“Shot trying to escape”

Bernhard Lüdtke was one of more than 200 inmates of the Mittelbau-Dora concentration camp categorized as homosexual. He lived to be only 31 years old. According to SS records, he was brought in dead to the Harzungen subcamp infirmary on 12 February 1945. The autopsy report states that he had been hit and killed by a bullet on the left side of his chest.

“Auf der Flucht erschossen” – “Shot trying to escape”. This was frequently cited as the cause of death when an inmate died of gunshot injuries. It is not known whether Bernhard Lüdtke really attempted to flee or was shot down randomly by a member of the SS.

In 1937, at the age of 24, Lüdtke had been sentenced by a court in Neuruppin to five years in prison under § 175. After his term expired in late 1942, the criminal investigation department in Berlin had him committed to the Buchenwald concentration camp. He was transferred to Dora in the fall of 1943, and from there to Harzungen in the summer of 1944.

(Jens-Christian Wagner)

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