Murdered by the Volkssturm

On the night of 11 April 1945, a Buchenwald concentration camp inmate trek passed through Grosslöbichau, a village to the east of Jena, with its guards. The situation was chaotic: the procession had disintegrated into small groups; yelling and gunshots echoed in the darkness. Several dozen inmates fled and hid as the SS drove the death march onward.

The next morning, village residents captured the escapees or betrayed them to the authorities. The teacher Paul Müller, who served as the district head of the Nazi party in Jena and commander of the local Volkssturm militia unit, ordered their execution by shooting. In a quarry, members of the Volkssturm then murdered more than 20 inmates. Further shootings followed. The gunmen were completely ordinary citizens of Jena.

On this day they killed some 30 inmates and buried the corpses in makeshift fashion. Paul Müller and his staff absconded after the massacre; his Volkssturm unit dispersed.

(Michael Löffelsender)

Reference: Marc Bartuschka, “Das Massaker in Grosslöbichau am 12. April 1945”, in idem (ed.), Nationalsozialistische Lager und ihre Nachgeschichte in der StadtRegion Jena: Antisemitische Kommunalpolitik – Zwangsarbeit – Todesmärsche, Jena 2015, pp. 271–91.