American investigators began their work in Buchenwald immediately after the camp’s liberation. Their assignment was to gather evidence of the crimes. Statements by survivors played a major role in this process.

Among others, Feliciano Escalona of Spain, Artur Gadzinski of Poland, Otto Halle of Germany, Georges Hebbelinck of Belgium and Bela Neufeld of Hungary testified on 20 April 1945. Under oath, they gave the American interrogation officers brief accounts of their persecution fates, the histories of their detention in the various camps and the crimes they had experienced personally.

More than 170 survivors from 14 countries volunteered to testify in the liberated Buchenwald concentration camp. Along with other evidence, their testimonies formed the basis for tracking down the perpetrators and carrying out the first Buchenwald Trials, which took place before U.S. military courts in Dachau two years later.

(Michael Löffelsender)


Katrin Greiser, “Die Dachauer Buchenwald-Prozesse: Anspruch und Wirklichkeit – Anspruch und Wirkung”, in Ludwig Eiber and Robert Sigel (eds.), Dachauer Prozesse – NS-Verbrechen vor amerikanischen Militärgerichten in Dachau 1945-48: Verfahren, Ergebnisse, Nachwirkungen, Göttingen 2007, pp. 160–73.

Volkhard Knigge et al. (eds.), Buchenwald: Ostracism and Violence, 1937–1945, Göttingen 2017.