Tuesday, December 16, 2014

THE GYPSY CAMP (B IIe) IN BIRKENAU (Researcher Miriam Bistrovic)

Heinrich Himmler’s so-called “Auschwitz decree” passed on 16th December 1942, according to which all “gypsies’ half-breeds, Romanies gypsies and members of gypsies’ clans from the Balkan […] are to be committed to a concentration camp”, this sealed and marked the beginning of the deportation of Sinti and Romanies from, among other countries, Germany and Austria to concentration and extermination camps. The implementing regulations for this order, issued by the RSHA on January 29, 1943, specified that Auschwitz was the place of deportation.  Translating the decree into practical policy, the Nazis deported an approximate number of 23,000 Sinti and Romanies to Auschwitz. Already by the summer of 1944, about 18,000 of them failed to survive life conditions in Auschwitz – having either died from hunger, consumption or medical experiments, or been eliminated in the gas chambers. The first attempt at killing the people accommodated in this area launched in May 1944 had been thwarted by the desperate resistance the men put up defending themselves by means of spades and clubs.

On February 26th 1943, the first transport arrived with Gypsies from the Reich into the still unfinished gypsy camp in section B IIe of Auschwitz-Birkenau . After the new arrivals were registered with a separate number series starting with "Z",[meaning 'Z'igeuner, the German word for Gypsies] they had to build the camp facilities. They erected 32 wooden huts of the type 260/9 so called 'pre-fabs and re-placeable horse stables, usually without windows', which had to accommodate 1,000 people in the coming months. Along the camp road there  were 16 barracks erected on each side, on the left side they had been marked with even numbers, on the right side with uneven  block-numbers. In addition to this two kitchen barracks were completed, and a storage shack. The Block Leader's room was already outside this section and from the first July 1943 separated by an electric fence, which limited excess to this this part. At the other end of the rows of barracks arose some wash-rooms, a latrine, and in late summer of 1943 an operational 'sauna' with showers and a room for the disinfection of clothing had been completed . However, improvements of sanitary conditions in the camp did not stand through synthesis buildings. The latrines were emptied only irregularly, and water-pipes through which would flow, yellow germ-contaminated water was postponed until months later to the wash-rooms. The blocks 1,2,3 and 8 held the warehouse offices, which included the Political Department, a clothing store, a  food storage hut and a canteen. There, inmates could purchase against Reichsmarks, cigarettes, additional  food and soap. For most prisoners, these desirable goods were prohibitive, so they were dependent on allocated  food rations only. Five prisoners had to share  daily one Kommisbrot [Expression for a standard German Army bread loaf]. In addition, each adult received a spoonful of jam, half a kilo, either boiled or raw turnips and the occasional bit of sausage and margarine.
Of the remaining barracks, all windowless apartment blocks were initially used . Their roofs were often leaky, and the floors were usually made of clay, which was later covered with cement or bricks. Each family had a platform (Pritsche) with two blankets regardless of the number of persons within a family. As a result of overcrowded barracks, inadequate sanitation and poor nutrition, diseases of epidemic proportion broke out . The most common findings were scabies, measles, tuberculosis, and abdominal typhus, smallpox and what affected mainly the children was primarily Noma (water cancer). In order at least to separate the healthy from the sick, two barracks were used as hospitals, which were overcrowded in a short time. In autumn 1943, the infirmary complex included the former residential blocks, 24, 26, 28, 30, and 32, whose structure hardly changed despite the new use. 400 to 600 patients were housed per block. In the back of the rooms, a lavatory, a shower room, a provisionally kitchen and a makeshift morgue which had to absorb an average of 30 deaths per day, had been provided.. Although 30 prison doctors in addition to 60 helpers took care of the sick, by April 1943, the mortality rate did not fall, there was a lack of clean water, medicines and dressings.

ENTER PICTURE:http://www.scrapbookpages.com/AuschwitzScrapbook/History/Articles/Birkenau01B2.html  'Gypsy children suffered from an illness called Noma'

