Twice I have visited the Sachsenhausen Memorial in Oranienburg, a stark, sombre reminder of the relentless atrocity of Hitler’s National Socialism. The austere walls, the ‘Arbeit macht frei’ and the eerie calm chill the spirits of visitors in the denuded former concentration camp.
But the lightly wooded area just outside the main gate holds a mute yet mighty testament to valour in the face of evil. A plaque records the names of British (including Canadian) soldiers and sailors who were killed after having been kept in Sachsenhausen—20 men who saw a fearsome foe and stubbornly fought him.
Those heroes’ names are underlined with a biblical text: ‘Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.’ They showed such love, and we are thankful. They remind us also of him who first spoke those words, who himself gave his life for sinners; and we praise him.
And on the 11th day of the 11th month, we remember.