Showing posts with label Weimar. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Weimar. Show all posts

Weimar and Buchenwald

For other sites in Thüringen
Weimar was a focal point of the German Enlightenment and home of the leading characters of the literary genre of Weimar Classicism, the writers Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Friedrich Schiller. In the 19th century, famous composers like Franz Liszt made a music centre of Weimar and later, artists and architects like Henry van de Velde, Wassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee, Lyonel Feininger and Walter Gropius came to the city and founded the Bauhaus movement, the most important German design school of the interwar period. However, the political history of 20th-century Weimar was inconsistent: it was the place where Germany's first democratic constitution was signed after the First World War, giving its name to the Weimar Republic period in German politics (1918–1933), as well as one of the cities mythologised by the National Socialist propaganda.

The period in German history from 1919 to 1933 is commonly referred to as the Weimar Republic, as the Republic's constitution was drafted here. Berlin as the capital was considered too dangerous for the National Assembly to use as a meeting place, because of its street rioting after the 1918 German Revolution. The calm and centrally located Weimar had a suitable place of assembly (the theatre), hotels and infrastructure, so it was chosen as the capital.  In 1920, the federal state of Thuringia was founded by an association of eight former microstates (Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach, Saxe-Gotha, Saxe-Altenburg, Saxe-Meiningen, Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt, Schwarzburg-Sondershausen, Reuss-Gera and Reuss-Greiz) and Weimar became its capital. Due to that fact, the city experienced another period of growth.  In 1919, Walter Gropius founded the Bauhaus School by a merger of the Weimar Saxon-Grand Ducal Art School with the Kunstgewerbeschule Weimar. The Bauhaus in Weimar lasted from 1919 to 1925, when it moved to Dessau, after the newly elected right-wing Thuringian council put pressure on the School by withdrawing funding and forcing its teachers to quit. Many buildings in Weimar today have influences from the Bauhaus period. However, only one original Bauhaus building was constructed during 1919–1925, the Haus am Horn, now used for exhibitions and events on Bauhaus culture.  The Weimar Republic era was marked by a constant conflict between progressive forces and reactionary right wing forces, the former represented by Harry Graf Kessler and the latter Adolf Bartels in Weimar. After 1929, the right wing forces prevailed and Weimar became an early centre of Nazism. Nazi Germany and World War II Buchenwald's main gate, with the slogan Jedem das Seine ("to each his own")  Weimar was important to the Nazis for two reasons: first, it was where the hated Weimar Republic was founded, and second, it was a centre of German high culture during recent centuries. In 1926, the NSDAP held its party convention in Weimar. Adolf Hitler visited Weimar more than forty times prior to 1933. In 1930, Wilhelm Frick became minister for internal affairs and education in Thuringia, the first NSDAP minister in Germany. In 1932, the NSDAP came to power in Thuringia under Fritz Sauckel. In 1933, the first Concentration Camps were established around Weimar in Nohra (the first one in Germany) and Bad Sulza. Most prisoners at this time were communists and social democrats. After Kristallnacht in 1938, harassment of Jews became more intense, so that many of them emigrated or were arrested. The Weimar Synagogue was destroyed in 1938.  During the 1930s, the barracks in Weimar was greatly extended. One famous person serving as a soldier in Weimar was Wolfgang Borchert, later a well known poet and playwright. As it was the capital of Thuringia, the Nazis built a new Roman-fascist-style administrative centre between the city centre and the main station. This Gauforum, designed by Hermann Giesler, was the only Nazi governmental building completed outside Berlin (though there were plans for all German state capitals). Today it hosts the Thuringian State Administration. Other Giesler buildings are the "Villa Sauckel", the Governor's palace and the "Hotel Elephant" in the city centre. 
Hotel Elephant
Hitler visited Weimar at least 35 times and each time stayed at the Haus Elephant. On November 27 1927, Hitler held a speech here "announcing a change of course" in the election campaigns according to Kershaw. In 1932 Hitler gave interviews to the press here on January 31 and November 27 and on June 17, 1933 over a thousand Thüringian NSDAP members were honoured in the presence of Hitler. The photo on the right shows Hitler from his hotel window on Reichsparteitag in 1926.

