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KL-Mittelbau-Dora

Article about: Initially a sub-camp of KL-Buchenwald, the site of Mittelbau-Dora gradually became an independent Konzentrationslager, eventually with its own compliment of approximately 40 sub-camps, follo

  1. #1
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    Default KL-Mittelbau-Dora

    Initially a sub-camp of KL-Buchenwald, the site of Mittelbau-Dora gradually became an independent Konzentrationslager, eventually with its own compliment of approximately 40 sub-camps, following the allied air attacks on the Peenemünde rocket facility during August 1943.

    Due to the increased allied air raids, the Nazis chose to move many of their weapons and munitions facilities to underground locations, such as the one at the Kohnstein near Nordhausen. The site had previously been used as a fuel storage facility for the Wehrmacht, but much work was required in order to prepare the tunnel complex for use as a rocket manufacturing plant. Initially, for the first several months, the slave labour prisoners were even housed within the tunnel system, as the construction of the future camp was yet to be deemed important enough to become a priority. The relentless drive towards producing the new wonder weapons was the only concern of the hierarchy.

    The Vergeltungswaffen (weapons of retaliation, or vengeance weapons as they are commonly referred to), were constructed within a massive tunnel complex, of which only 3-4% is actually accessible today. The entire system stretches some 20km, with some tunnel sections reaching a height of 30m.

    The Konzentrationslager was built later, with the first batches of prisoners finally being housed in external barracks during January 1944, when production of the A4, later known by the propaganda name V2, rockets went into production. Even by late spring of 1944, some inmates were still kept within the tunnel system.

    Upon completion of the manufacturing facilities, most of the prisoners were sent to the sub-camps to continue working on numerous underground projects, or were transported to camps in Poland where most were killed soon after. New prisoners, specially selected from throughout the Konzentrationslagers system, were transported to KL-Mittelbau-Dora to begin work on the manufacture of the new rockets.

    Of the 60,000 prisoners incarcerated at KL-Mittelbau-Dora, conservative estimates reckon at least 20,000 did not survive. The average population at the main camp was 15,000. By spring 1945, the Mittelbau-Dora camp system held over 40,000 prisoners, mostly from the Soviet Union, Poland and France, although many Jews also arrived at Mittelbau-Dora from May 1944 onwards.

    The camps were eventually vacated by the SS in early April 1945. Several thousand prisoners were transported to Bergen-Belsen by rail, with numerous other transports sending many other north to camps such as Ravensbrück and Sachsenhausen. The sub-camp at Aussenlager Boelcke-Kaserne, used from early 1945 as a camp for Mittelbau-Dora's sick and dying, was the site of thousands more victims, many of whom were sadly killed during an allied air attack on the Nordhausen area. The SS left very few prisoners at the main camp, with US troops finding only a few hundred present when they eventually liberated the camp on 11.4.1945. The Boelcke-Kaserne sub-camp however, was a different story, with more than 1,300 bodies found by American forces upon liberation.

    KL-Mittelbau-Dora had two Kommandants, initially Otto Förschner and latterly Richard Baer, who replaced Förschner in February 1945, after he and the SS fled KL-Auschwitz. Baer had been the final Kommandant at Auschwitz-I.
    Last edited by CARL; 03-02-2013 at 11:59 AM.
    Experienced guide and published author leading detailed study trips to the former KZ sites of Nazi Germany. Contact for further details.

    www.concentrationcamptours.com

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    "maka akaŋl oyate maŋi pi ki le, tuweŋi wíyópeya oki hi sni"

  2. #2
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    Default Re: KL-Mittelbau-Dora


    1. A display within the permanent exhibition building at KZ-Gedenkstätte Mittelbau-Dora. A primitive latrine from the tunnel complex.

    2. Aerial photograph taken in April 1945, shortly before the liberation of the camp. From left to right, the layout is as follows...A) Häftlingslager (prisoners camp), B) SS-Lager (SS camp), and C) Industrial zone (location of the tunnel complex and railway system).

    3. A view across a section of the former Häftlingslager, towards the main gate and entrance to the camp.
    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture MIT-EXH-4.jpg   MIT-EXH-14.jpg  

    VIEW TOWARDS CAMP GATE AREA.jpg  
    Experienced guide and published author leading detailed study trips to the former KZ sites of Nazi Germany. Contact for further details.

    www.concentrationcamptours.com

    www.concentrationcampmoney.com


    "maka akaŋl oyate maŋi pi ki le, tuweŋi wíyópeya oki hi sni"

  3. #3

    Default Re: KL-Mittelbau-Dora

    Thank you for posting this. I find it very interesting and educational, and also very sad to read.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: KL-Mittelbau-Dora



    1. One of the few original structures to remain at the site, the Krematorium.

    2. Appellplatz (roll call area). View showing the former muster area, with the narrow gauge railway tracks visible. To the rear, the post war memorial structure can be seen.

