Stiftung Brandenburgische Gedenkstätten Gedenkstätte und Museum Sachsenhausen

For the preparation and follow-up of the memorial visit

Many expectations are placed on visits to memorial sites. Appropriate preparation is needed for a sustained engagement with the challenging and complex history of the site.

Therefore, please plan at least one preparatory discussion with the participants about the character and tasks of a memorial site as well as their own expectations regarding the visit.

The visit should be voluntary. Involve your students in the decision to visit. The memorial is a place of remembrance and a cemetery, but at the same time it is also a place of learning. Expectations of emotionality from young people should therefore not be demanded.

In addition, we recommend that the memorial be visited only after an introduction to the topic of National Socialism. First basic knowledge or existing knowledge can help to classify new information and emotional impressions and to develop own questions to the history.

YouTube videos about the history of the site

Tour guide standing between the former infirmary barracks in the Memorial
Tour guide in front of a display in an exhibition

In the 15-part YouTube miniseries “Perspectives on the History of Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp”, tour guides introduce sites and objects at the Memorial and in the town of Oranienburg.

The German-language videos are about two to five minutes long. They are provided with English and Spanish YouTube subtitles.

After the visit

After the visit to the memorial site, a discussion in the class or group can help to process and classify personal impressions. When thoughts and feelings can be expressed without assessment or pressure to perform, there is room for further questions that can be explored in class. To reflect on the visit, you will find a methodological suggestion below.

The exercise “My impressions” focuses on the students’ open exchange about their impressions after a visit. Allow about 30 to 45 minutes for this. To prepare, place photos of the sites that were visited together with the students on the smartboard or as a printout on a wall/floor. The pictures serve as visual aids for the exercise. Additionally, you can use your own photos taken during the visit to start the conversation.

Students are asked to answer the following question from their perspective:

“What do I remember most about the tour?”

In their answers, the students can make direct reference to the places visited, but they do not have to. The answers are written down on cards. In a final round, each student presents the card. To relieve the pressure of having to say something in front of the whole group, the results can alternatively be exchanged in conversations with rotating partners, discussed in pairs, or compiled by individual requests to speak.

Download the exercise “My impressions” incl. photos (approx. 33 MB)