Buchenwald concentration camp
Overview
Buchenwald concentration camp (German: Konzentrationslager (KZ) Buchenwald, ˈbuːxənvalt) was a German Nazi concentration camp established on the Ettersberg (Etter Mountain) near Weimar
Weimar
Weimar is a city in Germany famous for its cultural heritage. It is located in the federal state of Thuringia , north of the Thüringer Wald, east of Erfurt, and southwest of Halle and Leipzig. Its current population is approximately 65,000. The oldest record of the city dates from the year 899...

, Germany, in July 1937, one of the first and the largest of the concentration camps on German soil.

Camp prisoners from all over Europe and Russia—Jews, non-Jewish Poles
Poles
thumb|right|180px|The state flag of [[Poland]] as used by Polish government and diplomatic authoritiesThe Polish people, or Poles , are a nation indigenous to Poland. They are united by the Polish language, which belongs to the historical Lechitic subgroup of West Slavic languages of Central Europe...

 and Slovenes, religious and political prisoners, Roma and Sinti
Sinti
Sinti or Sinta or Sinte is the name of a Romani or Gypsy population in Europe. Traditionally nomadic, today only a small percentage of the group remains unsettled...

, Jehovah's Witnesses
Jehovah's Witnesses
Jehovah's Witnesses is a millenarian restorationist Christian denomination with nontrinitarian beliefs distinct from mainstream Christianity. The religion reports worldwide membership of over 7 million adherents involved in evangelism, convention attendance of over 12 million, and annual...

, criminals, homosexuals, and prisoners of war— worked primarily as forced labor in local armament factories.
Discussions
Encyclopedia
Buchenwald concentration camp (German: Konzentrationslager (KZ) Buchenwald, ˈbuːxənvalt) was a German Nazi concentration camp established on the Ettersberg (Etter Mountain) near Weimar
Weimar
Weimar is a city in Germany famous for its cultural heritage. It is located in the federal state of Thuringia , north of the Thüringer Wald, east of Erfurt, and southwest of Halle and Leipzig. Its current population is approximately 65,000. The oldest record of the city dates from the year 899...

, Germany, in July 1937, one of the first and the largest of the concentration camps on German soil.

Camp prisoners from all over Europe and Russia—Jews, non-Jewish Poles
Poles
thumb|right|180px|The state flag of [[Poland]] as used by Polish government and diplomatic authoritiesThe Polish people, or Poles , are a nation indigenous to Poland. They are united by the Polish language, which belongs to the historical Lechitic subgroup of West Slavic languages of Central Europe...

 and Slovenes, religious and political prisoners, Roma and Sinti
Sinti
Sinti or Sinta or Sinte is the name of a Romani or Gypsy population in Europe. Traditionally nomadic, today only a small percentage of the group remains unsettled...

, Jehovah's Witnesses
Jehovah's Witnesses
Jehovah's Witnesses is a millenarian restorationist Christian denomination with nontrinitarian beliefs distinct from mainstream Christianity. The religion reports worldwide membership of over 7 million adherents involved in evangelism, convention attendance of over 12 million, and annual...

, criminals, homosexuals, and prisoners of war— worked primarily as forced labor in local armament factories. From 1945 to 1950, the camp was used by the Soviet occupation authorities as an internment camp, known as NKVD special camp
NKVD special camps
NKVD special camps were NKVD-run late and post-World War II internment camps in the Soviet-occupied parts of Germany and areas east of the Oder-Neisse line. The short-lived camps east of the line were subsequently transferred to the Soviet occupation zone, where they were set up by the Soviet...

 number 2.

History

In 1937, the Nazis constructed Buchenwald concentration camp, near Weimar
Weimar
Weimar is a city in Germany famous for its cultural heritage. It is located in the federal state of Thuringia , north of the Thüringer Wald, east of Erfurt, and southwest of Halle and Leipzig. Its current population is approximately 65,000. The oldest record of the city dates from the year 899...

, Germany. Embedded in the camp's main entrance gate is the slogan Jedem das Seine
Jedem das Seine
"'" is a German translation of "'", the Latin phrase meaning "to each his own" or "to each what he deserves."- Antiquity :The Latin phrase goes back to an old Greek principle of justice which translates literally into English as "to each his own"...

 (literally "to each his own", but figuratively "everyone gets what he deserves”). The camp was operational until its liberation in 1945. Between 1945 and 1950 the former camp was used by the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 as an NKVD special camp for Nazis. On 6 January 1950, the Soviets
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 handed over Buchenwald to the East German Ministry of Internal Affairs
Federal Ministry of the Interior (Germany)
The Federal Ministry of the Interior is a ministry of the German federal government. Its main office is in Berlin, with a secondary seat in Bonn. The current minister of the interior is Dr...

.

Originally the camp was named after the hill Ettersberg but it was later renamed to Buchenwald (German for beech forest) because of the close ties of the location to Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe was a German writer, pictorial artist, biologist, theoretical physicist, and polymath. He is considered the supreme genius of modern German literature. His works span the fields of poetry, drama, prose, philosophy, and science. His Faust has been called the greatest long...

, who was being idealized as “the embodiment of the German Spirit” (Verkörperung des deutschen Geistes). The Goethe Eiche (Goethe's Oak) stood inside the camp's perimeter, and the stump of the tree is preserved as part of the memorial at KZ Buchenwald.

Between April 1938 and April 1945, some 238,380 people of various nationalities including 350 Western Allied
Western Allies
The Western Allies were a political and geographic grouping among the Allied Powers of the Second World War. It generally includes the United Kingdom and British Commonwealth, the United States, France and various other European and Latin American countries, but excludes China, the Soviet Union,...

 POWs were incarcerated in Buchenwald. One estimate places the number of deaths in Buchenwald at 56,000.

During an American bombing raid on August 24, 1944 that was directed at a nearby armament factory, several bombs, including incendiaries, also fell on the camp, resulting in heavy casualties amongst the prisoners and damage to the Goethe Eiche.

Camp commandants

  • SS-Sturmbannführer
    Sturmbannführer
    Sturmbannführer was a paramilitary rank of the Nazi Party equivalent to major, used both in the Sturmabteilung and the Schutzstaffel...

    : Jacob Weiseborn (1937-1939)
  • SS-Obersturmbannführer
    Obersturmbannführer
    Obersturmbannführer was a paramilitary Nazi Party rank used by both the SA and the SS. It was created in May 1933 to fill the need for an additional field grade officer rank above Sturmbannführer as the SA expanded. It became an SS rank at the same time...

    : Karl Otto Koch
    Karl Otto Koch
    Karl-Otto Koch , a Standartenführer in the German Schutzstaffel , was the first commandant of the Nazi concentration camps at Buchenwald and Sachsenhausen, and later also served as a commander at the Majdanek concentration camp.-Early life:Koch was born in Darmstadt, Grand Duchy of Hesse on...

     (1937–1942)
  • SS-Standartenführer
    Standartenführer
    Standartenführer was a Nazi Party paramilitary rank that was used in the so-called Nazi combat-organisations: SA, SS, NSKK and the NSFK...

