Gestapo Murders Shortly before the Liberation

On the evening of 4 April 1945, the Gestapo murdered eight members of the camp resistance in the Mittelbau-Dora concentration camp prison. Among the victims were the former camp seniors Georg Thomas and Ludwig Szymczak.

The two Communist inmates had been sent to the newly founded Dora camp in the summer of 1943 on the first transports from Buchenwald. In their positions as inmate functionaries, they had both put up as much resistance as was possible in a concentration camp. Their aim was to protect members of their own group and prepare for the mass murders many feared the SS would carry out at the end of the war.

In March 1944, the SS tried to force the two camp seniors to act as their accomplices in front of their fellow inmates. However, Georg Thomas and Ludwig Szymczak refused to take on the role intended for them – as executioners of a Soviet fellow inmate. They lost their posts and were committed to the camp prison for two weeks. In January 1945, they were once again imprisoned and, like many others, murdered shortly before the clearance of the camps.

(Karsten Uhl)

Reference: Jens-Christian Wagner, Produktion des Todes: Das KZ Mittelbau-Dora, 3rd edition, Göttingen 2015.