Buchenwald and Mittelbau-Dora
Phone: +49 (0)3643 430 0
Fax: +49 (0)3643 430 100
Mittelbau-Dora Concentration Camp Memorial
Phone: +49 (0)3631 495 80
Fax: +49 (0)3631/495 813
Phone: +49 (0)3643 4300
Fax: +49 (0)3643 430 100
Administration and aims
The Mittelbau-Dora Concentration Camp Memorial is operated by the Buchenwald and Mittelbau-Dora Memorials Foundation, and financed in equal shares by the Free State of Thuringia and the German federal government. As defined by the foundation law of 2003, the purpose of the foundation is “to preserve the memorials as places of mourning and remembrance of the crimes committed there, to design and landscape them in keeping with scholarly findings, and to make them accessible to the public in a suitable manner, as well as to promote the investigation and communication of the associated historical events”.
The permanent exhibition on the camp history and changing special exhibitions as well as an extensive information pool provide memorial visitors with many different forms of access to the history of Mittelbau-Dora Concentration Camp. Information plaques on the former camp grounds indicate the locations of structural relics and explain their former uses. The wide array of educational offers ranges from guided tours for groups to projects and seminars conducted over several days.
With regard to content, the memorial work is based on studies carried out at universities as well as application-oriented research by the memorial staff. The aim of this work is the critical examination of the crimes committed at Mittelbau-Dora, crimes which ‒ owing not least of all to the dense network of subcamps – were carried out publicly. Among the major issues of concern here are the integration of the camps in the surrounding society and the motivation structure of perpetration and complicity, as well as critical inquiry into the rationalization patterns of the post-war period.
Areas of the tunnel system in which the concentration camp inmates were held captive and forced to work are accessible within the framework of guided tours, and provide memorial visitors with an impression of what forced labour in the tunnels meant. At the same time, they also point to a further special feature of Mittelbau-Dora. The construction of the underground “Mittelwerk” factory was the first project undertaken by the Nazis in the ludicrous endeavour to relocate the entire German armament industry to underground locations. The Mittelwerk served all of the other underground projects embarked on in the final year of the war as a model. Finally, the forced labour performed by concentration camp inmates in the production of rockets which, as so-called “retaliation weapons” ‒ caused considerable damage and thousands of deaths in England and Belgium, raises questions about the responsibility of the engineers and technicians involved. The history of Mittelbau-Dora shows the possible consequences of objective, ostensibly apolitical activities of scientists and engineers.