    : Hermann Pister
    Hermann Pister
    Hermann Pister was an SS Oberführer and commandant of Buchenwald concentration camp from 21 January 1942 until April 1945....

     (1942–1945)


Buchenwald’s second commandant was Karl Otto Koch
Karl Otto Koch
Karl-Otto Koch , a Standartenführer in the German Schutzstaffel , was the first commandant of the Nazi concentration camps at Buchenwald and Sachsenhausen, and later also served as a commander at the Majdanek concentration camp.-Early life:Koch was born in Darmstadt, Grand Duchy of Hesse on...

, who ran the camp from 1937 to 1941. His second wife, Ilse Koch
Ilse Koch
Ilse Koch, née Köhler , was the wife of Karl-Otto Koch, commandant of the Nazi concentration camps Buchenwald from 1937 to 1941, and Majdanek from 1941 to 1943...

, became notorious as Die Hexe von Buchenwald ("the witch of Buchenwald") for her cruelty and brutality. Koch had a zoo
Zoo
A zoological garden, zoological park, menagerie, or zoo is a facility in which animals are confined within enclosures, displayed to the public, and in which they may also be bred....

 built by the prisoners in the camp for the amusement of his children, with a bear pit
Bear pit
A bear pit was historically used to display bears, typically for entertainment and especially bear-baiting. The pit area was normally surrounded by a high fence, above which the spectators would look down on the bears....

 (Bärenzwinger) facing the Appellplatz
Appellplatz
Appellplatz is a compound German word meaning "roll call" and "area" or "place" . In English, the word is generally used to describe the location for the daily roll calls in Nazi concentration camps during the Holocaust.- Concentration camp usage :Roll calls were a daily part of the regimen in...

, the dreaded assembly square where prisoners were forced to stand motionless and silent for many hours (twice each day) while the meticulous "roll-calls" were conducted.

Koch was eventually himself imprisoned at Buchenwald by the Nazi authorities for corruption
Political corruption
Political corruption is the use of legislated powers by government officials for illegitimate private gain. Misuse of government power for other purposes, such as repression of political opponents and general police brutality, is not considered political corruption. Neither are illegal acts by...

, embezzlement
Embezzlement
Embezzlement is the act of dishonestly appropriating or secreting assets by one or more individuals to whom such assets have been entrusted....

, black market
Underground economy
A black market or underground economy is a market in goods or services which operates outside the formal one supported by established state power. Typically the totality of such activity is referred to with the definite article as a complement to the official economies, by market for such goods and...

 dealings, and his exploitation of camp workers for personal gain. He was tried and executed by the Nazis at Buchenwald in April 1945, while Ilse was sentenced to four years after the war. Her sentence was reduced to two years and she was set free. Later, she was arrested again and sentenced to life imprisonment by the post-war German authorities; she committed suicide in a Bavaria
Bavaria
Bavaria, formally the Free State of Bavaria is a state of Germany, located in the southeast of Germany. With an area of , it is the largest state by area, forming almost 20% of the total land area of Germany...

n prison cell in September 1967.

The third and last commandant of the camp was Hermann Pister
Hermann Pister
Hermann Pister was an SS Oberführer and commandant of Buchenwald concentration camp from 21 January 1942 until April 1945....

 (1942–1945). He was tried in 1947 (Dachau Trials) and sentenced to death, but died in September 1948 of a heart condition before sentence could be carried out.

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)
Female guards in Nazi concentration camps
Of the 55,000 guards who served in Nazi concentration camps, about 3,700 were women. In 1942, the first female guards arrived at Auschwitz and Majdanek from Ravensbrück...

; these women were brought to Buchenwald from Ravensbrück
Ravensbrück concentration camp
Ravensbrück was a notorious women's concentration camp during World War II, located in northern Germany, 90 km north of Berlin at a site near the village of Ravensbrück ....

 in 1941 and forced into prostitition at the camps' brothel . Later the SS fired the SS woman on duty in the brothel
Brothel
Brothels are business establishments where patrons can engage in sexual activities with prostitutes. Brothels are known under a variety of names, including bordello, cathouse, knocking shop, whorehouse, strumpet house, sporting house, house of ill repute, house of prostitution, and bawdy house...

 for corruption, and her position was taken over by “brothel mothers” as ordered by SS chief Heinrich Himmler
Heinrich Himmler
Heinrich Luitpold Himmler was Reichsführer of the SS, a military commander, and a leading member of the Nazi Party. As Chief of the German Police and the Minister of the Interior from 1943, Himmler oversaw all internal and external police and security forces, including the Gestapo...

.

The majority of women prisoners, however, arrived in 1944 and 1945 from other camps, mainly Auschwitz
Auschwitz concentration camp
Concentration camp Auschwitz was a network of Nazi concentration and extermination camps built and operated by the Third Reich in Polish areas annexed by Nazi Germany during World War II...

, Ravensbrück
Ravensbrück concentration camp
Ravensbrück was a notorious women's concentration camp during World War II, located in northern Germany, 90 km north of Berlin at a site near the village of Ravensbrück ....

, and Bergen Belsen
Bergen-Belsen concentration camp
Bergen-Belsen was a Nazi concentration camp in Lower Saxony in northwestern Germany, southwest of the town of Bergen near Celle...

. Only one barrack was set aside for them; this was overseen by the female block leader (Blockführerin) Franziska Hoengesberg, who came from Essen when it was evacuated. All the women prisoners were later shipped out to one of Buchenwald's many female satellite camps in Sömmerda
Sömmerda
Sömmerda is a town near Erfurt in Thuringia, Germany, on the Unstrut river. It is the capital of the district of Sömmerda.-History:Archeological digs in the area that is now Sömmerda, formerly Leubingen, have uncovered prominently buried human remains dating to around 2000 BCE...

, Buttelstedt
Buttelstedt
Buttelstedt is a town in the Weimarer Land district, in Thuringia, Germany. It is situated 11 km north of Weimar.-Notable people from Buttelstedt:*Johann Friedrich Fasch*August Wilhelm Hupel*Johann Ludwig Krebs...

, Mühlhausen
Mühlhausen
Mühlhausen is a city in the federal state of Thuringia, Germany. It is the capital of the Unstrut-Hainich district, and lies along the river Unstrut. Mühlhausen had c. 37,000 inhabitants in 2006.-History:...

, Gotha
Gotha (town)
Gotha is a town in Thuringia, within the central core of Germany. It is the capital of the district of Gotha.- History :The town has existed at least since the 8th century, when it was mentioned in a document signed by Charlemagne as Villa Gotaha . Its importance derives from having been chosen in...

, Gelsenkirchen
Gelsenkirchen
Gelsenkirchen is a city in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. It is located in the northern part of the Ruhr area. Its population in 2006 was c. 267,000....

, Essen
Essen
- Origin of the name :In German-speaking countries, the name of the city Essen often causes confusion as to its origins, because it is commonly known as the German infinitive of the verb for the act of eating, and/or the German noun for food. Although scholars still dispute the interpretation of...

