Buchenwald Concentration Camp

Buchenwald Concentration Camp

PLACE

The Buchenwald concentration camp was one of the largest camp systems in Germany. Until the end of 1943, only men were imprisoned in the camp complex. These men were largely from political or royal backgrounds and came from the countries invaded by the Nazi army. Buchenwald was not an extermination camp fit with gas chambers and large crematoriums. This camp killed inmates through starvation, forced labor, medical experiments, lethal injections, and hangings. As the Russian Army invaded from the east, Buchenwald's numbers swelled with an oncoming tide of prisoners being evacuated from camps like Auschwitz and Dachau. Thousands died in the last months of this camp's operation due to the lack of food, water, and the sheer number of individuals interned behind the barbed wire. This large camp complex held many famous politicians, but also held individuals from all across Europe who were imprisoned for the very reason that they lived.

Dr. Harold Herbst Describes meeting a prisoner on the verge of death (known as a "Muselmann") in Buchenwald [1992 interview]

    “One of the most memorable parts of that particular time that I walked through these barracks and walked around barracks, I was walking to the back of the barracks just to see what was back there. And as I walked by a little window that probably was one foot square or thereabouts, I heard a voice and I turned around and I saw a living skeleton talk to me...was talking to me, and he said, "Thank God the Americans have come." And that was a funny feeling. Did you ever talk to a skeleton that talked back? And that's what you...what I was doing. And later on I saw mounds of these living...I mean, these skeletons that the Germans left behind them.”

    Source: United States Holocaust Museum; http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/media_oi.php?lang=en&ModuleId=10005198&MediaId=1141


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    Created:
    August 5, 2009
    Modified:
    December 28, 2009
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