Coordinates: 51°01′20″N 11°14′53″E / 51.02222°N
11.24806°E / 51.02222; 11.24806
Watchtower at the memorial site Buchenwald, in 1983
Buchenwald concentration camp
Buchenwald concentration camp (German: Konzentrationslager (KZ)
Buchenwald, IPA: [ˈbuːxənvalt]; literally, in English: beech
forest) was a German
Nazi concentration camp
Nazi concentration camp established on Ettersberg
hill near Weimar, Germany, in July 1937, one of the first and the
largest of the concentration camps on German soil, following Dachau's
opening just over four years earlier.
Prisoners from all over Europe and the Soviet Union—Jews,
other Slavs, the mentally ill and physically-disabled from birth
defects, religious and political prisoners, Roma and Sinti,
Jehovah's Witnesses (then called Bible Students),
criminals, homosexuals, and prisoners of war—worked primarily as
forced labor in local armaments factories. From 1945 to 1950, the
camp was used by the Soviet occupation authorities as an internment
camp, known as
NKVD special camp number 2.
Today the remains of Buchenwald serve as a memorial and permanent
exhibition and museum.
2 Command structure
2.2 Female prisoners and overseers
3 Allied POWs
4 Death toll
4.1 Causes of death
4.2 Number of deaths
5 Death marches
5.1 Marches to Buchenwald
5.2 Marches from Buchenwald
6 Liberation from Nazi Germany
6.1 Civilian tour
Special Camp 2
9.4 Nazi head of personnel
10 Notable inmates
10.1 Camp literature
11 Modern times
11.1 Visit from President Obama and Chancellor Merkel
12 Photo gallery
13 See also
15 External links
The SS constructed
Buchenwald concentration camp
Buchenwald concentration camp in 1937. The camp was
liberated by the U.S. Army on 11 April 1945. Dwight D. Eisenhower, the
supreme commander of the Allied Forces, later wrote, "Nothing has ever
shocked me as much as that sight."  Between 1945 and 1950, it was
used by the
Soviet Union as an
NKVD special camp for Nazi prisoners.
On January 6, 1950, the Soviet authorities handed over the Buchenwald
camp to the East German Ministry of Internal Affairs.
The camp was to be named KZ Ettersberg, but this was changed to
Buchenwald, after the beech forest which surrounds it, since
"Ettersberg" carried associations with the enlightenment writer Johann
Wolfgang von Goethe (1749–1832), an iconic figure in German culture.
He lived in nearby
Weimar and took walks through the woods in the
area. According to modern folklore, he wrote some of his works under
the so-called Goethe Oak, the only tree on the site to survive the
construction of the camp.  However, the Buchenwald and
Mittelbau-Dora Memorials Foundation say that the name 'Goethe Oak' was
simply an epithet made up by the inmates of the camp in commemoration
of Goethe. The tree was destroyed by allied bombing in 1944.
Written in the camp's main entrance gate is the motto Jedem das Seine
(English:To each his own). The SS interpreted this to mean the
'superior race' had a right to humiliate and destroy others. It is
embedded in the metal gate so that it can be read properly from inside
the camp, rather than when standing outside.
Between April 1938 and April 1945, some 238,380 people of various
nationalities including 350 Western Allied prisoners of war (POW)s
were incarcerated in Buchenwald. Wachsmann and the Buchenwald and
Mittelbau-Dora Memorials Foundation place the number of deaths at
56,000, not including all those prisoners who died in another Camp
after having overcome the death march from Buchenwald.
During an American bombing raid on August 24, 1944, that was directed
at a nearby armaments factory, several bombs, including incendiaries,
also fell on the camp, resulting in heavy casualties among
prisoners (2,000 prisoners wounded and 388 killed by the
Today the remains of the camp serve as a memorial and permanent
exhibition and museum administered by the Buchenwald and
Mittelbau-Dora Memorials Foundation, which also oversees the camp's
memorial at Mittelbau-Dora.
Karl-Otto Koch (1 August 1937 – July 1941)
Hermann Pister (1942–1945)
Buchenwald’s first commandant was Karl-Otto Koch, who ran the camp
from 1937 to July 1941. His second wife, Ilse Koch, became notorious
as Die Hexe von Buchenwald ("the witch of Buchenwald") for her cruelty
and brutality. In February 1940 Koch, to his and his wife's delight,
had an indoor riding hall built by the prisoners who died by the dozen
due to the harsh conditions of the construction site. The hall was
built inside the camp, near the canteen, so that oftentimes Ilse Koch
could be seen riding in the morning to the beat of the prisoner
orchestra. Koch himself was eventually imprisoned at Buchenwald by
the Nazi authorities for incitement to murder. The charges were lodged
by Prince Waldeck and Dr. Morgen, to which were later added charges of
corruption, embezzlement, black market dealings, and exploitation of
the camp workers for personal gain. Other camp officials were
charged, including Ilse Koch. The trial resulted in Karl Koch being
sentenced to death for disgracing both himself and the SS; he was
executed by firing squad on April 5, 1945, one week before American
Ilse Koch was sentenced to a term of four years'
imprisonment after the war. Her sentence was reduced to two years and
she was set free. She was subsequently arrested again and sentenced to
life imprisonment by the post-war German authorities; she committed
Aichach (Bavaria) prison in September 1967. The second
commandant of the camp was
Hermann Pister (1942–1945). He was tried
in 1947 (Dachau Trials) and sentenced to death, but 28 September 1948
he died in
Landsberg Prison of a heart attack before the sentence
could be carried out.
