At the entrance to the camp, its largest structure, the impossibly detailed New Museum, charts the camp’s origins from defunct brewery to a Nazi political prison; the local Nazis filled it with many of their classmates, colleagues and neighbours.

The camp proper begins under the main watchtower and beyond a gate adorned with the ominous sign Arbeit macht frei (“Work frees”) and within the perimeter walls and former high-voltage fence – site of frequent inmate suicides. Within the camp many parts have been chillingly well preserved or reconstructed: a number of prison blocks which now house a museum telling the stories of selected inmates; the camp prison, from which internees seldom returned; the former kitchen and laundry where harrowing films show the camp on liberation. Just outside the perimeter lie pits where summary executions took place and bodies were incinerated.

Finally, at the northern tip of the camp, an exhibition in a guard tower investigates what the local populace knew and thought of the place, via video interviews, while the jumbled hall next door examines the postwar Soviet Special Camp (1945–50), when the Russians imprisoned 60,000 people with suspected Nazi links – though most were innocent – of whom at least 12,000 died.

Travel offers; book through Rough Guides

Germany features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

An expert’s guide: the best area to stay in Berlin

An expert’s guide: the best area to stay in Berlin

Of all Europe’s capitals, Berlin carries the biggest buzz. In the two decades or so since it was reunified, the city has developed into a heady meld of grit a…

04 Apr 2017 • Rough Guides Editors insert_drive_file Article
The best places to go in spring

The best places to go in spring

Springtime is beautiful, with its big blue skies and flowers in bloom, so there may be no better time to travel. If you're thinking about getting away, here are…

14 Feb 2017 • Rough Guides Editors camera_alt Gallery
26 awe-inspiring architectural wonders

26 awe-inspiring architectural wonders

From ancient temples to hyper-modern skyscrapers, these are just a few of the world's most incredible architectural wonders. Whether you're looking to wander l…

01 Feb 2017 • Rough Guides Editors camera_alt Gallery
View more featureschevron_right

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month