    3. SS-Lager (SS camp). This area has very few remains, due to the post war development of the area, which was used for farming.
    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture MIT-KRE-1.jpg   MIT-APP-3.jpg  

    MIT-SS-AREA-B.jpg  
    Experienced guide and published author leading detailed study trips to the former KZ sites of Nazi Germany. Contact for further details.

    www.concentrationcamptours.com

    www.concentrationcampmoney.com


    "maka akaŋl oyate maŋi pi ki le, tuweŋi wíyópeya oki hi sni"

  5. #5
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    Default Re: KL-Mittelbau-Dora


    1. For many years, this structure was erroneously labelled an SS/Gestapo torture chamber. Its actual purpose was an SS air raid shelter and watchtower, overlooking the entrance to the Häftlingslager.

    2. Industrial area. Part of the sewage treatment plant.

    3. Tunnel complex. The modern entrance to the access tunnel.
    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture MIT-SS-WATCH-D.jpg   MIT-SEW-B.jpg  

    MIT-TUN-ENTR-A.jpg  
    Experienced guide and published author leading detailed study trips to the former KZ sites of Nazi Germany. Contact for further details.

    www.concentrationcamptours.com

    www.concentrationcampmoney.com


    "maka akaŋl oyate maŋi pi ki le, tuweŋi wíyópeya oki hi sni"

  6. #6
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    Default Re: KL-Mittelbau-Dora


    1. Inside the modern access tunnel. The original entrances were blocked by the Soviets, following the division of Germany at the end of the war.

    2. Exhibition inside the original Tunnel B. A4/V2 rocket combustion engine.

    3. View inside chamber 45, initially used to hold prisoners. Later, the site of V1 rocket manufacture, remnants of which can be seen in the tunnel today.
    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture MIT-TUNB-B.jpg   MIT-TUNB-F.jpg  

    MIT-TUNB-Q.jpg  
    Experienced guide and published author leading detailed study trips to the former KZ sites of Nazi Germany. Contact for further details.

    www.concentrationcamptours.com

    www.concentrationcampmoney.com


    "maka akaŋl oyate maŋi pi ki le, tuweŋi wíyópeya oki hi sni"

  7. #7
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    Default Re: KL-Mittelbau-Dora

    Another very informative thread Carl, thank you for educating us all.

  8. #8

    Default Re: KL-Mittelbau-Dora

    Very well done. Also speaks to how the SS asserted itself in the final, most violent phases of the war and the agonies of the regime and its victims.
    damit, basta.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: KL-Mittelbau-Dora


    Thank you for your kind words gentlemen, I am glad that you find it of interest.

    Lagergefängnis (camp prison)

    Site of much suffering after its completion in 1944. In the early 1950's, the original structure was torn down to its brick foundations. Fortunately, enough remained to allow the display shown in the attachment, a reminder of the horrors that occurred here during the existence of the Konzentrationslager, when the building housed rooms where prisoners were tortured and murdered by the SS and Gestapo.
    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture MIT-BUNK-C.jpg  
    Experienced guide and published author leading detailed study trips to the former KZ sites of Nazi Germany. Contact for further details.

    www.concentrationcamptours.com

    www.concentrationcampmoney.com


    "maka akaŋl oyate maŋi pi ki le, tuweŋi wíyópeya oki hi sni"

  10. #10
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    Default Re: KL-Mittelbau-Dora


    Hinrichtungsstätte (execution site)

    Prisoners who showed any sign of resistance were often executed here, in a walled in depression hidden from the main camp area. A gallows with two nooses stood at this spot, although many prisoners were also shot. The number of victims who died here is unknown.
    Click to enlarge the picture Click to enlarge the picture MIT-EXEC+BUNK-B.jpg  
    Experienced guide and published author leading detailed study trips to the former KZ sites of Nazi Germany. Contact for further details.

    www.concentrationcamptours.com

    www.concentrationcampmoney.com


    "maka akaŋl oyate maŋi pi ki le, tuweŋi wíyópeya oki hi sni"

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