“Ours is a hard lot, being imprisoned…”
I visited Sachsenhausen concentration camp near Berlin on 25th November 2012 – exactly 63 years after Anatolii Parshin had been deported from the camp (see last photograph). For majority of the time I spent in this area of the camp, I was alone. It was quiet and eerie. It made me feel uneasy, calm & devastated, all at the same time. Nothing in the world can prepare you for how being in the camp makes you feel. It is grim.
These photos are from the Zone II of the Special Camp which is separated by a wall from the main camp area.
“Sonderlager” of the Concentration Camp / Zone II of the Special Camp – In 1941 the SS ordered the construction of a special camp for allied prisoners of war and important prisoners. The 15 original brick barracks were used to house prisoners under special conditions. After June 1946, the Soviets used the site to hold officers of the German armed forces. source
“Hunger and cold prevailed in the Special Camp. The inadequate hygienic and sanitary conditions and the insufficient nourishment led to disease and epidemics. Usually the barracks were overcrowded; the prisoners had to sleep on the bare wood frames until 1947, when the Soviet camp administration distributed blankets and bags of straw. The only clothing which the prisoners had during their imprisonment was what they were wearing at the time of their arrest. The possession of personal items, particularly books and writing material was strictly forbidden.” source
“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.’” source