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Buchenwald was one of the major Nazi concentration camps set up in 1937 at Buchenwald on the Ettersberg Hill near Weimar. It remained one of the major camps throughout the history of the Third Reich and one of the largest on German soil. It consisted of 130 satellite camps and units and althouhg not per se and extermination camp, Buchenwald was considered the worst of the camps before World War II where prisoners were starved, mistreated and worked to death in the camp quarry and adjancent factories.

Camp prisoners worked primarly as forced labor in local armament factories which included Jews, political prisoners, (communists, homsexuals, Jehovah's Witnesses and prisoner's of war. The first commandant of Buchenwald was an SS officer Koch and his infamous wife Ilse Koch known as the "Butcher of Buchenwald"). Both were known for their murderous rampage. Koch was later accused of fraud and theft, arrested by the SS and executed in Auschwitz. Ilse Koch was later put on trial at Dachau for crimes agaisnt humanity. She was found guilty and sentenced to life imprisonment but later committed suicide in her Bavarian cell in 1967.

The official goal of Buchenwald was the destruction of prisoners by work. Thousands of prisoners and inmates were murdered by work, torture, beatings or simply starvation and lack of hygiene, many died from typhus contamination. thousands more, especially Soviet POWs, were murdered in the infirmary by lethal injections and medical experiments. Buchenwald also held more than 10,000 Jews who were brought in 1938 and suffered far more than the non-Jews. The mass arrival of prisoners from death marches overwhelmed Buchenwald, among these included Shelomo Wiesel and his son Eliezer. In 1942, keeping with the general order, all Jewish prisoners with the exception of 200 building masons, were transferred to Auschwitz for extermination.

At the beginning of April 1945, as liberation drew near, the SS evacuated several thousand Jews. Some 25,000 people were killed during this forced evacuation form Buchenwald and its satellite camps. An undergroud movement took over the camp as the Germans left. American troops entered Buchenwald on April 11, 1945 liberating around 21,000 Jews. General George Patton, ordered the citizens of Weimar marched through the camp as the visit was filmed, these citizens witnessed the mass murders and corpses of thousands. Of the 238,380 prisoners the camp held, 43,045 had died or been murdered, not including 13,000 prisoners transferred to Auschwitz or other extermination camps.

The population of the surrounding area, especially those from Weimar were largely informed of the camp and knew of the atrocities. The SS keep the residents informed and the economy was connected with the camp as forced labor worked int the twon. Many profited at the expense of the inmates who were ill-treated and died from exhaustion. Only some of the responsible SS men, thirty-one with direct functions to inmates deaths were put on trial at a U.S. court in Dachau in 1947. Individual perpetrators like Ilse Koch was tried and convicted by Soviet or German courts.

Soruce: websites http//www.thirdreichruins.com/buchenwald.htm
"Buchenwald Memorial" Internet homepage at www.buchenwald.de/


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saferstein
Latest page update: made by saferstein , Jun 24 2008, 11:46 AM EDT (about this update About This Update saferstein Edited by saferstein

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