Buchenwald camp money
Female prisoners and overseers
The number of women held in Buchenwald was somewhere between 500 and
1,000. The first female inmates were twenty political prisoners who
were accompanied by a female SS guard (Aufseherin); these women were
brought to Buchenwald from Ravensbrück in 1941 and forced into sexual
slavery at the camp's brothel. The SS later fired the SS woman on duty
in the brothel for corruption; her position was taken over by
“brothel mothers” as ordered by SS chief Heinrich Himmler.
The majority of women prisoners, however, arrived in 1944 and 1945
from other camps, mainly Auschwitz, Ravensbrück, and Bergen Belsen.
Only one barracks was set aside for them; this was overseen by the
female block leader (Blockführerin) Franziska Hoengesberg, who came
Essen when it was evacuated. All the women prisoners were later
shipped out to one of Buchenwald's many female satellite camps in
Sömmerda, Buttelstedt, Mühlhausen, Gotha, Gelsenkirchen, Essen,
Lippstadt, Weimar, Magdeburg, and Penig, to name a few. No female
guards were permanently stationed at Buchenwald.
When the Buchenwald camp was evacuated, the SS sent the male prisoners
to other camps, and the five hundred remaining women (including one of
the secret annex members who lived with Anne Frank, "Mrs. van Daan",
real name Auguste van Pels), were taken by train and on foot to the
Theresienstadt concentration camp
Theresienstadt concentration camp and ghetto in the Protectorate of
Bohemia and Moravia. Many, including van Pels, died sometime between
April and May 1945. Because the female prisoner population at
Buchenwald was comparatively small, the SS only trained female
overseers at the camp and "assigned" them to one of the female
sub-camps. Twenty-two known female guards had personnel files at the
camp, but it is unlikely that any of them stayed at Buchenwald for
longer than a few days.
Ilse Koch served as head supervisor (Oberaufseherin) of 22 other
female guards and hundreds of women prisoners in the main camp. More
than 530 women served as guards in the vast Buchenwald system of
subcamps and external commands across Germany. Only 22 women
served/trained in Buchenwald, compared to over 15,500 men. Anna
Fest was a guard at Ravensbrück, who was later tried and
acquitted. Ulla Erna Frieda Jürß was a guard at
Ravensbrück, who was convicted of her crimes.
Main article: Phil Lamason
Although it was highly unusual for German authorities to send Western
Allied POWs to concentration camps, Buchenwald held a group of 168
aviators for two months. These men were from the United States,
United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Jamaica. They all
arrived at Buchenwald on August 20, 1944.
All these airmen were in aircraft that had crashed in occupied France.
Two explanations are given for them being sent to a concentration
camp: first, that they had managed to make contact with the French
Resistance, some were disguised as civilians, and they were carrying
false papers when caught; they were therefore categorized by the
Germans as spies, which meant their rights under the Geneva Convention
were not respected. The second explanation is that they had been
categorised as Terrorflieger ("terror aviators"). The aviators were
initially held in
Gestapo prisons and headquarters in France. In April
or August 1944, they and other
Gestapo prisoners were packed into
covered goods wagons (US: boxcars) and sent to Buchenwald. The journey
took five days, during which they received very little food or water.
One aviator recalled their arrival at Buchenwald:
As we got close to the camp and saw what was inside... a terrible,
terrible fear and horror entered our hearts. We thought, what is this?
Where are we going? Why are we here? And as you got closer to the camp
and started to enter [it] and saw these human skeletons walking
around—old men, young men, boys, just skin and bone, we thought,
what are we getting into?
— Canadian airman Ed Carter-Edward's recollection of his arrival
They were subjected to the same treatment and abuse as other
Buchenwald prisoners until October 1944, when a change in policy saw
the aviators dispatched to Stalag Luft III, a regular
nevertheless, two airmen died at Buchenwald. Those classed as
Terrorflieger had been scheduled for execution after October 24; their
rescue was effected by Luftwaffe officers who visited Buchenwald and,
on their return to Berlin, demanded the airmen's release.
Buchenwald was also the main imprisonment for a number of Norwegian
university students from 1943 until the end of the war. The students,
being Norwegian, got better treatment than most, but had to resist
Nazi schooling for months. They became remembered for resisting forced
labor in a minefield, as the Nazis wished to use them as cannon
fodder. An incident connected to this is remembered as the 'Strike at
Burkheim'. The Norwegian students in Buchenwald lived in a warmer,
stone-construction house and had their own clothes.
