In 1937, the SS has a concentration camp built just a few kilometres from Weimar, the city of German Classicism. The camp’s name – “Buchenwald” – becomes a synonym for the Nazi crimes.
In August 1945, the Soviet occupying power converts the main section of the former concentration camp into a “special camp”. Primarily local Nazi party functionaries, but also adolescents and victims of denunciation are interned there.
In 1958 the GDR builds a memorial complex visible far and wide. Its monumentality is intended to reflect the extent of the crimes, but it serves first and foremost as a national memorial.
After the end of the GDR, the memorial is restructured; it now also serves to commemorate the fates of other victim groups. Within this framework, new permanent exhibitions are developed.