On the grounds of the former Buchenwald Concentration Camp are dumps dating back to the period of the camp’s operation or the time of its demolition in the early 1950s. A number of these dumps have been systematically excavated since the mid 1990s. Within the framework of a project funded by the German Research Foundation, the objects unearthed in that context have been studied and digitally catalogued.
The Buchenwald and Mittelbau-Dora Memorials Foundation today has a collection of more than ten thousand such objects.
The majority of them are simple items of everyday use in the camp, frequently fashioned by the inmates themselves in makeshift manner from bits and pieces of found materials and used over and over again:
improvised toiletries, parts of cutlery and dishes – often bearing initials, inmates’ numbers or engravings –, factory and identification tags, but also jewellery and game items, religious objects and various evidence of forced labour and armament production.
In the exhibition, examples of material evidence of this kind are grouped and presented in connection with the issues they raise and the events and stories associated with them.