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Buchenwald - German Nazi concentration camp, Germany

October 27th, 2007 / / Links: Google Earth, Google Maps, Yahoo! Maps, Virtual Earth / Nearest places

Buchenwald concentration camp was a German Nazi concentration camp established on the Ettersberg (Etter Mountain) near Weimar, Thuringia, Germany, in July 1937, and one of the largest such camps on German soil. Camp prisoners worked primarily as slave labour in local armament factories. Inmates were Jews, political prisoners, religious prisoners, and prisoners of war. Up to 1942 the majority of the political prisoners consisted of communists, later the proportion of other political prisoners increased considerably. Among the prisoners were also writers, doctors, artists, former nobility, and an Italian Princess. They came from countries as varied as Russia, Poland, France, Germany, Austria, Czechoslovakia, Netherlands, Belgium, Norway, Denmark, Spanish Republic and Italy. Most of the political prisoners from the occupied countries were people of the resistance.

From 1945 to 1950, the camp was used by the Soviet occupation authorities.

Buchenwald (German: “beech forest”) was chosen as the name for the camp because the Nazi authorities were unwilling to name the facility after the Ettersburg (the keep) or Ettersberg (the mountain) because of the close ties of the location to Goethe, who was being idealized as “the embodiment of the German Spirit” (Verkörperung des deutschen Geistes). The Goethe Eiche (Goethe’s Oak) stood inside the camp’s perimeter. Similarly, the camp could not be named for another town nearby (Hottelstedt) because of administrative considerations (it would have resulted in a lower pay grade for the camp’s SS guards).[citation needed]

Between July 1937 and April 1945, some 250,000 people were incarcerated in Buchenwald by the Nazi regime, including 168 Western Allied POWs. One estimate places the number of deaths in Buchenwald at 56,000 (discussed further below).

During an American bombing raid on 24 August 1944 that was directed at a nearby armament factory, several bombs, including incendiaries, also fell on the camp, resulting in heavy casualties amongst the inmates.

[Source: Wikipedia]

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