   In July 1926, Hitler felt strong enough to hold a mass rally of the Party at Weimar, in Thuringia, one of the few States in which he was still allowed to speak. Five thousand men took part in the march past, with Hitler standing in his car and returning their salute, for the first time, with outstretched arm. Hoffman's photographs made it all look highly impressive, and a hundred thousand copies of the Volkischer Beobachter were distributed throughout the country. It was the first of the Reichsparteitage later to be staged, year after year, at Nuremberg.
Bullock (139)

Hitler in 1938 superimposed over same shot today
Julius Schaub cupped his hand over one ear and grunted. ‘Mein Fuehrer, do you remember the Hotel Elephant at Weimar!’ ‘And how!’ said Hitler. ‘My regular rooms had running water but no WC, so I had to walk down this long corridor and vanish into the little room at the end. It was sheer purgatory every time, because when I left my room word spread around the hotel like wildfire, and when I emerged from the closet they were all waiting to cheer me and I had to give the Hitler salute and a rather embarrassed smile all the way back to my room. Later on I had that hotel rebuilt.’     Irving (778) Hitler's War
Standing in front of the Elephant Hotel, 2007
Hitler tourism flourished in Weimar as well, a city the Führer visited at least once a year between 1925 and 1939. When there, he always stayed at his favourite hotel, the Elephant. Once he was in power, local brochures and guides began to promote the hotel as a ‘not to be missed’ attraction for visitors to Weimar.55 The hotel, built in 1696, was, according to the Weimar Tourism Society, not only the inn ‘most visited by famous guests’ during the classical period, including Goethe; it was also the ‘residence of the Führer during his visits to Weimar’.56 Tourists flocked to the Elephant. When Hitler was there, crowds of visitors and locals alike gathered outside in hopes of catching a glimpse of him. While they did, they were said to have chanted:
Lieber Führer, komm heraus aus dem Elephantenhaus, Lieber Führer sieh doch ein, wir können nicht mehr länger schrein’ Lieber Führer, geh nicht fort, bleib an diesem schönen Ort. [Dear Führer, come on out, out of the Elephant House. Dear Führer, please do see we can’t scream any longer. Dear Führer, don’t go away – in this pretty place you should stay.]

Even when he was not there, the hotel remained a popular attraction for Germans. Yet not all were satisfied with their visit. Paul Gerhard, a local reporter, tour guide and Heimat historian wrote about the experiences of a ‘poor comrade from the village’, who had visited the Elephant Hotel ‘to see where our Führer lives’ and left ‘shocked at the high drink prices’. Still, the hotel drew its share of Weimar’s guests and viewing it became one of the highlights of the city’s Nazi tourist culture.

Goebbels at the entrance in 1930 and Hitler, Goering on right.

SA rally in front of the rathaus in 1931 

1932 rally
Deutsche Arbeitsfront
The Deutsche Arbeitsfront (German Labour Front or DAF) building, shown in the foreground of the model on the left, served as the Headquarters for the amalgamated National Socialist trade union organisation which replaced the free and diverse Weimar trade unions that Hitler outlawed on 2 May 1933. Its leader was Dr. Robert Ley, who claimed its aim as 'to create a true social and productive community' by serving as a medium through which workers and owners could mutually represent their interests.

Berlin was not the only city in which new building projects were designed and executed under Hitler. In Weimar, there was the enormous Gauforum on the massive square, Platz Adolf Hitlers. Hitler had made the first thrust of the spade (Spatenstich) on 4 July 1936 during the festivities to mark the tenth anniversary of the second Reich Party Rally. Heralded as the ‘fundament of a new classicism’, the Gauforum, designed by architect Hermann Giesler, was intended to serve as a new centre of National Socialist power in the state of Thuringia. The three buildings, meant to surround a gigantic parade ground, were to house offices for the district leadership, individual divisions of the Party and the German Labour Front. An enormous meeting hall, the Hall of the National Community, was also planned. The Nazis had plans for similarly massive governmental complexes elsewhere in the Reich, but the Gauforum was the first and only on which construction actually began. The site of the Gauforum was soon added to the tourist’s itinerary, but tourism brochures often relied on photographs of architectural models since the complex was never fully completed.
To establish the Gauforum, the northern part of the suburb of Jakobsvorstadt saw a total of 139 houses demolished and the small river Asbach be redirected. Rudolf Hess laid the foundation stone of the "hall of the national community" and the solemnly renamed the square Adolf-Hitler-Platz on May 1, 1937. At the carefully staged mass rally of 40,000 people took part. The massive investment clearly demonstrates the leadership of the NSDAP, the small town houses of the city of Weimar should appear next to it. Hitler personally added the design to the "hall of the national community" with standing room for 20,000 and a bell tower which was the tallest building in Weimar. Fritz Sauckel celebrated his 45th birthday in 1939 inside. By 1943, all the buildings were completed, with the exception of the hall, in the construction work also prisoners of Buchenwald concentration camp were used.
Adolf-Hitler-Platz had been built by slave labour from Buchenwald next door:
The most famous city in the hilly region, Weimar, was taken on the 12th. Buchenwald was so close to Weimar that its ancient trees had been the object of Goethe’s daily walks, and yet the Weimarer insisted that they had not known what was happening behind the barbed wire. To some extent this was true, but prisoners were used for menial tasks around the town and had been involved in the often mortal work building the new Adolf- Hitler-Platz between the old town and the railway station. Even if they had been unclear about the extent of the brutality, they knew full well that the prisoners were abused and maltreated.  
Shortly after the war, the square in the middle of Gauforum was used as parade ground for the Soviet Army, renamed Karl-Marx-Platz May 1, 1945. Between the 1950s and 1989 it was transformed to offices, a school and a store. Today the main building is used as a shopping mall.
The Gauforum remained empty until the war ended, the place in  was renamed on 1 May 1945. The shell of the unfinished hall was indeed completed after the war, but only in 1967 made ​​available by installing floors. In 1976, the now barely visible concrete slat facade was installed. 
Inside the tower is a permanent exhibition is on the history of the place, the entrance is on the corner Weimarplatz / Peace Street.