Causes of death
A primary cause of death was illness due to harsh camp conditions,
with starvation—and its consequent illnesses—prevalent.
Malnourished and suffering from disease, many were literally "worked
to death" under the Vernichtung durch Arbeit policy (extermination
through labor), as inmates only had the choice between slave labor or
inevitable execution. Many inmates died as a result of human
experimentation or fell victim to arbitrary acts perpetrated by the SS
guards. Other prisoners were simply murdered, primarily by shooting
Martin Sommer was an SS-Hauptscharführer who served as
a guard at the concentration camps of Dachau and Buchenwald. Known as
the "Hangman of Buchenwald", he was considered a depraved sadist who
reportedly ordered Otto Neururer and Mathias Spannlang, two Austrian
priests, to be crucified upside-down. Sommer was especially infamous
for hanging prisoners off of trees from their wrists, which had been
tied behind their backs (a torture technique known as strappado) in
the "singing forest", so named because of the screams which emanated
from this wooded area.
Summary executions of Soviet POWs were also carried out at Buchenwald.
At least 1,000 men were selected in 1941–2 by a task force of three
Gestapo officers and sent to the camp for immediate
liquidation by a gunshot to the back of the neck, the infamous
The camp was also a site of large-scale trials for vaccines against
epidemic typhus in 1942 and 1943. In all 729 inmates were used as test
subjects, of whom 154 died. Other "experimentation" occurred at
Buchenwald on a smaller scale. One such experiment aimed at
determining the precise fatal dose of a poison of the alkaloid group;
according to the testimony of one doctor, four Russian POWs were
administered the poison, and when it proved not to be fatal they were
"strangled in the crematorium" and subsequently "dissected". Among
various other experiments was one which, in order to test the
effectiveness of a balm for wounds from incendiary bombs, involved
inflicting "very severe" white phosphorus burns on inmates. When
challenged at trial over the nature of this testing, and particularly
over the fact that the testing was designed in some cases to cause
death and only to measure the time which elapsed until death was
caused, one Nazi doctor's defence was that, although a doctor, he was
a "legally appointed executioner".
Number of deaths
Main article: Number of deaths in Buchenwald
Alben W. Barkley
Alben W. Barkley (D-Kentucky) looks on after Buchenwald's
liberation. Barkley later became Vice President of the United States
under Harry S. Truman
The SS left behind accounts of the number of prisoners and people
coming to and leaving the camp, categorizing those leaving them by
release, transfer, or death. These accounts are one of the sources of
estimates for the number of deaths in Buchenwald. According to SS
documents, 33,462 died. These documents were not, however, necessarily
accurate: Among those executed before 1944, many were listed as
"transferred to the Gestapo". Furthermore, from 1941, Soviet POWs were
executed in mass killings. Arriving prisoners selected for execution
were not entered into the camp register and therefore were not among
the 33,462 dead listed.
One former Buchenwald prisoner, Armin Walter, calculated the number of
executions by the number of shootings in the back of the head. His job
at Buchenwald was to set up and care for a radio installation at the
facility where people were executed; he counted the numbers, which
arrived by telex, and hid the information. He says that 8,483 Soviet
prisoners of war were shot in this manner.
According to the same source, the total number of deaths at Buchenwald
is estimated at 56,545. This number is the sum of:
Deaths according to material left behind by the SS: 33,462
Executions by shooting: 8,483
Executions by hanging (estimate): 1,100
Deaths during evacuation transports (estimate): 13,500
This total (56,545) corresponds to a death rate of 24 percent,
assuming that the number of persons passing through the camp according
to documents left by the SS, 240,000 prisoners, is accurate.
Germany realized it was losing the war, it began relocating
prisoners to camps within
Germany itself and away from the frontlines
in the east and west.
Marches to Buchenwald
Elie Wiesel was one of the people arriving at Buchenwald from
Auschwitz concentration camp.
Marches from Buchenwald
Liberation from Nazi Germany
Prisoner of KZBuchenwald with member of SS personnel after entry of US
On April 4, 1945, the US 89th Infantry Division overran Ohrdruf, a
subcamp of Buchenwald. It was the first Nazi camp
liberated by US troops.
Buchenwald was partially evacuated by the Germans from April 6, 1945,
until April 11, 1945. In the days before the arrival of the American
army, thousands of the prisoners were forced to join the evacuation
marches. Thanks in large part to the efforts of Polish engineer
(and short-wave radio-amateur, his pre-war callsign was: SP2BD) Gwidon
Damazyn, an inmate since March 1941, a secret short-wave transmitter
and small generator were built and hidden in the prisoners' movie
room. On April 8 at noon, Damazyn and Russian prisoner Konstantin
Ivanovich Leonov sent the
Morse code message prepared by leaders of
the prisoners' underground resistance (supposedly
Walter Bartel and
Harry Kuhn (de)):
To the Allies. To the army of General Patton. This is the Buchenwald
concentration camp. SOS. We request help. They want to evacuate us.
