The Blue Skies Project | Sachsenhausen

The Sachsenhausen main concentration camp and it's 65 sub camps (exact and approximate locations), all around the area of Berlin, Germany. Sachsenhausen was one of 24 nazi main concentration camps during WWII, with almost every main camp having a network of many sub camps under its supervision, effectively covering almost all of Europe at the time.

I've completed a next journey in my Blue Skies Project... this time I traveled to Sachsenhausen (near Berlin) and its 65 sub camps in north eastern Germany.

---

The Sachsenhausen main concentration camp, situated just north of the capital Berlin, was established in 1936 and stood at the center of the nazi concentration camp system (as it was situated right next to the Inspectorate of Concentration Camps in Oranienburg). It was considered a "model facility" for the nazis, and was used for propaganda purposes due to its unique triangular layout, and trying to follow the panopticon principle.

The Sachsenhausen main camp had 65 known sub camps attached to it, in a radius of about 150 miles around Berlin in north-eastern Germany (source: Encyclopedia of Camps and Ghettos, 1933-1945 published by Indiana University Press & United States Holocaust Memorial Museum).

Like many camps, Sachsenhausen was initially used primarily for political prisoners before the war, gradually overcrowding and growing into a forced war industry work assignment facility, systematically maltreating and torturing its prisoners, and often killing them.

Many Soviet POWs were killed at Sachsenhausen. The Red Army liberated the camp on April 22, 1945, and subsequently used the same camp to imprison nazi functionaries sentenced by Soviet war tribunals. It became the largest camp in the Soviet occupation zone. 

About 40,000-50,000 people are estimated to have died in Sachsenhausen. You can read more here.

---

Sachsenhausen is the third of a series of journeys that I'm undertaking to photograph the blue skies precisely above the (last known) location of every single one of the 1,075 concentration camps that have ever existed, as part of an photography/book/installation project called The Blue Skies Project. The project has proven quite immense and almost impossible to hold on to single-handedly – with staggering logistics to match – but I'm hanging in there.