The clock at Tower A shows the supposed time of liberation – it may or may not be true but this was added during East German times when they were keen to stress the Soviet Army’s role as liberator and anything that reminds one of that was positive for them.
Tower A controlled the entire camp – over-looking almost every corner not only could the guards in Tower A always see you and you could always see the tower. It stood as a symbol of the power of the guards over the inmates. On the other side from here was a balcony with a machine gun that covered the whole grounds but was never fired even once. It didn’t need to be – the system of fear and control of the guards was so complete that there was never a mass uprising even though the guards would have been hopelessly outnumbered.
Sometimes prisoners could be punished by being forced to stand at attention for hours at a time at Tower A. What made this a feared punishment was that all the guards would pass through the gate and all of them would see the prisoner and mistreat them as they wished.
On the gate you can see the famous slogan ‘Arbeit macht frei’. This roughly translates as ‘Work will set you free’; a cynical motto aimed at the prisoners. The same slogan was used here, at Dachau and at Auschwitz. Sachsenhausen’s camp commander took the slogan with him on his promotion to Auschwitz.