, Lippstadt
Lippstadt
Lippstadt is a town in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. It is the largest town within the district of Soest.-Geography:Lippstadt is situated in the Lippe valley, roughly 70 kilometres east of Dortmund and roughly 30 kilometres west of Paderborn...

, Weimar
Weimar
Weimar is a city in Germany famous for its cultural heritage. It is located in the federal state of Thuringia , north of the Thüringer Wald, east of Erfurt, and southwest of Halle and Leipzig. Its current population is approximately 65,000. The oldest record of the city dates from the year 899...

, Magdeburg
Magdeburg
Magdeburg , is the largest city and the capital city of the Bundesland of Saxony-Anhalt, Germany. Magdeburg is situated on the Elbe River and was one of the most important medieval cities of Europe....

, and Penig
Penig
Penig is a town in the district of Mittelsachsen, in the Free State of Saxony, Germany. It is situated on the river Zwickauer Mulde, 19 km northwest of Chemnitz. Penig housed a concentration camp during World War II....

, 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 annexe members who lived with Anne Frank
Anne Frank
Annelies Marie "Anne" Frank is one of the most renowned and most discussed Jewish victims of the Holocaust. Acknowledged for the quality of her writing, her diary has become one of the world's most widely read books, and has been the basis for several plays and films.Born in the city of Frankfurt...

, "Mrs. van Daan", real name Auguste van Pels) were taken by train and on foot to the Theresienstadt concentration camp and ghetto
Theresienstadt concentration camp
Theresienstadt concentration camp was a Nazi German ghetto during World War II. It was established by the Gestapo in the fortress and garrison city of Terezín , located in what is now the Czech Republic.-History:The fortress of Terezín was constructed between the years 1780 and 1790 by the orders...

 in Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia
Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia
The Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia was the majority ethnic-Czech protectorate which Nazi Germany established in the central parts of Bohemia, Moravia and Czech Silesia in what is today the Czech Republic...

. Many, including van Pels, died sometime between April 1945 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 subcamps. Twenty-two known female guards have personnel files at the camp, but it is unlikely that any of them stayed at Buchenwald for longer than a few days.

Ilse Koch
Ilse Koch
Ilse Koch, née Köhler , was the wife of Karl-Otto Koch, commandant of the Nazi concentration camps Buchenwald from 1937 to 1941, and Majdanek from 1941 to 1943...

 served as head supervisor (Oberaufseherin) of 22 other female guards and hundreds of women prisoners in the main camp. Eventually, 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.

Allied airmen

Although it was highly unusual for German authorities to send Western Allied
Western Allies
The Western Allies were a political and geographic grouping among the Allied Powers of the Second World War. It generally includes the United Kingdom and British Commonwealth, the United States, France and various other European and Latin American countries, but excludes China, the Soviet Union,...

 prisoners of war
Prisoner of war
A prisoner of war or enemy prisoner of war is a person, whether civilian or combatant, who is held in custody by an enemy power during or immediately after an armed conflict...

 (POWs) to concentration camps, Buchenwald held a group of 168 aviators
KLB Club
The KLB Club was formed on 12 October 1944, and included the 168 allied airmen who were held prisoner at Buchenwald concentration camp between 20 August and 19 October 1944...

 for two months. These POWs were from the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. They all arrived at Buchenwald on August 20, 1944.

All these airmen were in planes which 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
French Resistance
The French Resistance is the name used to denote the collection of French resistance movements that fought against the Nazi German occupation of France and against the collaborationist Vichy régime during World War II...

, some were disguised as civilians, and they were carrying false papers when caught; they were therefore categorized by the Germans as spies
Espionage
Espionage or spying involves an individual obtaining information that is considered secret or confidential without the permission of the holder of the information. Espionage is inherently clandestine, lest the legitimate holder of the information change plans or take other countermeasures once it...

, which meant their rights under the Geneva Convention
Geneva Conventions
The Geneva Conventions comprise four treaties, and three additional protocols, that establish the standards of international law for the humanitarian treatment of the victims of war...

 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 wagon
Covered goods wagon
A covered goods wagon or van is a railway goods wagon which is designed for the transportation of moisture-susceptible goods and therefore fully enclosed by sides and a fixed roof. They are often referred to simply as covered wagons, and this is the term used by the International Union of Railways...

s (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:
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
Stalag Luft III
Stalag Luft III was a Luftwaffe-run prisoner-of-war camp during World War II that housed captured air force servicemen. It was in the German Province of Lower Silesia near the town of Sagan , southeast of Berlin...

, a regular prisoner-of-war camp
Prisoner-of-war camp
A prisoner-of-war camp is a site for the containment of combatants captured by their enemy in time of war, and is similar to an internment camp which is used for civilian populations. A prisoner of war is generally a soldier, sailor, or airman who is imprisoned by an enemy power during or...

 (POW) camp; 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
Cannon fodder
Cannon fodder is an informal, derogatory term for military personnel who are regarded or treated as expendable in the face of enemy fire. The term is generally used in situations where soldiers are forced to deliberately fight against hopeless odds in an effort to achieve a strategic goal...

. 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

Although Buchenwald was technically not an extermination camp, it was a site of an extraordinary number of deaths.

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 had only the choice between slave labour or inevitable execution. Many inmates died as a result of human experimentation
Nazi human experimentation
Nazi human experimentation was a series of medical experiments on large numbers of prisoners by the Nazi German regime in its concentration camps mainly in the early 1940s, during World War II and the Holocaust. Prisoners were coerced into participating: they did not willingly volunteer and there...

 or fell victim to arbitrary acts perpetrated by the SS guards. Other prisoners were simply murdered, primarily by shooting and hanging.

Walter Gerhard Martin Sommer
Martin Sommer
Walter Gerhard Martin Sommer was an SS Hauptscharführer who served as a guard at the concentration camps of Dachau and Buchenwald...

 was an SS Hauptscharführer (master sergeant) 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, crucified upside-down
Cross of St. Peter
The Cross of St. Peter or Petrine Cross is an inverted Latin cross traditionally used as a Christian symbol, but in recent times also used widely as an anti-Christ symbol .-In Christianity:The origin of this symbol comes from the Catholic tradition that Simon Peter was crucified upside...

. Sommer was especially infamous for hanging prisoners from trees with their wrists behind their backs in the "singing forest", so named because of the screams which emanated from this wooded area.

Summary execution
Summary execution
A summary execution is a variety of execution in which a person is killed on the spot without trial or after a show trial. Summary executions have been practiced by the police, military, and paramilitary organizations and are associated with guerrilla warfare, counter-insurgency, terrorism, and...

s of Soviet POWs were also carried out at Buchenwald. At least 1,000 Soviet POWs were selected in 1941–2 by a task force of three Dresden
Dresden
Dresden is the capital city of the Free State of Saxony in Germany. It is situated in a valley on the River Elbe, near the Czech border. The Dresden conurbation is part of the Saxon Triangle metropolitan area....

 Gestapo
Gestapo
The Gestapo was the official secret police of Nazi Germany. Beginning on 20 April 1934, it was under the administration of the SS leader Heinrich Himmler in his position as Chief of German Police...

 officers and sent to the camp for immediate liquidation by a gunshot to the back of the neck, the infamous Genickschuss.

