Additional information

The GDR Memorial
A description of the current state of the GDR Memorial can be found here.

Memorial re-design
Information about the post-1990 re-design of the memorial can be found here.

Monuments and commemorative installations
Information regarding commemorative sites throughout the former camp grounds can be found here.


"Oath of Buchenwald" (German version)
Proclaimed by the liberated survivors on April 19, 1945.
PDF (538 KB)


Photo: Naomi Tereza Salmon

The exhibition building

next to the GDR Memorial


Photo: Claus Bach

In the exhibition

Designs by Fritz Cremer for the sculpture at the GDR Buchenwald Memorial


Photo: Claus Bach

The former East Germany

The five principles of memorialization and remembrance of Buchenwald in the former East Germany

The History of the Buchenwald Memorial

A permanent exhibition on the history of the Buchenwald Memorial from 1945 until its redesign in the 1990s is located near the GDR Memorial. This exhibition is housed in a building dating from the 1970s which has since been renovated and expanded for the purpose. Covering approximately 300 square metres, the exhibition includes documents, photographs, objects and models that illuminate how the concentration camp was memorialized in the years after the war. The exhibition, which opened in 1999, is based primarily on material drawn from the archives of the former East Germany.

The exhibition is divided into the following sections:

After the Liberation

In view of the crimes / Showing the crimes - The international public / Buchenwald and the Germans / Interments and commemorations / Political activities / Initial inmates' reports

From Monument in Weimar to Memorial Grove on the Ettersberg

The first memorial proposal / The counter project / The forgotten camp cemetery. "Memorial to the Unknown Victims of Fascism" / SED (Socialist Unity Party of Germany) investigations against the "red kapos" / Incriminations from the West / "Memorial to the Resistance Movement" in Weimar / Sluggish restoration of the camp cemetery. The SED calls for a memorial proposal / The Buchenwald Committee project is discontinued


Excluded memories / Disciplined and condemned comrades

From Buchenwald Committee Memorial to National GDR Memorial

The Buchenwald National Museum / The Soviet authorities turn the camp over to the GDR / The demolition of the barracks / Afforestation projects / Protests against the demolition / Deliberations concerning an international memorial competition / The restricted memorial competitions of the VVN (Association of the Victims of Nazi Persecution) / Winner of first place in the "Memorial Grove" competition / Other competition entries / Designs for a Thalmann Memorial in the crematorium / "Museum of the Resistance Movement" / The designing of the camp grounds / The compulsory dissolution of the VVN / The nationalization of the memorial project / The reactivation of the competition winners / Changes in the memorial / The construction process / The memorial as a national work of reconstruction / The stele path / The tower of freedom / Preparations for the inauguration

Leitmotifs of Commemoration in Buchenwald

The Oath of Buchenwald / The Self-Liberation / Ernst Thalmann / The Goethe Oak / “Naked Among Wolves”

Commemoration in West Germany

Neuengamme / Dachau

The National Buchenwald Memorial in the GDR


The New Conception