Photo: Katharina Brand, Buchenwald Memorial

Camp gate

The wrought-iron camp gate made in early 1938 bears the inscription "Jedem das Seine". At the order of the camp commander, it was installed in such a way as to be readable from the inside. It was to be in plain view for the inmates standing on the roll call square at all times.

The inscription is based on "suum cuique", a Roman legal maxim dating back two millennia: "Iuris praecepta sunt haec: honeste vivere, alterum non laedere, suum cuique tribuere." – "The precepts of the law are these: To live honorably, not to injure another, to give each his due."

The SS interpreted "to give each his due" unequivocally as the right of the members of the "superior race" to humiliate and destroy others. They further emphasized this reading by having the gate painted white at regular intervals, and the inserted text red.

Within the context of comprehensive investigation and restoration measures, the original paint coating was replicated in early 2014 using pigments of the 1930s/40s. For many decades before the restoration, the gate was generally known to be olive green in colour.