Additional information

Commemorative site
A plaque commemorating Ernst Thälmann can be found here.

Digital Photo Archive 
Photos taken after the air raid of August 1944 can be found here.

Inmates in the Little Camp, June 1944. This quarantine zone is separated from the rest of the camp by barbed wire. The accommodations here consist of windowless stable barracks (back left) and tents (back centre). Photo: Georges Angéli. SGBuMD



The German security police deport 348 Norwegian students of the University of Oslo to Buchenwald.


In the "Dora" subcamp, SS doctors select 1,888 enfeebled inmates and have them transferred to the Majdanek concentration camp.


Half of the camp's 42,000 inmates are forced to work for the war economy in the 22 Buchenwald subcamps.


A transport of Sinti and Roma, among them many adolescents, arrives from Auschwitz. The SS transfer 1,000 enfeebled inmates from the "Dora" subcamp to the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp.


According to data collected by the SS, 81 per cent of the inmates in the parent camp are chronically undernourished - that is, 18,990 of 21,500. One in ten suffers from active tuberculosis.

May to July

8,000 Hungarian Jews are withdrawn from the extermination process in Auschwitz and transported to Buchenwald, where they are worked to death in the subcamps.

15 August

Owing to the evacuation of camps in the West that are close to the front or have been dissolved, the Buchenwald parent camp is overcrowded: its population has increased to 31,491. Thousands are lodged in tents or have no roof over their heads whatsoever. In the subcamps, meanwhile numbering 64, there are a further 43,500 inmates.


In the framework of the "Gitter"/"Gewitter" arrest campaign in response to an attempt on Hitler's life, the Gestapo commit 742 former members of parties of the Weimar Republic to the camp.

18 August

The chairman of the German Communist Party, Ernst Thälmann, is shot to death in the crematorium.

20 August

169 Allied airmen who have been shot down over France arrive on a transport from Paris and are committed to the Little Camp, where they remain until October.

24 August

Allied bombers attack the armaments works and SS facilities located near the parent camp and largely destroy them. Because the inmates are forced to remain near the factory during the air raid, 2,000 of them are injured and 388 killed.

28 August

74 Jewish women and children leave the Hugo-Schneider AG subcamp in Leipzig on an extermination transport to Auschwitz.


The Buchenwald SS take charge of subcamps formerly under the administration of the Ravensbrück concentration camp. As a result, the camp population now includes thousands of women inmates.

26 September

The SS send 200 adolescent Sinti and Roma to Auschwitz to be murdered.

End of September / beginning of October

1,953 Danish police officers are brought to Buchenwald. 60 of them die in the Little Camp.

6 October

Following a selection of enfeebled Jewish inmates of the Braunkohle-Benzin AG company subcamps in Rehmsdorf and Magdeburg, the SS send 1,188 Jews to Auschwitz for extermination. Until December further extermination transports from other subcamps follow, taking Jewish men, women and children as well as Sinti and Roma to their deaths.

9/10 October

The first condemned soldiers are transferred from Wehrmacht prisons to the Buchenwald concentration camp for forced labour. This new inmate group is designated "Temporary Detention II".

End of October

The "Dora" subcamp and its external detachments become an independent concentration camp called Mittelbau.


Through the dissolution of the forced labour camps in Częstochowa and Piotrków and the Płaszów concentration camp, the number of Jewish inmates increases to 15,500 by year-end.


At the end of 1944, 63,048 men and 24,210 women are in custody in Buchenwald and its subcamps; more than a third of them are under 21 years of age. 9,468 inmates have died over the course of the year.

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