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After Liberation

A man lying on a stretcher, wrapped in a blanket, is loaded into a van. A soldier with a medic's sign guides the stretcher. In the background are members of the U.S. Army and liberated prisoners.
Members of the 120th Evacuation Hospital transfer sick people from the Little Camp to the SS barracks, 17.4.1945. Photo: U.S. Army Signal Corps.
Residents of Weimar during the tour of Buchenwald concentration camp ordered by the Americans in the courtyard of the crematorium in front of a truck trailer loaded with corpses. To the left of the trailer, wearing a steel helmet and light-colored jacket, the American commander Lorenz Schmuhl.
In the courtyard of the crematorium, US soldiers and liberated inmates confront Weimar citizens with the bodies found there, 16 April 1945. Photo: Walter Chichersky. ©National Archives, Washington
Liberated children and juvenile prisoners of Buchenwald concentration camp at Weimar Central Station in the carriage of a train to Ecoui. Josek Dziubak writes the inscription "Where are our parents? You murderers".
Departure of liberated children and youth from Weimar train station to France. Inscription on the wagon: "Where are our parents? Their murderer", June 1st, 1945. Photo: Unknown photographer.

Two days after liberation, the International Camp Committee passed control of the camp over to the U.S. Army. Despite emergency medical care, hundreds of former inmates died in the Displaced Persons Camp Buchenwald, as the camp was now called. The Americans confronted the population of Weimar with the crimes committed and opened Buchenwald for international delegations. Films and photographs of the camp spread across the world. The first memorial ceremony for those who died in the camp took place on April 19, 1945. Survivors read an oath of commitment to a world of peace and freedom, the "Oath of Buchenwald." While still in the camp, former inmates drew up initial documents for the creation of a democratic Germany as well as the "Manifesto of the Democratic Socialists of the former Buchenwald Concentration Camp." Survivors left the camp in groups through August. The U.S. troops had withdrawn from Thuringia in July, handing the camp over to the Soviet military administration.

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