The SS wants to destroy us.
The text was repeated several times in English, German, and Russian.
Damazyn sent the English and German transmissions, while Leonov sent
the Russian version. Three minutes after the last transmission sent by
Damazyn, the headquarters of the US Third Army responded:
KZ Bu. Hold out. Rushing to your aid. Staff of Third Army.
According to Teofil Witek, a fellow Polish prisoner who witnessed the
transmissions, Damazyn fainted after receiving the message.
After this news had been received, Communist inmates stormed the
watchtowers and killed the remaining guards, using arms they had been
collecting since 1942 (one machine gun and 91 rifles; see Buchenwald
A detachment of troops of the US 9th Armored Infantry Battalion, from
the 6th Armored Division, part of the US Third Army, and under the
command of Captain Frederic Keffer, arrived at Buchenwald on April 11,
1945 at 3:15 p.m. (now the permanent time of the clock at the
entrance gate). The soldiers were given a hero's welcome, with the
emaciated survivors finding the strength to toss some liberators into
the air in celebration.
Later in the day, elements of the US 83rd Infantry Division overran
Langenstein, one of a number of smaller camps comprising the
Buchenwald complex. There, the division liberated over 21,000
prisoners, ordered the mayor of Langenstein to send food and water
to the camp, and hurried medical supplies forward from the 20th Field
Third Army Headquarters sent elements of the 80th Infantry Division to
take control of the camp on the morning of Thursday, April 12, 1945.
Several journalists arrived on the same day, perhaps with the 80th,
including Edward R. Murrow, whose radio report of his arrival and
reception was broadcast on
CBS and became one of his most famous:
I asked to see one of the barracks. It happened to be occupied by
Czechoslovaks. When I entered, men crowded around, tried to lift me to
their shoulders. They were too weak. Many of them could not get out of
bed. I was told that this building had once stabled 80 horses. There
were 1,200 men in it, five to a bunk. The stink was beyond all
They called the doctor. We inspected his records. There were only
names in the little black book, nothing more. Nothing about who these
men were, what they had done, or hoped. Behind the names of those who
had died, there was a cross. I counted them. They totaled 242. 242 out
of 1,200, in one month.
As we walked out into the courtyard, a man fell dead. Two others, they
must have been over 60, were crawling toward the latrine. I saw it,
but will not describe it.
— Extract from Edward R. Murrow's Buchenwald Report – April 15,
In mid-April, 1945, Weimar's civilians were required to complete a
tour of the camp—to "see for themselves the horror, brutality and
human indecency" perpetrated. Many were in tears; others fainted
and could be taken no further. Liberated inmates were dying at a rate
of forty every day.
Special Camp 2
NKVD special camps
After liberation, between 1945 and February 10, 1950, the camp was
administered by the
Soviet Union and served as
Special Camp No. 2 of
the NKVD. It was part of a "special camps" network operating since
1945, formally integrated into the
Gulag in 1948. Another
infamous "special camp" in Soviet occupied
Germany was the former Nazi
concentration camp Sachsenhausen (special camp No. 7).
Between August 1945 and the dissolution on March 1, 1950, 28,455
prisoners, including 1,000 women, were held by the
Soviet Union at
Buchenwald. A total of 7,113 people died in
Special Camp Number 2,
according to the Soviet records. They were buried in mass graves
in the woods surrounding the camp. Their relatives did not receive any
notification of their deaths. Prisoners comprised alleged opponents of
Stalinism, and alleged members of the
Nazi Party or Nazi
organizations; others were imprisoned due to identity confusion and
arbitrary arrests. The
NKVD would not allow any contact of
prisoners with the outside world and did not attempt to determine
the guilt of any individual prisoner.
On January 6, 1950, Soviet Minister of Internal Affairs Kruglov
ordered all special camps, including Buchenwald, to be handed over to
the East German Ministry of Internal Affairs.
In October 1950, it was decreed that the camp would be demolished. The
main gate, the crematorium, the hospital block, and two guard towers
were spared. All prisoner barracks and other buildings were razed.
Foundations of some still exist and many others have been rebuilt.
According to the Buchenwald Memorial website, "the combination of
obliteration and preservation was dictated by a specific concept for
interpreting the history of Buchenwald Concentration Camp."
The first monument to victims was erected days after the initial
liberation. Intended to be completely temporary, it was built by
prisoners and made of wood. A second monument to commemorate the dead
was erected in 1958 by the GDR near the mass graves. Inside the camp,
there is a stainless steel monument in the place of the first
monument, the surface of which is maintained at 37 °C
(99 °F), the temperature of human skin, all year round.
Karl-Otto Koch from 1937 to 1941
Wolfgang Plaul (de), Born 1909 – Missing, 1945. Also commandant
of Buchenwald Female camp (Aussenlager), 1945.
