"Goethe Oak"

An old oak tree that bore the status of a protected natural monument was left standing by the SS on the Buchenwald grounds when the camp was constructed. In commemoration of Goethe’s frequent visits to the Ettersberg, it is known to have been referred to by the inmates as the “Goethe Oak” from 1938 onward. When the SS had the tree felled in 1944, the Dutch inmate and member of the resistance Nico Pols took a small chip of the wood, which he kept on his desk for the rest of his life. In 2006, his wife gave the fragment of the “Goethe Oak” to the memorial along with other mementos.