Dwight D. Eisenhower (centre) in front of a grid the SS had fashioned from railway tracks for the purpose of burning the corpses of dead inmates from the mass graves, April 12, 1945. Photo: Moore, U.S. Signal Corps. National Archives Washington

On April 4, 1945, units of the 3rd U.S. Army reached the almost completely evacuated camp and found countless dead. Meyer Levin, one of the first soldiers in Ohrdruf, wrote in his memoirs:

“We had known. The world had vaguely heard. But until now no one of us had looked on this. Even this morning we had not imagined we would look on this. It was as though we had penetrated at last to the very center of the black heart, to the crawling inside of the vicious heart. … Now we knew. Nothing afterward told us more. Bergen Belsen, Dachau - we became specialists.”

Dwight D. Eisenhower, supreme commander of the Allied forces, visited the camp on April 12, 1945. He wrote:

“I have never felt able to describe my emotional reactions when I first came face to face with indisputable evidence of Nazi brutality and ruthless disregard of every shred of decency. Up to that time I had known about it only generally or through secondary sources. I am certain, however, that I have never at any other time experienced an equal sense of shock.”

The military training area was taken over by the Soviet army in July 1945, and the North Camp was razed to the ground. Two commemorative stones erected in this period pay tribute to the dead. In 1993 the Federal Republic of Germany took charge of the grounds.