The camp was also a site of large-scale trials for vaccine
Vaccine
A vaccine is a biological preparation that improves immunity to a particular disease. A vaccine typically contains an agent that resembles a disease-causing microorganism, and is often made from weakened or killed forms of the microbe or its toxins...

s against epidemic typhus
Typhus
Epidemic typhus is a form of typhus so named because the disease often causes epidemics following wars and natural disasters...

 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
Alkaloid
Alkaloids are a group of naturally occurring chemical compounds that contain mostly basic nitrogen atoms. This group also includes some related compounds with neutral and even weakly acidic properties. Also some synthetic compounds of similar structure are attributed to alkaloids...

 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" phosphorus
Phosphorus
Phosphorus is the chemical element that has the symbol P and atomic number 15. A multivalent nonmetal of the nitrogen group, phosphorus as a mineral is almost always present in its maximally oxidized state, as inorganic phosphate rocks...

 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, though a doctor, he was "legally appointed executioner".

Number of deaths

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 in Buchenwald. These documents were not, however, necessarily accurate: Among those executed before 1944 many were listed as "transferred to the Gestapo". Furthermore, from 1941 forward 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 in SS documents.

One former Buchenwald prisoner, Armin Walter, calculated the number of executions by shooting 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 and 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
Number of deaths in Buchenwald
The Buchenwald concentration camp was established in 1937, 10 kilometers from Weimar. The prisoners of the camp were Jews, political prisoners, religious prisoners and prisoners of war. They came from Russia, Poland, France, Germany, Austria and other countries....

 is estimated at 56,545. This number is the sum of:
  • Deaths according to material left behind by SS: 33,462
  • Executions by shooting: 8,483
  • Executions by hanging (estimate): 1,100
  • Deaths during evacuation transports: 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, 238,380 prisoners, is accurate.

Liberation from Nazi Germany

On April 4, 1945, the U.S. 89th Infantry Division overran Ohrdruf, a subcamp of the Buchenwald. It was the first Nazi camp liberated by U.S. troops.

Buchenwald was partially evacuated by the Germans on April 8, 1945. In the days before the arrival of the American army, thousands of the prisoners were forced to join the evacuation marches.

Thanks to the efforts of Polish engineer Gwidon Damazyn, an inmate since March 1941, a secret radio transmitter and small generator were built. On April 9 at 1pm Damazyn sent the radio message prepared by leaders of prisoners' underground (Walter Bartel and Harry Kuhn):
The text was repeated four times, each time in English, German and Russian. After 15 minutes the headquarters of the US Third Army answered and promised help as quickly as they could send it.

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 Resistance
Buchenwald Resistance
The Buchenwald Resistance was a resistance group of prisoners at Buchenwald concentration camp. It involved Communists, Social Democrats, and people affiliated with other political parties, unaffiliated people, and Christians. Because Buchenwald prisoners came from a number of countries, the...

)

A detachment of troops belonging to the US 9th Armored Infantry Battalion, U.S. 6th Armored Division, US Third Army arrived at Buchenwald on April 11, 1945 under the leadership of Captain Frederic Keffer. 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 U.S. 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 sped medical supplies forward from the 20th Field Hospital.

Third Army Headquarters sent elements of the U.S. 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
Edward R. Murrow
Edward Roscoe Murrow, KBE was an American broadcast journalist. He first came to prominence with a series of radio news broadcasts during World War II, which were followed by millions of listeners in the United States and Canada.Fellow journalists Eric Sevareid, Ed Bliss, and Alexander Kendrick...

, whose radio report of his arrival and reception was broadcast on CBS
CBS
CBS Broadcasting Inc. is a major US commercial broadcasting television network, which started as a radio network. The name is derived from the initials of the network's former name, Columbia Broadcasting System. The network is sometimes referred to as the "Eye Network" in reference to the shape of...

 and became one of his most famous:

Soviet Special Camp 2

After liberation, between 1945 and 10 February 1950, the camp was administered by the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 and served as a Special Camp No. 2 of the NKVD
NKVD
The People's Commissariat for Internal Affairs was the public and secret police organization of the Soviet Union that directly executed the rule of power of the Soviets, including political repression, during the era of Joseph Stalin....

. It was part of a "special camps" network
NKVD special camps
NKVD special camps were NKVD-run late and post-World War II internment camps in the Soviet-occupied parts of Germany and areas east of the Oder-Neisse line. The short-lived camps east of the line were subsequently transferred to the Soviet occupation zone, where they were set up by the Soviet...

 operating since 1945, formally integrated into the Gulag
Gulag
The Gulag was the government agency that administered the main Soviet forced labor camp systems. While the camps housed a wide range of convicts, from petty criminals to political prisoners, large numbers were convicted by simplified procedures, such as NKVD troikas and other instruments of...

 in 1948. Another infamous "special camp" in Soviet occupied Germany was the former Nazi concentration camp Sachsenhausen (special camp No. 7)
NKVD special camp Nr. 7
NKVD special camp Nr. 7 was a NKVD special camp that operated in Weesow until August 1945 and in Sachsenhausen from August 1945 until the spring of 1950. It was used by the Stalinist Soviet occupying forces to detain political prisoners....

.

Between August 1945 and the dissolution on 1 March 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
Stalinism
Stalinism refers to the ideology that Joseph Stalin conceived and implemented in the Soviet Union, and is generally considered a branch of Marxist–Leninist ideology but considered by some historians to be a significant deviation from this philosophy...

, and alleged members of the Nazi party or Nazi organization, others were imprisoned due to identity confusion and arbitrary arrests. The NKVD would not allow any contacts of prisoners to the outside world and did not attempt to determine the guilt of any individual prisoner.

On 6 January 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.

Demolition of the camp

In October 1950, it was decreed that the camp would be demolished. The main gate, the crematorium, the hospital block, and two guard towers escaped demolition. 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 was 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 living monument in the place of the first monument that is kept at skin temperature year round.

Notorious Nazi personnel

Commandants
Karl Otto Koch
Karl Otto Koch
Karl-Otto Koch , a Standartenführer in the German Schutzstaffel , was the first commandant of the Nazi concentration camps at Buchenwald and Sachsenhausen, and later also served as a commander at the Majdanek concentration camp.-Early life:Koch was born in Darmstadt, Grand Duchy of Hesse on...

 from 1937 to 1941
Hermann Pister
Hermann Pister
Hermann Pister was an SS Oberführer and commandant of Buchenwald concentration camp from 21 January 1942 until April 1945....

 from 1942 to 1945

Medical doctors
Gerhard Rose
Gerhard Rose
Gerhard Rose was a German expert on tropical medicine who was tried for war crimes at the end of World War II....

Waldemar Hoven
Waldemar Hoven
Waldemar Hoven was a Nazi and a physician at Buchenwald concentration camp.Hoven was born in Freiburg, Germany. Between the years 1919 and 1933, he visited Denmark, Sweden, the United States, and France, returning in 1933 to Freiburg, where he completed his high school studies. He then attended...

