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Historical Sites of the Concentratoin Camp

Prisoner camp, SS area, armament factory and mass graves

Prisoners in striped clothing laying tracks on an embankment made of earth with simple tools. In the background, SS members supervise the construction.

Rail Line between Weimar and Buchenwald Buchenwald Rail Line

The SS used the 10-km rail line beginning in 1944 to transport prisoners from throughout Europe. The rail line was also used for death transports to Auschwitz.

Members of the SS Kraftfahr-Ausbildungs und-Ersatz-Abteilung drive trucks and buses along the Blutstraße to the swearing-in ceremony in Weimar. In between, a few motorcycles. Next to the road runs a power line.

Blood Road Road Access to Weimar

The so-called "Blood Street" (Blutstraße) was the 5-km-long access road to the Buchenwald concentration camp, which was built by inmates. Beginning in mid 1938, prisoners were forced to turn an old wooded road into a broad, concrete street.

On the right, three rows of SS men stand in rank and file on an area of gravel. On the left, an officer stands at the edge of the platform. At the rear left, one can make out an arriving train.

Buchenwald Station Connection to Satellite Camps and Deportation Sites

Beginning in 1944, Buchenwald railway station was a transit point for some 100,000 inmates from throughout Europe, a departure station for death transports to Auschwitz, and the destination of evacuation transports from other camps.

Buchenwald Railway siding at the Gustloff Works II. Inmates working in the background. The two-part roof of a large hall under construction can be seen from the plant. Construction material is piled up in various places.

Armament Factory Forced Labour for the German Weapons Industry

In 1942/43, inmates were forced to construct a provisional arms factory within less than a year one hundred metres in front of the entry to the camp, along the Blood Road. The complex had thirteen production halls, and it was rented by the SS to the...

Carvings on the gable of Villa Koch with the inscription "House Buchenwald". Right, left, and above three each a carved imp with musical instrument.

SS Commander Settlement On the south side of the Ettersberg

In close proximity to the camp on the sunny side of Ettersberg Mountain, protected from the wind, stood the ten villas of the camp's SS commanding officers and their families.

The falconer, SS-Scharführer Horst Mauersberger, during a demonstration of a golden eagle at Falkenhof Buchenwald. The bird is sitting on the falconer's glove and has spread its wings. In the background the chimney hall.

SS Falconry Special detention center for French government members

By the orders of SS leader Heinrich Himmler, a falconry was built on the southern side of Ettersberg Mountain in 1938. From 1943 onward, the falconer's lodge was used by the SS to detain special prisonsers.

View of the SS Totenkopf Standarte 14 lined up on the parade ground in front of the Hundertschaftskasernen.

SS Casern SS location Buchenwald

The core of the SS area at Buchenwald was formed by parade ground bordered by twelve barracks, which were organized in a semicircle. With living quarters for several thousand SS soldiers, Buchenwald was one of the most important bases for the Waffen SS...

Path between the wall and the isolation hut. Both are about the same height. A ladder leads to the roof of the barrack. The wall is covered with barbed wire. The path ends at another wall.

Isolation Tract Next to the Fichtenhain special camp

Surrounded by a wall, the so-called isolation tract was a separate set of barracks in the SS complex. This is where the SS held prominent "special prisoners" separately from other inmates.

View of the quarry. It runs terraced ascending. In the foreground a small hut. In the background: Waffen SS barracks above the quarry. In the center: Ramp with lorry tracks. To the right and left: prisoners at work.

Quarry place of terror and murder

In a limestone quarry nearby the camp, inmates were forced to mine material for the construction of the camp and the paving of paths and streets, thereby undergoing the most extreme physical tortures.

Signpost "Caracho Way". Above the writing is a carved group of figures on the run, driven by an SS man.

Caracho Path The way to the camp

The street leading from the headquarters complex to the gate of the camp was called "Caracho Path", a name deliberately chosen by the SS.

View from the camp gate across Carachoweg to the building of the camp commandant's office and adjutant's office. The building consists of two flat-built wings and a smaller central section with two floors.

Camp Headquarters Administration of Terror

Within the camp complex, the central organizations responsible for administering the terror were located on either side of Caracho Path.

Two prisoners at archival work in the office of the recognition service photographed diagonally from behind. On the right, presumably the prisoner Karl Siebeneichler dressed in white. On the left, another prisoner dressed in black.

Political Division “Protective Custody” and Torture

Across from the commander’s offices was the "Political Division," a branch of the Gestapo. This organization maintained inmate files and was responsible for interrogations.

