Additional information

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Aerial view of the memorial complex, 1958. Photo: SGBuMD

The National GDR Memorial

In 1958, in the vicinity of the concentration camp’s mass graves on the south slope of the Ettersberg, the GDR builds a memorial complex which is visible far and wide. Its monumentality is intended to reflect the extent of the crimes, but it serves first and foremost as a national memorial. Its chief focus is the German Communist members of the resistance. Their history is to serve as a legitimation of the SED’s (Socialist Unity Party’s) claim to leadership in the GDR. The "Nationale Mahn- und Gedenkstätte Buchenwald" ("National Buchenwald Memorial") is expanded to become the largest German concentration camp memorial, complete with exhibitions, an archive and a library.