“… to the last breath!”

On 30 January 1945, the 12th anniversary of the National Socialist accession to power, the Nordhausen chapter of the Nazi party staged a rally in the Riesenhaus, a city landmark. By attending in large numbers, the citizens of Nordhausen proved their “loyalty to the Fuehrer” and their willingness to “endure to the last breath”, a report in the Südharzer Kurier declared.

The event’s main speaker was the district Nazi party leader Hans Nentwig. He spouted anti-Semitic rants and demanded “unconditional allegiance” and “devotion to the very last” from his audience.

Some two months later, Nentwig and other local Nazi VIPs visited the underground armaments factory at the Mittelbau-Dora concentration camp. Contrary to his own bidding of 30 January, he absconded to the nearby Southern Harz Mountains in early April, before the arrival of the Americans.

(Marvin Keitel)

Source: Südharzer Kurier, editions of 24 and 30 January 1945.

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