A hand-carved signpost with the inscription "Zool. Garten Buchenwald" (Zoological Garden), with animal figures above the lettering: a monkey, two bears and a wild boar.

Zoological Garden Bear enclosure

The Buchenwald zoo provided recreational amusement for the SS and encompassed an area bordering the gates of the camp. It bears witness to the extreme contrast between the lives of those belonging to the so-called "Volksgemeinschaft" (people's...

The carpentry building stretches from the front right to the back left. In front of the building runs a dirt road on which, on the right, a group of prisoners is unloading a Karen with boards. To the left, a prisoner carries a bucket to the building.

DAW Forced labor for the Wehrmacht

The Deutschen Ausrüstungswerke (DAW) was a company run by the SS, which used concentration camp inmates as forced labour to supply the war needs of the German Reich.

On the left, the post path runs straight along the camp fence. Guard towers can be seen at regular intervals along the path. On the right side of the picture, a gate in the camp fence, provisionally closed with wooden boards, can be seen. The fence consists of high posts that are bent inward at the top, into the camp. Barbed wires are stretched between them.

Camp Fence and Watchtowers Insurmountable limit

For the inmates, the electronic fence was an insurmountable obstacle. It encircled the camp, running three kilometres in length. Outside the camp, there were twenty-three massive watchtowers spaced 100 metres apart.

In front on the left is the detention cell building in the right wing of the gate building. In the center is the main watchtower above the camp gate. Behind it is the left wing of the gate building.

Detention Cell Building Camp Jail

The building containing the detention cells, or "Bunker" as it was known in the camp, was situated in the left wing of the entry building. It was the camp jail and its most awful torture site.

View through the camp gate at the inscription "To each his own". Behind the gate American soldiers and former prisoners.

Gate Building "Jedem das Seine"

At the end of Caracho Path was the entry gate with a wrought iron inscription, legible only from within: "To each his own."

 Aerial view of the prisoners' area of Buchenwald concentration camp. The barracks stand in five rows of 5 buildings each, plus other functional buildings around them. The road from the outside to the camp gate is also lined with buildings. Most of the surrounding area is wooded. Fields are also visible.

Inmates Camp Wooden barracks, horse stables and tents

Beneath the area reserved for the SS, inmates were forced to build their own terraced camp on the northern sloping terrain of Ettersberg Mountain. This complex of barracks had over 60 housing structures and encompassed 40 hectares.

Prisoners of Buchenwald concentration camp lined up in blocks for roll call. There are thousands of them. Individual faces are barely recognizable In the background, the camp barracks.

Roll Call Square For thousands of prisoners

Situated between the camp gate and the barracks, the 20,000-square-metre roll call area was the central square of the camp. The machine guns mounted on the watchtowers ensured that it was guarded; loudspeakers drenched it in sound; and flood lights...

Building of the prisoners' canteen. In the background, on the left and right, watchtowers No. 2 and 3. The camp fence runs between them. The area in front of it is also interrupted by smaller fences.

Inmate's Canteen Source of income for the SS

The inmates' canteen was officially a store where inmates could supposedly buy everything they needed. In fact, it was actually a means for the SS to squeeze additional money out of the inmates and their families.

A group of Jewish prisoners in civilian clothes stands in rows of 7 on the roll call square. All heads are shaved. On the right in the picture SS men. In the background, prisoners of the barber work command shave the heads of the newly admitted prisoners.

Special Camp for the November Pogrom After the 9th/10th Nov. 1938

Next to the roll call square, the SS had a fenced-off special area constructed in 1938, the special pogrom camp. Into this area they crammed 9,845 Jewish men, whom the Gestapo had abducted to Buchenwald after the anti-Jewish pogroms of November 9, 1938.

A group of prisoners in civilian clothes is standing on the roll call square. In front of them a uniformed man. Photo from front left.

Special Camp for Jewish and Polish Inmates Winter 1939/40

A special fenced-off area on the eastern edge of roll call square was the site of the first mass murder at Buchenwald in the winter of 1939/40, which was perpetrated through targeted neglect.

 The crematorium building from the outside. The brick chimney rises in the center of the picture.

Crematorium Built on the model of waste incinerators

In order to make the increasing number of dead disappear without witnesses, the SS opened a camp crematorium in mid-1940. They also used one of the basement rooms as an execution site.

Building of the prisoners' laundry. A long, two-story building of the simplest architecture with a high gable roof. In the foreground the leafless Goethe oak.

Goethe Oak self-assertion

At the time the camp was constructed, the SS left a "German" oak standing, which was under natural protection. On old maps the tree was marked as the "fat oak."