Nazi head of personnel
The bullet-ridden body of one SS guard, the other stabbed, who were
killed in the Ohrdruf concentration camp soon after the liberation.
Roy Allen, American pilot
Jean Améry, Austrian-Belgian writer
Robert Antelme, French writer
Jacob Avigdor, before World War II Chief Rabbi of Drohobych, afterward
Chief Rabbi of Mexico
Conrad Baars, psychiatrist
Fritz Beckhardt, German-Jewish World War l fighter pilot
Bruno Bettelheim, Jewish Austrian-American child psychologist
Józef Biniszkiewicz, Polish socialist politician
Léon Blum, Jewish French politician, pre-and post-war long-term
French prime minister
Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Protestant theologian and prominent member of the
Boris Braun, Croatian University professor
Rudolf Brazda, the last known surviving homosexual deported to the
camps; died in 2011
Rudolf Breitscheid, former member of the SPD and leader of its faction
Weimar Reichstag, died in the camp in 1944
Christopher Burney, British officer and
Special Operations Executive
Robert Clary, French actor, Corporal Louis LeBeau in the Hogan's
Heroes television series
René Cogny, French general
Seweryn Franciszek Światopełk-Czetwertyński, Polish politician
Édouard Daladier, French politician, former head of the French
Marcel Dassault, French aviation entrepreneur who founded the Dassault
Hélie de Saint Marc, member of the French resistance, later involved
in the attempted Algiers putsch of 1961
Léon Delarbre, French artist and museum curator
Laure Diebold, French resistant, Compagnon de la Libération
Willem Drees, Dutch politician and prime minister, held as hostage in
Buchenwald from 1940 to 1941
Franz Ehrlich, German architect, designer of the Buchenwald entrance
Marian Filar, Polish Jewish concert pianist and virtuoso.
Ludwik Fleck, Polish serologist and philosopher of science.
Maria Forescu, Romanian film actress, died in the camp in 1943
Josef Frank (politician), Czech communist
Joseph Friedenson, writer and editor
August Froehlich, German Roman Catholic priest active in resistance
movement against the National Socialism
Henry P. Glass, Austrian Architect and Industrial Designer,
transferred from Dachau in September 1938, released in January 1939,
moved to the US
Albin Grau, film producer (Nosferatu, 1922)
Maurice Halbwachs French sociologist, died in the camp in 1945
Max Hamburger (nl), Dutch psychiatrist
Bertrand Herz (de), French engineer, president of IKBD
(International Committee Buchenwald Dora and commandos)
Curt Herzstark inventor of the Curta calculator, hand-held,
hand-cranked mechanical calculator
Heinrich Eduard Jacob, German writer
Paul-Émile Janson, Belgian politician, former Prime Minister of
Belgium, died in the camp in 1944
Léon Jouhaux, French trade unionist and
Nobel Peace Prize
Nobel Peace Prize laureate
Józef Kachel, Scout leader, head of the pre-war Polish Scouting
Association in Germany
Imre Kertész writer, 2002
Nobel Prize in Literature
Nobel Prize in Literature recipient
Eugen Kogon, anti-Nazi activist, later Christian Socialist, professor,
broadcaster and author
Phillip (Phil) J. Lamason, Squadron Leader, Royal New Zealand Air
Yisrael Meir Lau
Yisrael Meir Lau (born 1937), Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi of Israel
Hermann Leopoldi, Austrian composer and entertainer
Fritz Löhner-Beda, Austrian lyricist
Artur London, senior Czech communist and writer, future government
Polish prisoners from Buchenwald awaiting execution in the forest near
the camp, April 26, 1942
Dwight Eisenhower and other high ranking U.S. Army officers
view the bodies of prisoners, April 12, 1945
Buchenwald, photo taken April 16, 1945, five days after liberation of
Elie Wiesel is in the second row from the bottom, seventh
from the left, next to the bunk post.
Jacques Lusseyran, blind French memoirist and professor
Henri Maspero, French Sinologist, pioneering scholar of Taoism, died
in the camp in March 1945
Karl Mayr, Adolf Hitler's immediate superior in an Army Intelligence
Division in the Reichswehr, 1919–1920
Paul Morgan, Austrian actor, died in the camp in 1938
John H. Noble, American-born gulag survivor and author; Family owner
Praktica Camera factory,
Andrée Peel, Member of the French resistance
Harry Peulevé, an agent of the SOE who managed to escape Buchenwald
with F. F. E. Yeo-Thomas.
Henri Christiaan Pieck, Dutch painter and twin brother of Anton Pieck
Paul Rassinier, considered the father of Holocaust denial
Jean Riboud, French corporate executive and former chairman of
Jakob Rosenfeld, minister of health under Mao
Herbert Sandberg, artist, designer, publisher of Ulenspiegel
Paul Schneider, German pastor, died in the camp in 1939
Jorge Semprún, Spanish intellectual and politician and culture
minister of Spain (1988–91)
Jura Soyfer, Austrian poet and dramatist, died in the camp in 1939
Boris Taslitzky (1911- 2005), French painter.
