“Invalid Transport”

On 12 January 1945, 1,400 completely enfeebled inmates arrived at the Buchenwald station in the driving sleet. Nearly half of them were Hungarian Jews; 165 had died on the way. They were coming from the S III camp near Ohrdruf.

S III had been set up in early November 1944 for the purpose of building a Fuehrer’s headquarters. The SS had sent more than 10,000 inmates, primarily Jews, from various concentration camps to Thuringia. Forced to perform gruelling work in tunnel construction, more than half of them had soon perished.

Owing to chaotic conditions in the S III administration, Buchenwald took charge of the camp on 15 January 1945. The SS had sent the 1,400 inmates “unfit for work” to Buchenwald a short time earlier. Many of them were too weak even to report their names or numbers. Incomplete transport lists moreover made it impossible to identify the dead. On 24 January 1945, the SS deleted 175 of the S III Jews from the camp records as “unknown dead”.

(Sabine Stein)

Literatur: Helga Raschke, Das Aussenkommando S III und die Bauvorhaben im Jonastal, Erfurt 2003.