Mass executions at Buchenwald

Buchenwald: a reminder of Weimar’s somber past

Both Nazis and Soviets killed prisoners there


Herald Staff Writer

BUCHENWALD, Germany — Its name can be translated as Beechwood Forest, and many majestic trees of this species still stand on the surrounding areas. But its history can’t be told without revulsion.

A visit to this notorious concentration camp is a must for anyone taking a trip to nearby Weimar, Europe’s Cultural Capital for 1999. Buchenwald not only was one of Hitler’s camps set up to exterminate Jews and Gypsies (1937-1945) …


At the beginning of 1945, 100,000 prisoners were incarcerated here, making Buchenwald the largest in the German prison-camp system. But nonstop executions and the relentless transportation of men, women and children to death camps elsewhere reduced the numbers dramatically. On the day of liberation, April 11, 1945, only 21,000 prisoners remained in the camp. Many were barely alive.


This two-level, L-shaped building is not large. Downstairs is a room outfitted with large iron hooks, where bodies of those strangled or poisoned once hung. The bodies would then be placed on a large dumbwaiter-like lift to be taken upstairs to the ovens.


Copyright 1999 Miami Herald