Ernst Thälmann, leader of the Communist Party of Germany, died in the
camp in April 1944
Jack van der Geest, escapee
Fred Wander, Austrian writer
Ernst Wiechert, German writer
Elie Wiesel, Romanian Jewish French-American writer, 1986 Nobel Peace
F. F. E. Yeo-Thomas,
Royal Air Force
Royal Air Force Wing Commander and British
Special Operations Executive
Special Operations Executive (SOE) agent, codenamed "The White Rabbit"
Petr Zenkl, Czech National Social Party politician, deputy Prime
Minister of Czechoslovakia (1946–1948)
Princess Mafalda of Savoy, the daughter of Victor Emmanuel III of
Italy, died in the camp in 1944.
Joachim Ernst, Duke of Anhalt, died in Soviet custody in 1947.
Survivors who have written about their camp experiences include Jorge
Semprún, who in Quel beau dimanche! describes conversations involving
Goethe and Léon Blum, and Ernst Wiechert, whose Der Totenwald was
written in 1939 but not published until 1945, and which likewise
involved Goethe. Scholars have investigated how camp inmates used art
to help deal with their circumstances, and according to Theodor
Ziolkowski writers often did so by turning to Goethe. Artist Léon
Delarbre sketched, besides other scenes of camp life, the Goethe Oak,
under which he used to sit and write. One of the few prisoners who
escaped from the camp, the Belgian Edmond Vandievoet, recounted his
experiences in a book whose English title is "I escaped from a Nazi
Death Camp" [Editions Jourdan, 2015]. In his work Night, Elie Wiesel
talks about his stay in Buchenwald, including his father's death.
There is an account of the Soviet
NKVD camp, by former inmate Maria
Linke. Born in tsarist-era Russia, daughter of a German foundry
manager, she was taken into custody due to her fluent Russian.
Today the remains of Buchenwald serves as a memorial and permanent
exhibition and museum administrated by Buchenwald and Mittelbau-Dora
Memorials Foundation, which also administrates the camp memorial at
Visit from President Obama and Chancellor Merkel
On June 5, 2009, U.S. President
Barack Obama and German Chancellor
Angela Merkel visited Buchenwald after a tour of
Dresden Castle and
Church of Our Lady. During the visit they were accompanied by Elie
Wiesel and Bertrand Herz (de), both survivors of the camp.
Volkhard Knigge (de), the director of the Buchenwald and
Mittelbau-Dora Memorials Foundation and honorary professor of
University of Jena, guided the four guests through the remainder of
the site of the camp. During the visit Elie Wiesel, who together
with Bertrand Herz were sent to the Little camp as 16-year-old boys,
said, "if these trees could talk." His statement marked the irony
about the beauty of the landscape and the horrors that took place
within the camp. President Obama mentioned during his visit that
he had heard stories as a child from his great uncle, who was part of
the 89th Infantry Division, the first Americans to reach the camp at
Ohrdruf, one of Buchenwald's satellites. Obama was the first
sitting US President to visit the Buchenwald concentration camp.
Main camp area
Inside the crematorium
The "Corpse Cellar"
Buchenwald camp memorial
Buchenwald camp memorial
List of Nazi-German concentration camps
List of subcamps of Buchenwald
Nazi-German concentration camps
Number of deaths in Buchenwald
Ohrdruf forced labor camp
The Boys of Buchenwald
Topf & Söhne - Builders of the Crematoria
World War II portal
^ The History of Buchenwald Memorial Archived 2008-03-19 at the
^ a b c "Buchenwald and
Mittelbau-Dora Memorials Foundation –
Purpose of the Foundation". Buchenwald and
Foundation. Retrieved 18 August 2012.
^ Buchenwald and
Mittelbau-Dora Memorials Foundation. Historical
overview. Retrieved 6 August 2017.
^ Farmer, Sarah (Winter 1995). "Symbols that Face Two Ways:
Commemorating the Victims of Nazism and
Stalinism at Buchenwald and
Sachsenhausen". Representations. 49: 100–101. ISSN 0734-6018.
^ Prisoner 4935 (4 November 2006). "Über die Goethe-Eiche im Lager
Neue Zürcher Zeitung
Neue Zürcher Zeitung (in German). Wojciech Simson
(trans.). Retrieved 8 March 2014.
^ Goethe Oak. Buchenwald and
Mittelbau-Dora Memorials Foundation.
Retrieved 6 August 2017.
^ Camp gate. Buchenwald and
Mittelbau-Dora Memorials Foundation.
Retrieved 6 August 2017.
^ MacGregor, Neil (2016). At the Buchenwald Gate. Germany: Memories of
a Nation. London: Penguin Random House. pp. 467–468.
