A liberated Belgian inmate in the Boelcke Casern concentration subcamp, 11 April 1945, detail. Photo: NARA, College Park, MD.


The majority of the Mittelbau camps were completely vacated. Only a few small camps with populations consisting solely of Italian prisoners of war were not “evacuated”. The SS moreover left several hundred sick and dying inmates behind in the Dora camp and the Boelcke casern. They were liberated on 11 April 1945 when American troops marched into Nordhausen.

On the days that followed, American war correspondents took photos and films of the enfeebled and starving inmates in Dora and the Boelcke casern – images that soon went around the world and are today among the most well-known testimonies to the Nazi crimes.

For the most part, the survivors of the clearance transports and death marches were liberated in the casern camp of the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp and in other camps in mid April 1945. However, a number of survivors remained in the hands of their tormentors, not to be liberated until early May 1945 in Mecklenburg and Austria.