Hans Conrad Julius Reiter

Guards
Martin Sommer
Martin Sommer
Walter Gerhard Martin Sommer was an SS Hauptscharführer who served as a guard at the concentration camps of Dachau and Buchenwald...


Nazi head of personnel
Hermann Hackmann
Hermann Hackmann
SS-Hauptsturmführer Heinrich Hackmann served as the lead guard in charge of protective custody at Majdanek concentration camp in German-occupied Poland. Hackmann came from Osnabruck and held the post of roll call officer at Buchenwald before Majdanek, at the age of 26...


Well-known inmates


  • Karl Mayr
    Karl Mayr
    Captain Karl Mayr was a General Staff officer and Adolf Hitler's immediate superior in an Army Intelligence Division in the Reichswehr, 1919-1920. Mayr was particularly known as the man who introduced Hitler to politics...

    , Adolf Hitler
    Adolf Hitler
    Adolf Hitler was an Austrian-born German politician and the leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party , commonly referred to as the Nazi Party). He was Chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945, and head of state from 1934 to 1945...

    's immediate superior in an Army Intelligence Division in the Reichswehr, 1919–1920; later becoming a political opponent.
  • Roy Allen
    Roy Allen
    Roy Allen was an American, born in the north Philadelphia neighborhood of Olney. He was a bomber pilot during World War II shot down over France and sent to Buchenwald concentration camp.-France and captivity:...

    , American B-17 Flying Fortress pilot
  • Phillip (Phil) J. Lamason
    Phil Lamason
    Phillip John Lamason DFC & Bar was a pilot in the Royal New Zealand Air Force during the Second World War, who rose to prominence as the senior officer in charge of 168 Allied airmen taken to Buchenwald concentration camp, Germany, in August 1944...

    , Squadron Leader, Royal New Zealand Air Force
  • Jean Améry
    Jean Améry
    Jean Améry , born Hanns Chaim Mayer, was an Austrian-born essayist whose work was often informed by his experiences during World War II...

    , writer
  • Jack van der Geest
    Jack van der Geest
    Jack van der Geest was one of only eight people ever to escape from Buchenwald concentration camp. He escaped on March 3, 1943...

    , escapee
  • Robert Antelme
    Robert Antelme
    Robert Antelme was a French writer. During the Second World War he was involved in the French Resistance and deported....

    , French writer
  • Jacob Avigdor
    Jacob Avigdor
    Yaakov Avigdor was a Polish rabbi, author and Holocaust survivor, who served as Chief Rabbi of the Ashkenazi Jewish community in Mexico.-Life:...

    , before World War II Chief Rabbi
    Chief Rabbi
    Chief Rabbi is a title given in several countries to the recognized religious leader of that country's Jewish community, or to a rabbinic leader appointed by the local secular authorities...

     of Drohobych
    Drohobych
    Drohobych is a city located at the confluence of the Tysmenytsia River and Seret, a tributary of the former, in the Lviv Oblast , in western Ukraine...

    , after World War II Chief Rabbi of Mexico
  • Conrad Baars
    Conrad Baars
    Conrad W. Baars, M.D., was a Catholic psychiatrist. His most prominent work is with Dr. Anna Terruwe in the study of the human emotional life. Their general idea is that many emotional disturbances in a human stem from a lack of experiencing unconditional love during his or her life...

    , psychiatrist
  • Bruno Bettelheim
    Bruno Bettelheim
    Bruno Bettelheim was an Austrian-born American child psychologist and writer. He gained an international reputation for his work on Freud, psychoanalysis, and emotionally disturbed children.-Background:...

    , child psychologist
  • Józef Biniszkiewicz
    Józef Biniszkiewicz
    Józef Biniszkiewicz was a Silesian socialist politician. In 1891 he moved to Berlin, Germany, were he joined the Social Democratic Party of Germany . On July 3, 1895, he shifted his party membership to the Polish Socialist Party in Prussia and would became the chairman of the PPS zp branch in...

    , Polish socialist politician
  • Léon Blum
    Léon Blum
    André Léon Blum was a French politician, usually identified with the moderate left, and three times the Prime Minister of France.-First political experiences:...

    , Jewish French politician, pre-war long term French Prime Minister
    Prime minister
    A prime minister is the most senior minister of cabinet in the executive branch of government in a parliamentary system. In many systems, the prime minister selects and may dismiss other members of the cabinet, and allocates posts to members within the government. In most systems, the prime...

    , and again after the war
  • Dietrich Bonhoeffer
    Dietrich Bonhoeffer
    Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a German Lutheran pastor, theologian and martyr. He was a participant in the German resistance movement against Nazism and a founding member of the Confessing Church. He was involved in plans by members of the Abwehr to assassinate Adolf Hitler...

    , Protestant theologian and prominent member of the Confessing Church
    Confessing Church
    The Confessing Church was a Protestant schismatic church in Nazi Germany that arose in opposition to government-sponsored efforts to nazify the German Protestant church.-Demographics:...

  • Rudolf Brazda
    Rudolf Brazda
    Rudolf Brazda was the last known concentration camp survivor deported by Nazi Germany on charges of homosexuality. Brazda spent nearly three years at the Buchenwald concentration camp, where his prisoner uniform was branded with the distinctive pink triangle that the Nazis used to mark men...

    , as of 2011 the last known surviving homosexual deported to the camps
  • Rudolf Breitscheid
    Rudolf Breitscheid
    Rudolf Breitscheid, was a leading member of the Social Democratic Party and a delegate to the Reichstag during the era of the Weimar Republic in Germany....

    , former member of the SPD
    Social Democratic Party of Germany
    The Social Democratic Party of Germany is a social-democratic political party in Germany...

     and leader of its faction in the Reichstag
    Reichstag (Weimar Republic)
    The Reichstag was the parliament of Weimar Republic .German constitution commentators consider only the Reichstag and now the Bundestag the German parliament. Another organ deals with legislation too: in 1867-1918 the Bundesrat, in 1919–1933 the Reichsrat and from 1949 on the Bundesrat...

     of the Weimar Republic
    Weimar Republic
    The Weimar Republic is the name given by historians to the parliamentary republic established in 1919 in Germany to replace the imperial form of government...

     before the Nazi seizure of power in 1933, died in the camp in 1944
  • Christopher Burney
    Christopher Burney
    Christopher Arthur Geoffrey Burney MBE was an upper-class Englishman who served in the Special Operations Executive during World War II.-Biography:...

    , British officer and Special Operations Executive
    Special Operations Executive
    The Special Operations Executive was a World War II organisation of the United Kingdom. It was officially formed by Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Minister of Economic Warfare Hugh Dalton on 22 July 1940, to conduct guerrilla warfare against the Axis powers and to instruct and aid local...

     operative, wrote about the savage infighting and struggle for power and privileges between the inmates at Buchenwald in The Dungeon Democracy
  • Robert Clary
    Robert Clary
    Robert Clary is a French-born American actor, published author, and lecturer, best known for his role in the television sitcom Hogan's Heroes as Corporal LeBeau.-Early life and career:...