The Reichsstatthalter was used by the Nazis to gain direct control over the federal states by abolishing independent state governments and parliaments through the process of Gleichschaltung (coordination). The Reichsstatthalterei here in Weimar was the Headquarters for Gauleiter Fritz Sauckel. He served as Reich defence commissioner for the Kassel district before being appointed General Plenipotentiary for Labour Deployment on 21 March 1942, on the recommendation of Albert Speer. He worked directly under Hitler through the Four-Year Plan Office, directing and controlling German labour. He was found guilty at the Nuremberg War trails of war crimes and crimes against humanity and hanged on 16 October 1946. His last words were recorded as "Ich sterbe unschuldig, mein Urteil ist ungerecht. Gott beschütze Deutschland!" (I die innocent, my sentence is unjust. God protect Germany!). His superior, Albert Speer, was only given a 20 years prison term.
You can see the Reichsstatthalterei in this model in the centre of the background with the bell tower planned to have been considerably higher.
Standing in front of the German National Theatre, where the Weimar Constitution was ratified.
The theatre and statue of Goethe and Schiller can be seen in the background of these two photographs.
Hitler at the Schillerhaus Weimar
Hitler outside Schiller's house in 1934 and today.
  In March 1932, the 100th anniversary of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe was solemnized. From the political events of the day seemingly unaffected, celebrated it the "spirit of Weimar". Thomas Mann described his stay: "Quite strangely touched the mixing of Hitlerism and Goethe Weimar is indeed a centre of Hitlerism [...] The type of the young man who decided to indefinitely walked through the city and is greeted with the Roman salute.. , dominates the city. "

The anniversary also marked the start of the planned expansion of the Goethe National Museum. In 1931, architect Heinrich Tessenowstraße was appointed. He had Schinkel's Neue Wache in Berlin turned into a Reich Memorial to the fallen of the First World War and was politically controversial. Wilhelm Frick, later Reich Minister of the Interior, described him as an "essentially foreign architect".

Finally, the originally rejected designs of the late architect Walter Voigt came to execution. On the instructions of Hitler came more than half of the required funds from the finances of the empire. In the museum, a plaque with the inscription was made: "extension created by the generous support of leader Adolf Hitler in the third year of his reign inaugurated on Goethe's birthday, 1935."