The special features of the Gypsy Camp differed not only in the accommodation as a  family unit, but also permission to keep civilian clothes and let the hair grow again after shearing them at the arrival of the transports. Pregnant women and children up to the age of six should at the request of Himmler from the 15 April 1943 receive supplementary rations, such as milk, butter and white bread, sometimes even meat and chocolate. In practice, the soon abolished supplementary rations were embezzled by the SS or functionary prisoners. From the work details outside the camp, Sinti and Roma were excluded at the beginning, instead they were used for the camp's Internal hard laborious tasks , among others the drainage channels within their compound and for the construction of the 'Ramp'. Even children were not spared from this work: 'The older children aged 10 and over had to carry cobblestones for the camp road'.
On March 23, 1943 1,700 Roma from Bialystok arrived in Birkenau. They were typhus carriers and without registration or in depth investigation, isolated and put into blocks 20 and 22 and suffocated with gas as a closed group Approximately 16,000 Sinti and Roma were deported up to the end of May 1943 into the overcrowded gypsy camp, until a decree of the Reich Criminal Police Office on May 15, 1943 came into force, that ongoing admissions into B IIe 'until further notice' to be avoided, due to the risk of speeding the disease.
Meanwhile, the camp administration tried to isolate the typhoid epidemic by more murders [i.e.gassings]. So on the 25th May 1943 there were 507 men and 528 women who been held as suspect typhoid-carriers, killed. At the end of 1943 70% of the inmates lived no longer. The remaining Sinti and Roma now  had to move on the right side of the camp road into the blocks, while on the left about 1,000 Hungarian Jews were quartered until their elimination [murder] beginning in July 1944.
On 15 May 1944, the camp commandant decided the liquidation of the Gypsy camp. The next night, the SS surrounded this section and ordered the inmates to leave the blocks. Only a fraction of the Sinti and Roma obeyed the command sequence and were transported to the crematoria. The majority had heard of the intention of the SS and barricaded themselves with 'weapons', like', crowbars, spades, knives and stones . Since the SS had not expected resistance, they broke off the action. Eight days later, on May 23rd 1944 former members of the Wehrmacht were listed with their families in the camp-office and routed alongside with other 'fit for work' prisoners from the gypsy camp into the blocks 10 and 11 of the main camp, from where they would be deported to other concentration camps , Also a part of the Polish nursing staff was removed from the hospital and transferred to other compounds of the camp complex. (There is no indication given as to the reason of members of the Wehrmacht and their families had been held there, other than Kladivova's writing in: Sinti and Roma, page 314)

ENTER MAP:http://www.holocaust-lestweforget.com/auschwitz-birkenau-the-camp.html:LOCATION OF THE VARIOUS CAMP FACILITIES WITH REGARD TO THE TOWN OF AUSCHWITZ

On 1 August 1944 a final selection took place. The 'able working age' men should report for work. 1,408 prisoners arrived after this call, 2,897 were left behind. On the following day the SS imposed after the evening roll a camp lock-out (Lagersperre) all over Birkenau and block lock on the Gypsy-lager. The barracks were surrounded and prisoners compelled to leave by force if needed. Again this time, the Sinti and Roma tried to defend themselves "They were in an uproar and shouted with all their might. But the SS-men brought them out individually from the individual blocks'. Who resisted were met with kicks or beaten. All persons found were murdered on the night of the 2nd and 3rd August 1944 in the crematoria II and V. The next morning the vacated Gypsy-lager was again examined for survivors  those found were killed (getötet) as before. More than 23.000 from at least eleven countries, including Germany and Austria, had been from February 26, 1943 and 1 August 1944 deported into the Gypsy-Camp at Auschwitz-Birkenau. Only a fraction survived. Approximately 5,600 were gassed and more than 13,600 died from the poor living conditions in the camp.

ENTER DOCUMENT:http://en.auschwitz.org/m/index.php?option=com_ponygallery&Itemid=17&func=detail&id=448#ponyimg: 'Registry book of the Gypsy camp"
                                                    A page from the registry book of the Gypsy camp; the visible damage was make because of humidity. The document was hidden undergound in Birkenau by three Polish prisoners working at the camp registration office.