    , French actor, Corporal Louis LeBeau on the Hogan's Heroes
    Hogan's Heroes
    Hogan's Heroes is an American television sitcom that ran for 168 episodes from September 17, 1965, to March 28, 1971, on the CBS network. The show was set in a German prisoner of war camp during the Second World War. Bob Crane had the starring role as Colonel Robert E...

    television series
  • René Cogny
    René Cogny
    René Cogny was a French Général de division, World War II and French Resistance veteran and survivor of Buchenwald and Mauthausen-Gusen concentration camps. He was a commander of the French forces in Tonkin during the First Indochina War, and notably during the Battle of Dien Bien Phu...

    , French general
  • Fritz Czuczka, Austrian artist/architect
  • Seweryn Franciszek Czetwertyński-Światopełk, Polish politician
  • Édouard Daladier
    Édouard Daladier
    Édouard Daladier was a French Radical politician and the Prime Minister of France at the start of the Second World War.-Career:Daladier was born in Carpentras, Vaucluse. Later, he would become known to many as "the bull of Vaucluse" because of his thick neck and large shoulders and determined...

    , French politician, former Head of the French government
  • Armand de Dampierre, French aristocrat, died in the camp on January 8, 1944
  • Marcel Dassault
    Marcel Dassault
    Marcel Dassault, born Marcel Bloch was a French aircraft industrialist.-Biography:Dassault was born in Paris. After graduating from the lycée Condorcet, Breguet School and Supaero, he invented a type of aircraft propeller used by the French army during World War I and founded the Société des...

    , French aviation entrepreneur who founded the Dassault Group
  • Laure Diebold
    Laure Diebold
    Laure Diebold, sometimes written Laure Diebolt was a high-profile female member of the French Resistance during World War II. She was also the private secretary of Jean Moulin before being arrested then deported from 1943 to 1945 to the Nazi camp of Auschwitz, Ravensbrück and finally Buchenwald...

    , French resistant, Compagnon de la Libération
    Ordre de la Libération
    The Ordre de la Libération is a French Order awarded to heroes of the Liberation of France during World War II. It is an exceptional honor, the second highest after the Légion d’Honneur and only a small number of people and military units have received it, exclusively for deeds accomplished...

  • Willem Drees
    Willem Drees
    Willem Drees was a Dutch politician of the Labour Party . He served as Prime Minister of the Netherlands from August 7, 1948 until December 22, 1958....

    , Dutch politician, Prime Minister of the Netherlands
    Prime Minister of the Netherlands
    The Prime Minister of the Netherlands is the chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Netherlands. He is the de facto head of government of the Netherlands and coordinates the policy of the government...

     from 1948 until 1958
  • Ernst Federn, Austrian social-psychologist
  • Bolesław Fichna, Polish right-wing politician and lawyer
  • Josef Frank (politician)
    Josef Frank (politician)
    Josef Frank was a Czechoslovakian Communist politician.Between 1939 and 1945 he was imprisoned in Buchenwald concentration camp....

    , Czech communist
  • August Froehlich
    August Froehlich
    August Froehlich was a German Roman Catholic priest. In his pastoral activity he opposed National Socialism. He stood up for rights of German Catholics and of Polish forced labourers, martyred in Dachau concentration camp....

    , German Roman Catholic priest active in resistance movement against the National Socialism
  • Henry P. Glass
    Henry P. Glass
    Henry P. Glass was an American designer, architect, author, and inventor.-Biography:Born on 24 September 1911 in Vienna, Glass was trained as an architect at the Technical University of Vienna from 1929 to 1936. He married Eleanore Christine Knopp in March, 1937...

    , Austrian Architect and Industrial Designer, released in 1939, moved to U.S.
  • Albin Grau
    Albin Grau
    Albin Grau was an artist, architect and occultist, and the producer and production designer for F. W. Murnau's Nosferatu...

    , film producer (Nosferatu, 1922)
  • Maurice Halbwachs
    Maurice Halbwachs
    Maurice Halbwachs was a French philosopher and sociologist known for developing the concept of collective memory.Born in Reims, Halbwachs attended the École Normale Supérieure in Paris. There he studied philosophy with Henri Bergson, who influenced him greatly. He aggregated in Philosophy in 1901...

     French sociologist, died in the camp in 1945
  • Adolf Grunbaum, Austrian physician, released from camp 1939 and emigrated to US. Changed name to Arthur Grant.
  • Curt Herzstark
    Curt Herzstark
    Curt Herzstark was born on July 26, 1902 in Vienna, and died October 27, 1988 in Nendeln, Liechtenstein. During World War II, Curt Herzstark's plans for a mechanical pocket calculator literally saved his life....

     inventor of the Curta calculator
    Curta calculator
    The Curta is a small, hand-cranked mechanical calculator introduced in 1948. It has an extremely compact design: a small cylinder that fits in the palm of the hand. It can be used to perform addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, and — with more difficulty — square roots and other...

    , hand-held, hand-cranked mechanical calculator
  • Heinrich Eduard Jacob
    Heinrich Eduard Jacob
    Heinrich Eduard Jacob was a German and American journalist and author. Born to a Jewish family in Berlin and raised partly in Vienna, Jacob worked for two decades as a journalist and biographer before the rise to power of the Nazi Party...

    , German writer
  • Paul-Emile Janson
    Paul-Emile Janson
    Paul-Emile Janson was a Belgian liberal politician.Born in Brussels, Janson was the son of liberal statesman Paul Janson . He studied law at the Free University of Brussels , practised as a lawyer, and also taught at the university...

    , Belgian politician, former Prime Minister of Belgium, died in the camp in 1944
  • Marian Filar
    Marian Filar
    Marian Filar was a Polish concert pianist and virtuoso.-Early life:Filar began to study piano at the age of five, and a year or so later he gave his first recital at the Warsaw Conservatory as a wunderkind. When 12 years of age, he played Mozart's Concerto in D Minor with the Warsaw Philharmonic...

      Polish Jewish concert pianist and virtuoso. Played at Carnegie Hall
    Carnegie Hall
    Carnegie Hall is a concert venue in Midtown Manhattan in New York City, United States, located at 881 Seventh Avenue, occupying the east stretch of Seventh Avenue between West 56th Street and West 57th Street, two blocks south of Central Park....

     After the war.
  • Léon Jouhaux
    Léon Jouhaux
    Léon Jouhaux was a French trade union leader who received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1951.Jouhaux's father worked in a match factory in Aubervilliers. His secondary schooling ended when his father's earnings were stopped by a strike. He gained employment at the factory at age sixteen and immediately...

    , French trade unionist and Nobel Peace Prize
    Nobel Peace Prize
    The Nobel Peace Prize is one of the five Nobel Prizes bequeathed by the Swedish industrialist and inventor Alfred Nobel.-Background:According to Nobel's will, the Peace Prize shall be awarded to the person who...

     laureate
  • Józef Kachel
    Józef Kachel
    Józef Kachel was a Polish Boy Scouts Scoutmaster in Germany, a member of the Communist Party, and a Member of the Polish Parliament- Biography :...