The disinfection building from the outside. A simple, flat building. Two entrances can be seen. A smaller one on the left behind a fence, one on the right in front.

Disinfection For newly admitted prisoners

Every transport train with prisoners could also bring typhus or dysentery to Buchenwald. Consequently, the disinfection building had to be passed through by every prisoner.

Exterior view of the chamber building. The building is, long, has three floors with small windows, and a high gable roof. On the right side of the picture a double-sided staircase marks the entrance to the building

Storage Depot The largest building in the camp

The civilian clothes and belongings of the prisoners were kept in the so-called chambers – and bowls, clogs and prisoner uniforms were handed out.

View of a two-story stone barracks, which is separately fenced. In the foreground of the picture, a wooden access gate can be seen between two stone pillars. To the left of it is a smaller one for people.

Hygiene Institute of the Waffen SS Cooperation with pharmaceutical companies

In Blocks 46 and 50, SS doctors performed vaccine research together with pharmaceutical companies and medical institutes. Over a thousand inmates were misused as test subjects; many of them died tortuous deaths.

Simon Toncman standing in front on the right, undressed. He holds a jacket in front of the lower half of his body. To the left, other prisoners are lying in shelf-like scaffolding. All are looking into the camera. The men are, as far as can be seen, completely emaciated. Some are wrapped in thin blankets and use metal bowls as headrests.

The Little Camp Quarantine and death zone

In 1943, the SS set up an improvised quarantine zone on the northern edge of the camp, below the stone barracks. The numerous satellite camps in Buchenwald were to be supplied with workers from there.

Ten underage prisoners in convict clothes sit on the floor. Some are looking directly at the camera. Behind them, the legs of three adult prisoners can be seen standing behind the children. The floor consists of dry, crumbly earth and rubble.

Block 66 - The Children's Block protection for young people

In January 1945, a children's block was set up at Barracks 66 at the lower end of the Little Camp. This place ended up sparing the lives of hundreds of young people and children.

View of Block 61 of the Small Camp. In the background, surviving prisoners in sleeping boxes 11 to 15. These are wooden shelves with four shelves, in which people lie close together with thin blankets. In front of them is an empty wooden table. A liberated prisoner in a long shirt stands next to it

Block 61 murder of the sick

The SS set up an epidemic station in early 1945 in the barracks of the Little Camp. At the same time, Block 61 became the site of targeted mass murder. Inmates later called it the "death block."

View of the so-called Sonderbau, a simple wooden barracks in which the SS had set up the camp brothel. From the inside, curtains are halfway up the windows.

Camp Brothel Forced Sex Labor

Beginning in July 1943, the SS forced female inmates from the women's concentration camp in Ravensbrück to work as prostitutes in the camp brothel. By the cynical calculations of the SS, the sexual exploitation of the women would increase the work...

The picture shows the garden of the prisoner infirmary with flower beds, benches and branched paths. In the background, the long low building of the prisoners' hospital can be seen. In front of it are isolated nursing staff with white jackets.

Inmate Hospital Medical aid and murder site

The hospital, also known as the "precinct," was the camp infirmary. It did not just provide medical care to inmates; here, SS doctors also murdered numerous inmates on their own accord by injection.

View from watchtower 3 over the rows of barracks of Buchenwald Concentration Camp from west to east. In the foreground, Block 1 can be seen on the right, Block 7 below it, and Block 13 of the Soviet POW camp on the far left. People are walking between the barracks. Broken furniture and other debris are piled up at the front edge of the picture.

Special Camp for Soviet Prisoners of War After the invasion of the Soviet Union

The SS built a special camp for Soviet military prisoners in October 1941 on the western edge of the prison camp.

Exterior view of the horse stable, which housed the neck-shooting facility. It is an elongated two-story building.

Horse Stable / Execution Facility Between 1941 and 1944

A repurposed horse stable was the site of the largest mass murder in Buchenwald. Here, the SS installed a contraption used to murder over 8,000 Soviet prisoners of war between 1941 and 1944 by a shot to the neck.

A green overgrown earthen funnel in the forest. On the left a slope leads up to a tree and plain railing

Ashen Grave Below the SS Falcon Court

A sinkhole on the southern slopes of Ettersberg Mountain became the largest mass grave of the Buchenwald concentration camp between 1944 and 1945.

Stacked bodies of deceased prisoners in an open mass grave south of the Bismarck Tower. The human figures are intertwined and hardly distinguishable.

Mass Graves Below the former Bismarck tower

Between March and April 1945, the sinkholes became the mass grave of 2,900 deceased inmates, whose bodies could not be burned due to a lack of fuel for the crematorium.

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