^ Wachsmann 2015, p. 627 (Appendix: Table 2 – Prisoner deaths in SS
^ "Konzentrationslager Buchenwald: die Toten 1937–1945" [The Dead of
Buchenwald, 1937–45 (table)]. Stiftung Gedenkstätten Buchenwald und
Mittelbau-Dora (in German).
^ Hackett 1997, p. 95.
^ "A chronology of Buchenwald concentration camp".
^ Wachsmann 2015, p. 198.
^ Hackett 1997, p. 341.
^ Hackett 1997, p. 43 n.19
^ Hackett 1997, p. 59 n.29
^ Stein, Harry (2005). Gedenkstatte Buchenwald, ed. Buchenwald
concentration camp 1937–1945 (A Guide to the Permanent Historical
Exhibition). Wallstein. ISBN 978-3892446958.
^ a b "Female Guards in Nazi Concentration Camps". Fold3 by
^ 'Frau Anna Fest', German Women Recall the Third Reich, Alison
Owings, Rutgers University Press, page 313 (Google Books)
^ Veterans Affairs Canada, 2006: "Prisoners of War in the Second World
War" Accessed 16 May 2007.
^ National Museum of the USAF: "Allied Victims of the Holocaust"
Accessed 9 July 2017.
^ a b "Eyewitness accounts of Art Kinnis, president of KLB
(Konzentrationslager Buchenwald), and 2nd Lt. Joseph Moser, one of the
surviving pilots". www.buchenwaldflyboy.wordpress.com.
^ From The Lucky Ones: Allied Airmen and Buchenwald (1994 film,
directed by Michael Allder), cited by Veterans Affairs Canada, 2006:
"Prisoners of War in the Second World War" Accessed 16 May 2007.
^ National Museum of the USAF, Ibid.
^ Redlich, Carl Aage: 19. September, 1945. p. 55.
^ The resistance in Austria, 1938–1945 By Radomír Luža Publisher:
University of Minnesota Press (April 9, 1984) ISBN 0-8166-1226-9
^ Stein 2005, p. 302.
^ Spitz, Vivien (2005). Doctors from Hell: The Horrific Account of
Nazi Experiments on Humans. Sentient Publications. p. 199.
^ Spitz 2005, pp. 209–10
^ Spitz 2005, pp. 213–4
^ Spitz 2005, p. 209
^ Bartel 1961, p. . 64, lines 12–23.
^ Bartel 1961, p. 203, lines 18–38.
^ Includes male deaths in satellite camps.
^ Bartel (1961, p. 87, line 17–18) reports that somewhere between
12,000 and 15,000 prisoners died on evacuation transports in March and
^ Bartel 1960, p. 87, line 8.
^ a b "Holocaust Encyclopedia – The US 83rd Infantry Division".
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM).
^ Stein 2005, p. 227 "Evacuation".
^ Langbein, Hermann; Zohn, Harry (translator) (1994). Against All
Hope: Resistance in the Nazi Concentration Camps, 1938–1945. New
York: Paragon House. p. 502. ISBN 1-55778-363-2.
^ Several eyewitness reports of Dutch and German inmates of Buchenwald
at the Dutch Institute for War Documentation NIOD in Amsterdam.
^ a b Wayne Drash (August 14, 2008). "Buchenwald liberator, American
hero dies at 83". CNN.
Edward R. Murrow
Edward R. Murrow Reports From Buchenwald". www.otr.com.
^ "German Civilians Are Forced to Tour Buchenwald (1945)". Apha
History. Retrieved 21 October 2017.
^ "The Horrors of Buchenwald". The Guardian. Retrieved 21 October
^ "WWII: Behind Closed Doors", Episode 6 of 6. BBC. Broadcast on BBC
2, on Monday 15 December 2008.
^ Butler, Desmond (2001-12-17). "Ex-Death Camp Tells Story Of Nazi and
Soviet Horrors". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-04-27.
^ a b Kai Cornelius, Vom spurlosen Verschwindenlassen zur
Benachrichtigungspflicht bei Festnahmen, BWV Verlag, 2004, p. 131,
^ Kinzer, Stephen (1992-09-24). "Germans Find Mass Graves at an
Ex-Soviet Camp". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-04-27.
^ a b Petra Weber, Justiz und Diktatur: Justizverwaltung und
politische Strafjustiz in Thüringen 1945–1961: Veröffentlichungen
zur SBZ-/DDR -Forschung im Institut für Zeitgeschichte, Oldenbourg
Wissenschaftsverlag, 2000, p. 99, ISBN 3-486-56463-3.
^ Cornelius, p. 128.
^ a b Weber, p. 100. Of the Buchenwald inmates, none had faced a
Soviet military tribunal; those were concentrated in Sachsenhausen and
^ Cornelius, pp. 126, 133–134
^ Young, James E.: At Memory's Edge: After-Images of the Holocaust in
Contemporary Art and Architecture, New Haven: Yale University Press,
2000, p. 105.
^ a b "Obama Visits Buchenwald Concentration Camp".
