Burgermeister is a good place to check out if you are in Berlin. Burgermeister's neighborhood was unlike any I had seen in Berlin yet, the atmosphere was good, we sat across from Berliners while we ate our burgers, it was a good time.

Me at Burgermeister in Berlin

We headed back to the hostel after eating at Buregermeister.  I had a quiet evening, hanging out here, packing.  I am going to go take my clothes out of the drier and finish packing, I have an early morning train to Prague tomorrow.

Day 3 in Berlin Photo Album

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