Schiller's death chamber, decorated with Nazi paraphernalia
In 1941 the first heavy bombing raids were flown on German cities, and the furniture here used by Friedrich Schiller was deemed important cultural relics. The Schiller Museum was also kept open to the  war-weary "national community" to suggest perseverance. Thus on February 17 1942 a consultation on the "Protection of cultural sites, art treasures and cultural assets" adopted the measure to produce faithful copies of the museum's items whilst the originals were brought to the basement of what was left of the Nietzsche Memorial Hall.
The workshops of the SS in Buchenwald concentration camp offered a pragmatic and affordable way where the inmates made forty wooden crates for storage of smaller items, as well as copies of Schiller's desk, bed, two chairs and spinet.  The city government was pleased with the quality of the reproductions highly satisfied and the mayor had a affix a plaque with the following text in the Schiller House affixed: "Furniture in Schiller's work and death room are replicas of the originals now placed in safety." After the war, the original furnishings were returned to the Schiller House. 
In September 1934 the Prussian Ministry of Education received an angry letter from a Mr Heinrich Ludendorff: ‘As is conveyed to me by reliable sources,’ he wrote, ‘a volume of the Jewish philosopher Moses Mendelssohn has lain for years in the Schiller House in Weimar as the only book on this German poet’s writing desk in his study. ... Visitors to this room ... [have] struggled in vain for a long time to have this book removed.’ The 1930 guide to the house confirms that Mendelssohn’s ‘philosophical writings’ did indeed lie on the desk,Nazi Tourist Culture  alongside a quill pen, a letter opener and a globe. The Thuringian Minister for Education requested more information on the matter. In response, the director of the Schiller House, Professor Eduard Scheidemantel, made a moving, eloquent plea to leave the book where it was, claiming he had never heard any calls for its removal. Scheidemantel’s arguments were ignored: the book was removed and guides to the house no longer mentioned it. Guides to the Goethe House during the Nazi period remarked that the only things missing from that poet’s study, which otherwise remained in the same condition as just after his death, were ‘a few meaningless pieces, among them, several books’. It is tempting to attribute this absence to the kind of cultural cleansing that occurred at the Schiller House. Likewise, it is possible to see the ‘thorough re-arrangement’ of the rooms in the Kirms-Krackow-House, which took place in the Third Reich and which ‘freed [them] from all foreign ingredients’, in a similar light. Proof that the cultural sites of memory underwent alterations along such blatantly ideological lines in Weimar or elsewhere in Germany is difficult to obtain. But these kinds of disappearing acts are easy to detect in that other essential item of touristic equipment, the map. 
Semmens (60-61)
Hitler visiting the Nietzsche Archives in August, 1934, being welcomed by Nietzsche's sister Elisabeth Förster-Nietzsche, the month he became absolute ruler

The bust remains in the same location
The Bastille, schloß Hornstein, with Nazi flags flying from the Residenskaffee
Fürstenplatz with the Carl August memorial, now renamed Platz der Demokratie.  The  Hochschule für Musik "Franz Liszt", Gelbe Schloss and Residenzschloss remain intact.

The markt then and now
The photo on the left shows the market square after extensive bombing on February 9, 1945. It had been here on March 6, 1932 and January 15, 1933 that Hitler spoke, the latter occasion to nearly 10 000 people. The right shows the same tower in the background.
What's left of the Wielandbrunnen on Wielandplatz; 1906 and today

Weimar Hauptbahnhof
July 1936 and today
Nearly 10,000 Jewish men were deported in the days after the Reichskristallnacht pogrom of 1938 to the Buchenwald concentration camp. They came among others from Breslau, Dresden, Frankfurt, Bielefeld, Aachen, and from all over Thuringia. With the railroad, they were transported to Weimar Central Station, where SS and auxiliary police drove through the tunnel passage and beat them. The survivor Ernst Cramer recalls: "It seemed pointless; we were herded like cattle and beaten on the wall [...], Go, Go! ' roared our tormentors, and drove us up the stairs with their batons out of the station forecourt. truck waiting there. We were crammed. soon as she appeared on fully, and more new people were beaten inside. " The abuse took place in public. The Weimar native Klaus Engelhardt reported: "It was then like wildfire in our children the message that Jews at the station, unloaded 'be'. In the early years were the most Buchenwald prisoners at the main train station, last large transports from Poland in October 1939. In the aftermath of the freight depot was used.
At the eastern entrance of the main station in 1998 a memorial plaque was erected, which commemorates the arrival of the victims of the anti-Jewish pogrom in Weimar.
HJ und BDM with a Nazi Propagandawagen in front of the Wittumspalais in 1943

Former Gestapo Headquarters
In 1936, the control centre of the Secret State Police (Gestapo) moved from the police headquarters in the former Sophie Street to the former Grand Ducal stables.  In addition to the administrative block with double insulated interrogation rooms was a Behelfsgefängnis with twelve cells in the former coach house of the royal stables, converted by concentration camp prisoners from Buchenwald.
Spying, searches, arrest, torture, and statements under duress were part of the practice of authority. Through the imposition of "protective custody" she could leave the suspects admit without proof, prosecution and judgement indefinitely in a concentration camp. From May 1942, and headed the Gestapo oversaw the deportation of Jewish inhabitants of Weimar in extermination camps, the riding hall was used as a meeting place before entry to the freight depot.
After the war, political prisoners of the Soviet occupation authorities and the District Court of Weimar were held in the royal stables. Since July 1951, the rooms were used for storage of files from the Provincial Archives; today it hosts the Thüringisches Hauptstaatsarchiv Weimar. In the Gestapo prison cell in the main building now houses a permanent exhibition on the history of the place.
Villa Sauckel

