In keeping with a GDR government resolution, construction of the “Nationale Mahn- und Gedenkstätte Buchenwald” ("National Buchenwald Memorial") got underway in 1954. By 1958, a monumental national memorial had been erected on the south slope of the Ettersberg. Three mass graves were incorporated into the design. The complex was conceived in such a way as to guide the visitors along a path from death to life: beginning at the crematorium and leading through the camp, the path then descends to the graves, and finally ascends to the bell tower as a symbol of freedom and light. The German Communist members of the resistance are the central element.