    , Scout leader, head of the pre-war Polish Scouting Association in Germany
  • Imre Kertész
    Imre Kertész
    Imre Kertész is a Hungarian Jewish author, Holocaust concentration camp survivor, and winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2002 "for writing that upholds the fragile experience of the individual against the barbaric arbitrariness of history"....

     writer, 2002 Nobel Prize in Literature
    Nobel Prize in Literature
    Since 1901, the Nobel Prize in Literature has been awarded annually to an author from any country who has, in the words from the will of Alfred Nobel, produced "in the field of literature the most outstanding work in an ideal direction"...

     recipient
  • Eugen Kogon
    Eugen Kogon
    Eugen Kogon was a historian and a survivor of the Holocaust. A well-known Christian opponent of the Nazi Party, he was arrested more than once and spent six years at Buchenwald concentration camp. Kogon was known in Germany as a journalist, sociologist, political scientist, author and politician...

    , anti-Nazi activist, later Christian Socialist, professor, broadcaster and author of Der SS-Staat ("The SS state"), a significant piece of literature concerning the German concentration camps
  • Jan Łangowski, Polish social worker and politician active among the Polish diaspora in Germany
  • Yisrael Meir Lau
    Yisrael Meir Lau
    Yisrael Meir Lau is the Chief Rabbi of Tel Aviv, Israel, and Chairman of Yad Vashem. He previously served as the Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi of Israel from 1993 to 2003.-Biography:...

     (born 1937), Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi of Israel
  • Parlindoengan Loebis, Indonesia
    Indonesia
    Indonesia , officially the Republic of Indonesia , is a country in Southeast Asia and Oceania. Indonesia is an archipelago comprising approximately 13,000 islands. It has 33 provinces with over 238 million people, and is the world's fourth most populous country. Indonesia is a republic, with an...

    n physician
    Physician
    A physician is a health care provider who practices the profession of medicine, which is concerned with promoting, maintaining or restoring human health through the study, diagnosis, and treatment of disease, injury and other physical and mental impairments...

     and activist in the Netherlands
  • Artur London
    Artur London
    Artur London, , was a Czechoslovak communist politician and co-defendant in the Slánský Trial. He was born in Ostrava, Austria-Hungary to a Jewish family....

    , senior Czech communist and writer, future government minister
  • Jacques Lusseyran
    Jacques Lusseyran
    Jacques Lusseyran was a blind French author and political activist.Lusseyran was born on September 19th, 1924, in Paris, France. He became totally blind in a school accident at the age of 8. He soon learned to adapt to being blind and maintained many close friendships, particularly with one boy...

    , blind French memoirist and professor
  • Georges Mandel
    Georges Mandel
    Georges Mandel was a French politician, journalist, and French Resistance leader.-Biography:Born Louis George Rothschild in Chatou, Yvelines, was the son of a tailor...

     French politician, former Minister of the Interior, died in the camp in 1944
  • Henri Maspero
    Henri Maspero
    Henri Maspero was a French sinologist, today particularly remembered for his pioneering works on Taoism.-Biography:...

    , French Sinologist, pioneering scholar of Taoism, died in the camp in March 1945
  • Erik L. Mollo-Christensen, Emeritus Professor of Oceanography, MIT; former Associate Director of Earth Science, NASAtance
  • Andree Peel
    Andrée Peel
    Andrée Peel was one of a couple of women known as Agent Rose .She worked against the German occupation of France as a member of the French Resistance during the Second World War....

    , Member of the French resistance
  • Harry Peulevé
    Harry Peulevé
    Henri Leonard Thomas Peulevé DSO, MC was an agent of the Special Operations Executive , who undertook two missions in occupied France and escaped from Buchenwald concentration camp.-Early life:...

    , an agent of the British Special Operations Executive (SOE)
    Special Operations Executive
    The Special Operations Executive was a World War II organisation of the United Kingdom. It was officially formed by Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Minister of Economic Warfare Hugh Dalton on 22 July 1940, to conduct guerrilla warfare against the Axis powers and to instruct and aid local...

     who managed to escape Buchenwald with F. F. E. Yeo-Thomas
    F. F. E. Yeo-Thomas
    Wing Commander Forest Frederick Edward "Tommy" Yeo-Thomas, GC, MC & Bar, Croix de guerre , Commandeur of the Légion d'honneur, was the British Special Operations Executive agent codenamed "The White Rabbit" during World War II...

    .
  • Henri Christiaan Pieck
    Henri Pieck
    Henri Christiaan Pieck was a Dutch architect, painter and graphic artist.Pieck married twice. On 12 July 1922, he married Geziena van Gelder, with whom he had one son. This union was dissolved on 14 May 1928. His second wife, Bernharda Hugona Johanna van Lier, whom he married on 25 May 1928 in St...

    , Dutch painter and twin brother of Anton Pieck
    Anton Pieck
    Anton Franciscus Pieck , a Dutch painter, artist and graphic artist...

  • Hélie de Saint Marc, member of the French resistance, later involved in the attempted Algiers putsch
  • H.R.H. The Princess Mafalda of Savoy, the daughter of King Vittorio Emanuele III of Italy
    Victor Emmanuel III of Italy
    Victor Emmanuel III was a member of the House of Savoy and King of Italy . In addition, he claimed the crowns of Ethiopia and Albania and claimed the titles Emperor of Ethiopia and King of Albania , which were unrecognised by the Great Powers...

     and his Consort
    Queen consort
    A queen consort is the wife of a reigning king. A queen consort usually shares her husband's rank and holds the feminine equivalent of the king's monarchical titles. Historically, queens consort do not share the king regnant's political and military powers. Most queens in history were queens consort...

    , Queen Elena
    Elena of Montenegro
    Elena of Montenegro was the daughter of King Nikola I Petrović-Njegoš of Montenegro and his wife, Milena Vukotić...

    , died in the camp in 1944.
  • Franciszek Myśliwiec, Polish politician and social worker
  • John H. Noble
    John H. Noble
    John H. Noble was an American survivor of the Soviet Gulag system, who wrote two books relating to his experiences after being permitted to leave the Soviet Union and return to his native United States....

    , American-born gulag survivor and author
  • Count Albert de Nadaillac, head of a French resistance organisation (ORA-Tours Angers Le Mans). He survived, but his younger brother, count Michel de Nadaillac, also involved in the resistance died in Dora.
  • Almeric Lombard de Buffiers de Rambuteau, French aristocrat, died in the camp on December 14, 1944
  • Paul Rassinier
    Paul Rassinier
    Paul Rassinier was a French pacifist, political activist, and author. He was also an anti-Nazi French Resistance fighter, and a prisoner of the German concentration camps at Buchenwald and Mittelbau-Dora. A journalist and editor, he wrote hundreds of articles on political and economic subjects...

    , considered the father of Holocaust denial
    Holocaust denial
    Holocaust denial is the act of denying the genocide of Jews in World War II, usually referred to as the Holocaust. The key claims of Holocaust denial are: the German Nazi government had no official policy or intention of exterminating Jews, Nazi authorities did not use extermination camps and gas...

  • Jakob Rosenfeld
    Jakob Rosenfeld
    Jakob Rosenfeld , more commonly known as General Luo, served as the Minister of Health in the 1947 Provisional Communist Military Government of China under Mao Zedong....