Home on Straßenseite of Fritz Sauckel the regional Kreisleiter, the political leader of the largest subdivision of the Gaue. During the war he was Reich defence commissioner for the KasselReichsverteidigungskommissar Wehrkreis IX) before being appointed General Plenipotentiary for Labour Deployment (Generalbevollmächtigter für den Arbeitseinsatz) on 21 March 1942, on the recommendation of Martin Bormann. He worked directly under Hitler through the Four-Year Plan Office, directing and controlling German labour. In response to increased demands, he met the requirement for manpower with people from the occupied territories. Voluntary numbers were insufficient and forced recruitment was introduced within a few months. Of the 5 million workers brought to Germany, around 200,000 came voluntarily. The majority of the acquired workers originated from the Eastern territories, where the methods used to gain workers were reportedly very harsh. At Nuremberg he was found guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity, and together with a number of colleagues, he was hanged on 16 October 1946. His last words were recorded as "Ich sterbe unschuldig, mein Urteil ist ungerecht. Gott beschütze Deutschland!" (I die innocent, my sentence is unjust. God protect Germany!).
Sauckel's sentence has been much the contentious subject among historians. Sauckel's ministerial responsibilities were part of Goering's "Four Year Plan" the so-called economic solution for greater Germany. The common misconception is that Albert Speer was his direct superior on account of his demands to meet the quota of foreign labourers in his munitions divisions. This assertion is incorrect, as Goering was effectively his direct superior. It is true that Speer inherited vital economic responsibility from Goering with his assumption as minister of armaments, but the policy of acquiring foreign labour was enabled by then armaments minister Fritz Todt and Hermann Goering. Moreover, the mistreatment of dragooned prisoners was ultimately left up to the discretion of the respective commandant of the division, not Sauckel. He expressly stated in a memorandum to his delegates of foreign labour that the men and women be treated accordingly with adequate care. In this sense the mistreatment of foreign labourers falls neither, on Sauckel, or on Speer for that matter.

Emmy Göring-Stift
 Founded in 1936-1937 and shown in a 1942 postcard, today it has been renamed the Marie-Seebach-Stift 

 The Van de Velde Bau of the Bauhaus-Universität

 Inauguration of the Thälmann Monument on the square of the 56,000, 17 August 1958 and standing in front today. Ernst Thälmann was the leader of the German Communist Party (KPD) during the Weimar Republic. He was arrested by the Gestapo in 1933 and held in solitary confinement for eleven years, before being shot in nearby Buchenwald on Hitler's orders on August 18, 1944. 
The Haus der Frau von Stein, now a Musikhochschule, during the Nazi era and today

The Hotel Russischer Hof, from 1914 to 1945 renamed the Fürstenhof 
The original 1818 Karl Alexander statue on Karlsplatz (now Goetheplatz) was destroyed during the war

The Kasseturm behind remains intact

Link to High School Essays about the Weimar Republic

Buchenwald KZ and Memorial
Constructing the camp
Buchenwald Concentration Camp was built in July 1937 in the direct vicinity of Weimar, the city of German Classicism. It was to this concentration camp on Ettersberg Mountain that the ϟϟ deported men, teenagers and children – political opponents to the Nazi regime, so-called asocials and criminals, homosexuals, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Jews, Sinti and Roma – who had no place in the National Socialist ”people's community“. Following the outbreak of World War II, the National Socialists sent people from nearly every country in Europe to Buchenwald. At the time of the camp’s liberation, ninety-five percent of its inmates were from countries outside the German Reich. Between 1937 and 1945, altogether more than 250,000 persons were imprisoned here. The inmates in the Buchenwald ”parent camp“ and its total of 136 subcamps were ruthlessly exploited. In 1944 the ϟϟ administration of Buchenwald took charge of camps in which women and girls were forced to work for the German armament industry. Some 56,000 human beings met their deaths in Buchenwald and its subcamps; they were killed, they starved to death, they died of illness or as victims of medical experiments. Many inmates, among them more than 8,000 Soviet prisoners of war, were systematically murdered by the SS.

