Murder as a Deterrent

On 29 January 1945, the SS put Pēteris Zunters in custody in the Buchenwald detention cell building. The following day they hanged him and eight other inmates from the Langensalza subcamp in the crematorium cellar.

Zunters was originally from Liepāja, a seaport in Latvia. He had come to the Langensalza subcamp in December 1944 by way of the Salaspils “work education camp” and the Stutthof and Neuengamme concentration camps. In Langensalza, the SS brought together inmates from all concentration camps who had to wear a “vanishing point” on their uniforms. These were inmates who had tried to flee from their respective camps. They were not murdered immediately when caught, because the SS could still hire them out as skilled labourers. Langensalza was a branch of the Junkers aircraft works.

Nevertheless, there were 16 successful escapes from this subcamp in December 1944 alone. The murder of the nine inmates in late January was to act as a deterrent to others.

(Harry Stein)