A Microcosm of Nazi Camp Terror

During the war, people from all over Europe were deported to Germany to perform forced labour. The Mittelbau-Dora subcamp founded on 8 January is a representative example of how the deadly system of various camp types operated.

The subcamp was situated on the grounds of the Boelcke-Kaserne in the middle of the town of Nordhausen. Starting in 1943, the former casern had gradually filled up with different camps. Initially, five barracks were built here for Soviet and French prisoners of war. They were followed in the spring of 1944 by 6,000 forced labourers of the Junkers company, who were crowded into former soldiers’ lodgings far too small to accommodate them.

In the fall and winter of 1944, the Gestapo set up two terror facilities on the grounds: a prison and a penal camp for forced labourers. Finally, in January 1945 the concentration camp came to the Boelcke-Kaserne: as many as 6,000 inmates at a time were lodged in two vehicle depots. The components of the Nazi camp terror system merged to form a whole.

(Karsten Uhl)

Literatur: Jens-Christian Wagner, “Die Apotheose des Lagerterrors: Die Boelcke-Kaserne in Nordhausen (1944/45)”, in Sowi 29 (2000), no. 3, pp. 152–158.