Gate building (1937)
This served as the main watchtower; the wings housed detention cells (the Bunker) – where ϟϟ gaolers tortured and murdered inmates on behalf of the Gestapo and the camp commander – as well as offices of the ϟϟ camp command. The camp gate with the bizarre inscription Jedem das Seine (to each his own) formed the boundary between the ϟϟ area and the inmates' camp.
Presented during the Nuremberg trials

All the concentration camps had slogans on their gates. Often it was Arbeit Macht Frei (Work makes you free). However, in Buchenwald, a labour (not a death) camp – although many thousands of people were worked to death or deliberately killed there – the Nazis chose the motto Jedem Das Seine (To Each What They Are Due). It was placed on the inside of the gate rather than the outside, so that every prisoner was reminded of it as they looked to the world outside.  The words are a powerful statement – and in this context a complete and provocative perversion of any notion of justice. They are the German translation of the Roman law maxim Suum cuique, incorporated not just into German law but legal systems across Europe. They are the title of a Bach cantata performed in Weimar, the city of Goethe and Schiller, just 10 miles from Buchenwald. And this gate, so close to Weimar, raises the unanswerable question of modern German history: how can these different components of the German story fit together? How could all these humane traditions of justice and scholarship, music and law – of a civilised society – all collapse in the Nazi abyss?  The Nazi authorities conscripted one of the inmates of the camp to design the words. Franz Ehrlich had been interned as a communist on trumped-up charges of treason. He had trained at the Bauhaus, the famous school of design, also in nearby Weimar, which was loathed by the Nazis for its internationalism and modernism. Ehrlich nonetheless used a beautiful Bauhaus typeface of the sort that the Nazis categorically disapproved of. Astonishingly, they didn't seem to notice. It is impossible not to read the sign as a quiet, profound protest. Ehrlich was compelled to design this hateful, callous motto, but he did it in a way that showed that another Germany, a humane, international Germany, survived. These shocking words in that typeface suggest that people, even in terrible circumstance, may sometimes find a way of asserting dignity.

Buchenwald Concentration Camp was involved in the NS killing policies through the practise of inmate selection and deportation to NS extermination camps: Buchenwald was the point of departure for extermination transports of children and sick inmates to Auschwitz, and when the ϟϟ cleared the camps in the east in early 1945, many mass transports went to Buchenwald. Shortly before the end of the war, the ϟϟ attempted to ”evacuate“ Buchenwald Concentration Camp as well, and forced 28,000 inmates to set out on ”death marches“. When the Third U.S. Army reached Buchenwald on 11 April 1945, the ϟϟ fled, and inmates of the secret resistance organization opened the camp. Approximately 21,000 inmates, including more than 900 children and teenagers, were liberated.
In July 1945, when the American troops withdrew from Thuringia, Red Army units quickly took their place. The Soviet Secret Police set up Special Camp No. 2 in the former Buchenwald Concentration Camp. From 1945 to 1950, some 28,500 persons were interned in Buchenwald, among them 1,000 women – without trials and for indefinite terms. The majority of the inmates were men between forty and sixty years of age. Most of them had belonged to the NSDAP or held offices in the party and its subdivisions, primarily on the local level, or served in the NS administration, police or judiciary.
The living conditions in Buchenwald Special Camp were extremely inhumane. Altogether, more than 7,100 persons died there. The dead were buried in mass graves to the north of the camp and in the vicinity of the Buchenwald railway station.

The Little Camp Memorial was developed in 2001/2002 as a joint project of the United States Commission for the Preservation of America's Heritage Abroad and the Buchenwald Memorial. It was financed by donations from the U.S. as well as funds from the Federal Republic of Germany and the Free State of Thuringia. A survivor of Buchenwald Concentration Camp, the New York architect Stephen B. Jacobs, designed the memorial. He had been sent to Buchenwald from Auschwitz with his father and brother in early 1945 and committed to the Little Camp.

Inaugurated in 2006, a memorial stone on the site of former Block 45 commemorates the 650 "pink-triangle inmates" imprisoned in Buchenwald Concentration Camp between 1937 and 1945. One in three of their number died here.

The photo on the left shows SS-Ustuf Kurt Franz punishing inmates at Buchenwald whilst the photo I took on the right shows a replica on the site symbolising the means Nazis used to torture inmates; the cart would be used for the transport of stones from the quarry, and prisoners would hang by their wrists from the hanging post with their hands tied behind their backs. Behind can be seen the crematorium chimney.

