View of a watchtower and the camp fence at the Buchenwald subcamp Ohrdruf (North Camp), April 8, 1945. Photo: ACME Newspictures. National Archives Washington

The Ohrdruf Subcamp

The barracks had already been built in 1940 for Wehrmacht troops carrying out drills there; the improvised camp fence and wooden watchtowers were erected in November 1944. The spruce trees were planted with the intention of someday concealing the site from view. Ohrdruf (code name: S III), a subcamp of Buchenwald, was the first concentration camp to be liberated by the Western Allied troops in 1945. The photos of the emaciated, burnt and bullet-ridden bodies of inmates found by the shocked soldiers of the 3rd U.S. Army still shape our image of the National Socialist crimes to this day.