    , minister of health under Mao
  • Baron Otto of Schmidburg, minor German noble, died in the camp on July 23, 1941
  • Etta Sapon, Italian, Dramatic actress
  • Paul Schneider
    Paul Schneider (pastor)
    Paul Schneider was an Evangelical Church of the old-Prussian Union pastor who was the first Protestant minister to be martyred by the Nazis. He was executed at Buchenwald.-Early life:...

    , German pastor, died in the camp in 1939
  • Jorge Semprún
    Jorge Semprún
    Jorge Semprún Maura was a Spanish writer and politician who lived in France most of his life and wrote primarily in French. From 1953 to 1962, during the era of Francisco Franco, Semprún lived clandestinely in Spain working as an organizer for the exiled Communist Party of Spain, but was expelled...

    , Spanish intellectual and politician and culture minister of Spain (1988–91)
  • Jura Soyfer
    Jura Soyfer
    Jura Soyfer was an important Austrian political journalist and cabaret writer.-Life:...

    , Austrian poet and dramatist, died in the camp in 1939
  • Ernst Thälmann
    Ernst Thälmann
    Ernst Thälmann was the leader of the Communist Party of Germany during much of the Weimar Republic. He was arrested by the Gestapo in 1933 and held in solitary confinement for eleven years, before being shot in Buchenwald on Adolf Hitler's orders in 1944...

    , leader of the Communist Party of Germany
    Communist Party of Germany
    The Communist Party of Germany was a major political party in Germany between 1918 and 1933, and a minor party in West Germany in the postwar period until it was banned in 1956...

    , died in the camp in April 1944
  • William Arthur Waldram, Canadian Lancaster tail gunner, General Motors executive
  • Fred Wander
    Fred Wander
    Fred Wander was an Austrian writer and Holocaust survivor.Wander was born Fritz Rosenblatt in Vienna, he left school at 14 and worked as an apprentice in a textile mill, before travelling around Europe taking whatever jobs were going. He spent quite some time in pre-war Paris and this is where he...

    , Austrian writer
  • Ernst Wiechert
    Ernst Wiechert
    Ernst Wiechert was a German teacher, poet and writer.-Biography:Wiechert was born in Kleinort near Sensburg , East Prussia.He was one of the most widely read novelists in Germany during the 1930s...

    , German writer
  • Elie Wiesel
    Elie Wiesel
    Sir Eliezer "Elie" Wiesel KBE; born September 30, 1928) is a Hungarian-born Jewish-American writer, professor, political activist, Nobel Laureate, and Holocaust survivor. He is the author of 57 books, including Night, a work based on his experiences as a prisoner in the Auschwitz, Buna, and...

    , Romanian Jewish French-American writer, 1986 Nobel Peace Prize
    Nobel Peace Prize
    The Nobel Peace Prize is one of the five Nobel Prizes bequeathed by the Swedish industrialist and inventor Alfred Nobel.-Background:According to Nobel's will, the Peace Prize shall be awarded to the person who...

     recipient
  • F. F. E. Yeo-Thomas
    F. F. E. Yeo-Thomas
    Wing Commander Forest Frederick Edward "Tommy" Yeo-Thomas, GC, MC & Bar, Croix de guerre , Commandeur of the Légion d'honneur, was the British Special Operations Executive agent codenamed "The White Rabbit" during World War II...

    , Royal Air Force
    Royal Air Force
    The Royal Air Force is the aerial warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Formed on 1 April 1918, it is the oldest independent air force in the world...

     Wing Commander
    Wing Commander (rank)
    Wing commander is a commissioned rank in the Royal Air Force and the air forces of many other Commonwealth countries...

     and British Special Operations Executive (SOE)
    Special Operations Executive
    The Special Operations Executive was a World War II organisation of the United Kingdom. It was officially formed by Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Minister of Economic Warfare Hugh Dalton on 22 July 1940, to conduct guerrilla warfare against the Axis powers and to instruct and aid local...

     agent, codenamed "The White Rabbit". Returned to England in 1945
  • Petr Zenkl
    Petr Zenkl
    Petr Zenkl, PhD. was a influential Czech politician, government minister, Mayor of Prague, chairman of the Czech National Social Party , deputy Prime Minister of Czechoslovakia and the chairman of exile Council of Free Czechoslovakia .- Biography :Petr Zenkl was born as the eighth son of a small...

    , Czech national socialist politician
  • Walter Gutheim, German business man who migrated to America after the war.


See also

  • The Boys of Buchenwald
    The Boys of Buchenwald
    The Boys of Buchenwald is a 2002 documentary film that examines how the child survivors of the Buchenwald concentration camp had to assimilate themselves back into normal society after having experienced the brutality of the Holocaust...

  • Final Solution
    Final Solution
    The Final Solution was Nazi Germany's plan and execution of the systematic genocide of European Jews during World War II, resulting in the most deadly phase of the Holocaust...

  • The Holocaust
    The Holocaust
    The Holocaust , also known as the Shoah , was the genocide of approximately six million European Jews and millions of others during World War II, a programme of systematic state-sponsored murder by Nazi...

  • John H. Noble
    John H. Noble
    John H. Noble was an American survivor of the Soviet Gulag system, who wrote two books relating to his experiences after being permitted to leave the Soviet Union and return to his native United States....

  • Jonas Valley
    Jonas Valley
    Jonastal, situated in the Ilm-Kreis district in Germany between Crawinkel and Arnstadt, was a scene of the horrors of the national socialism in the last years of the Second World War. Tens of thousands of prisoners of the concentration camp Buchenwald were forced to dig 25 tunnels into the mountain...

  • List of Nazi-German concentration camps
  • List of subcamps of Buchenwald
  • Nazi crimes against ethnic Poles
    Nazi crimes against ethnic Poles
    In addition to about 2.9 million Polish Jews , about 2.8 million non-Jewish Polish citizens perished during the course of the war...

  • Nazi-German concentration camps
  • Number of deaths in Buchenwald
    Number of deaths in Buchenwald
    The Buchenwald concentration camp was established in 1937, 10 kilometers from Weimar. The prisoners of the camp were Jews, political prisoners, religious prisoners and prisoners of war. They came from Russia, Poland, France, Germany, Austria and other countries....

  • Ohrdruf forced labor camp
  • Buchenwald Resistance
    Buchenwald Resistance
    The Buchenwald Resistance was a resistance group of prisoners at Buchenwald concentration camp. It involved Communists, Social Democrats, and people affiliated with other political parties, unaffiliated people, and Christians. Because Buchenwald prisoners came from a number of countries, the...

  • KLB Club
    KLB Club
    The KLB Club was formed on 12 October 1944, and included the 168 allied airmen who were held prisoner at Buchenwald concentration camp between 20 August and 19 October 1944...

  • Edward A. Tenenbaum
    Edward A. Tenenbaum
    Edward A. Tenenbaum was an American economist. During World War II, he and civilian Egon W. Fleck, were the first two people to enter the Buchenwald concentration camp, on April 11, 1945.- Biography :...

    , one of the first two people to enter Buchenwald on April 11, 1945

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