The Final Months of the Buchenwald and Mittelbau-Dora Concentration Camps

Starting in January, the blog #otd1945 (“on this day 1945”) will take a day-by-day look at what was going on in the Buchenwald and Mittelbau-Dora concentration camps 76 years ago.

In early 1945, many concentration camp inmates hoped liberation was well on its way. They knew it was merely a matter of time before Germany lost the war. But the killing in the camps and the forced labour venues did not let up. On the contrary, it escalated.

The situations of the German public and the concentration camp inmates could hardly have been more different. Whereas the former carried on, joined in, or simply looked the other way, the latter struggled for sheer survival under the disastrous conditions in the overcrowded camps.

The mass deaths did not end with the liberation of the Buchenwald and Mittelbau-Dora camps on 11 April. Many of the inmates who had been forced to set out on death marches remained in captivity until the German surrender on 8 May. And even afterwards, inmates continued to die of the consequences of concentration camp imprisonment.