An old oak tree on the camp grounds, called the ”Goethe Oak“ by the inmates. Felled in 1944 when it caught fire from flying sparks following the bombardment of the factory area by the Allies; stump preserved.

Inmates' living quarters, April 1945
Jewish slave labourers at Buchenwald. The very ill man lying at the back on the lower bunk is Max Hamburger, who came with TBC and malnourished from the camp. He recovered and became a psychiatrist in the Netherlands. Second row, seventh from left is Elie Wiesel. The photo on the right shows the site of the barracks today.
This picture shows several inmates of the Buchenwald camp inside their barracks. This is just an example of the cruelty of their living situations. At first, Buchenwald was created as a detention camp. There were three main areas, a large camp for the prisoners who were considered political dissidents; a small camp that was called a quarantine camp, and tented section for the prisoners arriving from Poland. As the War progressed, the inmates were forced to engage in the production of arms at the nearby Gustloff factory and at the quarries. The first prisoners were forced to take part in both the creation and the maintenance of their own systems of torture and oppression, building the road, the railway line and the extensive barracks, interrogation chambers and crematoria.
Unlike the other camps, Buchenwald was not a termination camp. It was a labour camp, if people died, it was because they could not withstand the terrible conditions of work, or because they tried to escape from the camp and were either torn to pieces by the guard dogs, or shot in the woods. Between l937 and l945, more than 250,000 of them were held prisoners, 50,000 of them died here.
Johnson,Eric A.. Nazi Terror: The Gestapo, Jews, and ordinary Germans. New York, New York: Basic Books, 1999.

The reconstructed barracks at the site looks almost the same as the dimensions used for the barracks used at the Dachau Refugee Camp I take my students to every Tuesday.

In the crematorium courtyard, the citizens of Weimar are confronted by U.S soldiers with the corpses found in Buchenwald concentration camp. It was the first photo of the Buchenwald camp to be published.

LIFE photographer Margaret Bourke-White was with General George Patton’s troops when they liberated the Buchenwald concentration camps. Forty-three thousand people had been murdered there. Patton was so outraged that he ordered his men to march German civilians through the camp so that they could see, with their own eyes, what really happened to innocent people in these horrible “death camps” and so they could see what their own nation had wrought. Bourke-White’s pictures carried the horrible images to the world. In America, the pictures proved that reports of the Nazi’s methodical extermination of the Jews were true, and the country began a long process of rethinking its behaviour, such as the decision not to bomb the camps. Bourke-White said, "I saw and photographed the piles of naked, lifeless bodies, the human skeletons in furnaces, the living skeletons who would die the next day... and tattooed skin for lampshades. Using the camera was almost a relief. It interposed a slight barrier between myself and the horror in front of me." LIFE published in their May 7, 1945 issue many photographs of these atrocities, saying, "Dead men will have indeed died in vain if live men refuse to look at them."
Landsberg, Alison. "America, the Holocaust, and the Mass Culture of Memory: Toward a Radical Politics of Empathy." New German Critique 71 (1997): 63-86.

Watchtower and crematorium

Storage room

These metal posts are not commemorating what the Germans did to their prisoners, but rather to Germans killed by Soviets who had taken over the running of the KZ after the war.
In 1989 the public learned of the existence of anonymous Soviet special camp graves in areas adjacent to the camp grounds. These graveyards, located to the north of the camp and in the vicinity of the railway station, were then marked with steel steles and landscaped as forest cemeteries. The memorial erected the first cross in the graveyard in February 1990.
The site has since become an individual place of mourning with crosses and commemorative stones.

Memorials to German victims from time Soviets ran camp, 1945-1950

On the left is the camp fence and a watchtower – of the original twenty-two watchtowers, two remain intact (not open to the public).
This railway line was built by inmates in 1943 for the armament plants next to the camp and by the following year brought people from all of the many German-occupied countries to Buchenwald Concentration Camp and from there to labour sites in the sub-camps.

Buchenwald Zoo

Zoo area for ϟϟ staff. The Zoo at Buchenwald was within the administrative part of the camp, although the prisoners would have been able to see some of it. Its purpose was for the the amusement of the ϟϟ officials, as was the facilities provided for horse riding. It also acted a showplace for when higher Nazi officials, such as Himmler, came to the camp.

