The Death Train from Buchenwald

On 21 April 1945, there was a train consisting of more than 50 freight wagons at the railway station in Nammering, Lower Bavaria. It had come to a halt there two days earlier. Destroyed tracks prevented it from continuing its journey. Four thousand inmates from Buchenwald had been crowded into the wagons.

They had been travelling for two weeks. At the time of their departure in Weimar, they had received rations for just one day. A seemingly endless odyssey through Saxony, Czechia and Bavaria followed; the destination was Dachau. For the inmates, the situation was disastrous. Hundreds had starved to death en route. In Nammering, fellow inmates had to unload the corpses and bury or incinerate them in an open field. SS men shamelessly murdered further inmates in the process.

When the train set out again on 24 April, some 800 corpses remained behind. The transport reached the Dachau concentration camp several days later. The SS took the survivors into the camp and left hundreds of dying and dead inmates behind in the wagons.

(Michael Löffelsender)

Reference: Katrin Greiser, Die Todesmärsche von Buchenwald: Räumung, Befreiung und Spuren der Erinnerung, Göttingen 2008.