^ Klee, Ernst (2007) Das Personenlexikon zum Dritten Reich – Wer war
was vor und nach 1945., 2. Auflage. Frankfurt am Main:
^ Ziolkowski, Theodore (2001). "Das Treffen in Buchenwald oder Der
vergegenwärtigte Goethe". Modern Language Studies. 31 (1): 131–50.
doi:10.2307/3195281. JSTOR 3195281.
^ Jenkins, David Fraser (2000). John Piper: The Forties. New Age
International. p. 84. ISBN 9780856675348.
^ Wiesel, Elie (2007). La Nuit (2nd ed.). Paris: Éditions de Minuit.
^ Hunt, Ruth with Linke, Maria East Wind 1977 ISBN 0856480800
^ a b "Buchenwald – The WhiteHouseBlog". The White House. Retrieved
18 August 2012.
^ a b Remarks By President Obama, German Chancellor Merkel, And Elie
Wiesel At Buchenwald Concentration Camp (Speech). Buchenwald memorial
event. Weimar, Germany: The White House – Office of the Press
Secretary. 5 June 2009. Archived from the original on 25 June 2016.
Retrieved 1 May 2016.
Apitz, Bruno: Nackt unter Wölfen ("Naked among the wolves"), a
fictional account of the last days of Buchenwald before the US
liberation; based on a true story. Available as a book in German or as
a film in German with English subtitles. Book ino: Aufbau
Taschenbuchverlag, 1998, ISBN 3-7466-1420-1. Translations into
English and other languages exist, but are out of print.
Bartel, Walter, ed. (1961). Buchenwald-Mahnung und Verpflichtung:
Dokumente und Berichte [Buchenwald-Warnings and obligation: Documents
and reports] (in German). Kongress-Verlag. ASIN B0000BGX5M.
Deutscher Verlag der Wissenschaften, 1983 edition.
von Flocken, Jan and Klonovsky, Michael: Stalins Lager in Deutschland
1945–1950. Dokumentation, Zeugenberichte, Berlin: Ullstein, 1991.
Frankl, Viktor E. (2009). ... trotzdem Ja zum Leben sagen (PDF) (in
German). Kösel. ISBN 978-3-466-36859-4. Retrieved 1 May
German, Elischewa (2014). Wir wollen trotzdem Ja zum Leben sagen (in
German). Norderstedt: BoD – Books on Demand.
ISBN 978-3735741035. Retrieved 1 May 2016.
Achille Guyaux, bagnard N° 60472: "Blutberg, la montagne du sang",
Bruxelles, Editions Raynard-Ransart, 1948.
Hackett, David A. (1997). The Buchenwald Reports. Westview Press.
ISBN 978-0813333632. Retrieved 1 June 2016.
d'Harcourt, Pierre: The Real Enemy Longmans 2007.
James, Brian: "The Dream that Wouldn't Die", an account of John H.
Noble’s experiences in Buchenwald under Soviet Rule and the Soviet
camp system in the 1950s, in You Magazine delivered with (The Mail on
Sunday/Daily Mail), August 1992. The article includes a reference to
3,000 Westerners as Soviet prisoners in 1954.
Knigge, Volkhard und Ritscher, Bodo: Totenbuch. Speziallager
Buchenwald 1945–1950, Weimar: Stiftung Gedenkstätten Buchenwald und
Mittelbau Dora, 2003.
Koch, Matthew: History of a Victim – Etta Sapon Bulceci ed. Rome
Kottoor, Gopi: A Buchenwald Diary (Poems following a visit to
Buchenwald Concentration camp, Weimar, Germany), Poetry Chain, 2004.
Kogon, Eugen: The Theory and Practice of Hell: the German
Concentration Camps and the System Behind Them. New York: Farrar
Strauss, 1950. Republished 2006.
Noble, John H.: I was a Slave in Russia: An American Tells his Story.
Nuremberg Military Tribunal, Volume I, pp. 508–511.
Nuremberg Military Tribunal, Volume II, pp. 69–70.
Ritscher, Bodo: Das sowjetische Speziallager Nr. 2 1945–1950.
Katalog zur ständigen historischen Ausstellung, Göttingen:
Sturm, Gunther: Mark Von Santill; Life & Crime of the Beast Gozon
ed. Frascati 2007.
Wachsmann, Nikolaus (2015). Kl: a history of the Nazi concentration
camps (Kindle ed. by Farrar, Straus and Giroux ed.). New York City:
Macmillan. ISBN 978-142994372-7.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Buchenwald concentration camp.
Official Memorial Site, Buchenwald and
Film footage from 1945 inside Buchenwald Concentration Camp, British
Hardy Graupner: Survivors, academics recall dark episode in Germany's
postwar history, Deutsche Welle, 16 February 2010.
Guide to the Concentration Camps Collection, Leo Baeck Institute, New
York City 2013. Includes extensive reports on Buchenwald collected by
the Allied forces shortly after liberating the camp in April 1945.
Catalog of Pins and Medals Commemorating the Buchenwald Concentration
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