Buchenwald Memorial
The so-called Avenue of the Nations, the construction of which got under way in 1954 as per GDR government resolution. By 1958, a monumental national monument had been erected on the southern slope of the Ettersberg. Three large mass graves were incorporated into the design.
The facility was based on a didactic concept intended to guide the visitor on a path from death to life: leading through the camp from the crematorium, the path continues down to the graves and finally uphill again to the bell tower, a symbol of freedom and light.
Nearby is the Ettersberg Cemetery which was landscaped in 1996 with the graves marked with name plaques. Even after the liberation of the concentration camp, inmates continued to die as a result of the conditions of their imprisonment.
'British neo-Nazis' hunted after Hitler salute in German concentration camp where 56,000 murdered, including Britons 
Two men hold a National Action flag as they give the Nazi flag in a former morgue at Buchenwald concentration camp. A caption points to 'meat hooks' from which SS guards choked an estimated 1,100 victims to death Two men hold a National Action flag as they give the Nazi flag in a former morgue at Buchenwald concentration camp. A caption points to 'meat hooks' from which SS guards choked an estimated 1,100 victims to death Credit: Twitter      Justin Huggler, in Berlin   26 May 2016 • 3:34pm  Police in Germany are investigating two suspected British neo-Nazis photographed giving a Hitler salute in Buchenwald concentration camp, where more than 56,000 people were murdered.  The investigation centres on a photograph published on Twitter by National Action, a known British neo-Nazi group.  In the picture, two men are seen holding a National Action flag and giving the Nazi salute in a room clearly recognisable as an underground morgue at the concentration camp known as the “corpse cellar”, because the bodies of the dead were stored there before cremation.  A caption on the picture points to “meat hooks” on the wall from which SS guards choked an estimated 1,100 victims to death. Beside the caption, there is a crude smiley face. "This is a serious dishonour to all the nearly 280,000 people held at Buchenwald, among whom there were also Britons"Volkhard Knigge  German police say they do not know who the two men in the photograph are, because their faces are obscured by shadow.  “We are investigating unknown perptrators, because the faces are distorted,” a police spokesman said. “But we take such actions very seriously."  German intelligence services reportedly been enlisted to help identify the two men.  If they are found, they could face up to three years in prison in Germany, under strict laws which forbid Nazi symbols including the Hitler salute.  National Action is an openly neo-Nazi British organisation whose website shows masked men carrying swords, Nazi flags and banners proclaining “Hitler was right”.   The group claims to have several dozen members in the UK. The photograph was published on the Twitter feed of its regional branch in the north-west of England.  The branch’s Twitter bio reads: “Warm up the ovens, it’s time to get baked” - an apparent reference to the ovens in which the bodies of those murdered in the concentration camps were cremated. The North West branch of National Action's Twitter bio reads: 'Warm up the ovens, it’s time to get baked' The North West branch of National Action's Twitter bio reads: 'Warm up the ovens, it’s time to get baked' Credit: Twitter  An estimated 56,000 prisoners were murdered at Buchenwald by the Nazis. The site was not an extermination camp like Auschwitz.  Many prisoners died of starvation or as the result of Nazi medial experiments, while others were worked to death as slave labourers or executed by SS guards.  “Oy vey, such horrors,” National Action commented on the picture in its Twitter feed - in an apparent reference to the fact that many of the camp’s victims were Jewish. Remembering the horror of Auschwitz Play! An estimated 280,000 prisoners were held at Buchenwald, among them Poles, gypsies, homosexuals and mentally ill people as well as Jews.  They also included a number of British airmen who were captured hiding in civilian clothing after being shot down over France, Belgium and the Netherlands.  “The photograph staged by alleged British neo-Nazis in the crematorium cellar of Buchenwald is witness to a very specific criminal ideology,” Volkhard Knigge, the director of the Buchenwald memorial, said in a statement.  “The perpetrators openly profess Nazism and support for its mass murders. This is a serious dishonour to all the nearly 280,000 people held at Buchenwald, among whom there were also Britons.” Buchenwald concentration camp in Germany, where an estimated 280,000 prisoners were held Buchenwald concentration camp in Germany, where an estimated 280,000 prisoners were held Credit: Jens Meyer/AP  While German neo-Nazis sometimes defy the laws against the Hitler salute at their own events, it is extremely rare for anyone to risk performing it in one of the well-guarded former concentration camps.  “The likelihood of being caught doing the sort of thing seen in this photograph is pretty high,” Dr Knigge said.  “It therefore appears that the perpetrators did not act spontaneously, but had thought out and prepared what they did in advance.”  Twitter refused to comment on the photograph or say whether it would be taking any action against the National Action account.  "We don't comment on individual accounts for privacy and security reasons," Ian Plunkett, a spokesman for the company, said.