Mittelbau-Dora is a prototypical example of forced labour by concentration camp inmates, and thus of a new camp type within the National Socialist concentration camp system – a type not represented by other concentration camp memorials. Between 1943 and 1945, some 60,000 persons from nearly all the countries of Europe, above all the Soviet Union, Poland and France, were deported to the Harz Mountains as concentration camp inmates to perform forced labour for the German armament industry. One in three of them died.
Today Mittelbau-Dora is a European place of remembrance. By making the Mittelbau-Dora Concentration Camp Memorial an integral part of its memorial conception in 1999, the German federal government acknowledged the special national and international importance of this site. After decades of neglect, the memorial has meanwhile been thoroughly restructured in accordance with its historical significance. The core of the new concept was the construction of a new Mittelbau-Dora museum, which was inaugurated in 2005 on the sixtieth anniversary of the camp’s liberation. Since September 2006 it has housed a permanent exhibition on the camp history which presents Mittelbau-Dora as a paradigm of forced labour by concentration camp inmates.