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War and Crime

In Reih und Glied stehende Häftlinge alle tragen sie die gleiche Zebrastreifen Häftlingskleidung und Mütze. Einige zeigen eine gerkümmte Körperhaltung oder schmerzverzerrte Gesichtsausdrücke.
Roma from Burgenland brought from Dachau concentration camp have to line up on the roll call square after their arrival at Buchenwald, September 27, 1939. Photo: Identification Service of Buchenwald concentration camp. ©International Court of Justice, The Hague
Men dressed in civilian clothes are lined up. They look visibly worried. A man in SS uniform stands in front of the men who are getting ready and speaks to them.
Polish men deported to Buchenwald stand in civilian clothes on the roll call square. Functional prisoners on the right, October 1939. Photo: Identification Service of Buchenwald Concentration Camp.

After the war began, some 8,500 men were sent to the Buchenwald Concentration Camp. Among them were hundreds of Czechs and Burgland Roma, over 2,000 Poles, and more than a thousand Viennese Jews. At the same time, the terror of the SS escalated. Random shootings increased. Over 3,000 Poles and Jews were crammed into a fenced-off special camp on the roll call square. Their treatment bore the traits of a planned mass murder. In early 1940, the SS murdered exhausted inmates for the first time by injection. Due to the increasing number of mortalities, the SS had a crematorium constructed next to the roll call square, which went into operation in the summer of 1940. Alone in this year, over 1,800 inmates died at the Buchenwald Concentration Camp.

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