Monday, July 21, 2014


The described shunting practice within the concentration camp Mittelbau-Dora complex clearly shows that the working capacity during the final phase of the Nazi regime, that the decisive criterion was whether a prisoner survived or not. This is sometimes labelled as an economization of inmate labour in search for a development that led to a certain permeability of the set of rigid SS boundary lines within the inmate society. They were marked by Nationality of camp inmates and a racial hierarchy according to the criteria of their admission category.  For example, a Russian skilled worker, employed in the missile assembly in the central plant, had more hope of survival than a French prisoner classified as labourer (Hilfsarbeiter) who according to national socialistic ideologue was far superior than a Russian fellow prisoner, (he, the Frenchman) may in fact sent to his eventual death, once assigned to the Building Commando at camp Ellrich, after all he was only considered as unskilled labourer.
Forced labour in the armaments industry had the consequence that the concentration camp system with its external camps (Aussenlager) since the second half of the war grew more and more into German (and European) society. But in other respects, there was the proliferation of concentration camps itself: not only in the field of recruitment of the guards which was constantly expanded, but also the circle of those who were threatened by Internment [Listening to the BBC if caught or reported meant four years KZ. HKS]. The admission categories and personal records were continuously expanded in Mittelbau-Dora, there were groups of prisoners who were not known from former concentration camps.
One of these new detention categories was the 'WIFO-prisoner'. These were around 90 mainly Polish and French former civilian workers of the 'Economic Research Association', who had been used since the war began on excavation of the tunnel system in Kohnstein and were admitted in the fall of 1943 into the Dora camp. Other new groups of prisoners were about 600 Italian military internees (IMI's), most of which were admitted in the fall of 1943 and the so-called 'Zwischenhäftinge' (They had no precise definition) . These were around 750 Wehrmacht soldiers, who were transferred to the concentration camp Mittelbau-Dora for desertion or other misconducts, sentenced by the military courts in the winter 1944/45, and transferred from Buchenwald.
Foundation of the block for Italian military internees'.
In contrast to all other KZ Installations, Mittelbau Concentration Camp was not regarded as an Direct Admission Camp even after its independence. This meant that very few prisoners were sent after October 28, 1944,  in a direct way there for internment. Instead, transports continuously arrived from other concentration camps in the southern Harz, (the Harz is a mountain range in Thüringen) most of them still from Buchenwald. Among the few prisoners who came directly into the  camp , included, in addition to about 80 foreign civilian workers who were detained by local Gestapo for breaches of working contracts and other alleged offences as protective prisoners into Mittelbau, there were nearly 200 police detainees - mostly French, Polish or Russian civilian forced labourers, who were admitted under the charge of loafing (Arbeitsbummelei) or other offences and normally were kept for a period of four to eight weeks and released after the expiry of this period, if the Administration did not change the internment into Protective Custody , as the permanent transfer was called in the daily reports of the camp Gestapo.
Overall, prisoners classified as new admission were only a small minority. The largest foreign share presented in the fall of 1944, were, with almost a third of prisoners from the Soviet Union, among whom were prisoners of war. Also well represented were about one quarter Polish and French, who accounted for almost 15 percent of the camp workforce. The latter came mainly in the first few months and once again increasingly after the Allied invasion of Normandy into the Mittelbau-Dora camp. As the prisons and camps in France were vacated by the retreating German occupation administration and at the same time its occupants were deported into concentration camps in the Reich. It was the same with the Polish prisoners, when transports  from Buchenwald arrived at Mittelbau-Dora after the suppression of the Warsaw uprising, it reached a first numerical peak in August 1944. After the arrival of the evacuation transports from Auschwitz and Gross-Rosen, in January and February 1945 prisoners transferred from Poland became the largest share of the camp inmates.
German prisoners, most of them classified as criminals, but also several hundred political prisoners, as well as homosexuals, presented in this phase of the history of the camp as to numbers an insignificant group of prisoners. However, because of their language skills and the racial hierarchy of the inmate population as set by the SS, they were the preferred appointed prisoner functionaries. All important posts in the system of prisoner functionaries were occupied in the Mittelbau camps with Germans.
The aforementioned prisoners from the Soviet Union, Poland, France and Germany, these were invariably non-Jewish prisoners. Initially, there were no Jewish prisoners in Mittelbau, but this changed in late May 1944, when 1,000 Hungarian Jews arrived in the camp Dora, including many children and adolescents. Most of them were immediately forwarded to the construction camp Ellrich-Juliushütte where many died an agonizing death as a result of the murderous working conditions. At the end of September 1944 came the next transport of Jewish prisoners into the camp, these were 300 Hungarian Jews, who as a skilled workers had to work in the V-weapons production for the Volkswagen plant in Schönebeck on the Elbe, in France, on the Moselle, at camp Rebstock. In Dora the line of work this meant a closed set as forced labourers for the V-1 production.
Overall the Jews remained , despite these two transports up to January 1945 into the Mittelbau-camps in the absolute minority. In most camps there were no Jewish inmates. That changed in January 1945, when in the course of the evacuation in the east located forced Labour- and Concentration Camps, several thousand Jews were sent to the concentration camp Mittelbau. Alone from Czestochowa over 1,000 prisoners (most of the prisoners of this transport arrived into the camp Rottleberode and Stempeda, where many were killed by SS personnel and Kapos or died of the effects of forced labour in the tunnels of the project B 4). In camp Harzungen the percentage of Jewish prisoners rose up early in April 1945 to just under ten percent, and that, although the mortality rate reached among the evacuees from Auschwitz and Gross-Rosen proportions that exceeded the early phase of the Dora camp itself. Most of the completely exhausted prisoners from Auschwitz and Gross-Rosen, the SS had to take into the Boelke Barracks. It can therefore be assumed that in this camp, the percentage of Jewish prisoners was still much higher than in Harzungen.
Harzungen and Ellrich-Juliushütte were also the camps with the relatively highest proportion of Roma and Sinti who like their Jewish fellow prisoners inside the Mittelbau complex preferred by the SS, were similarly assigned to the two infamous construction camps. The first large transports with Roma and Sinti (a total of about 800 inmates) arrived in mid-April 1944, and the middle of May 1944 , from Auschwitz via Buchenwald into the two camps . Several hundreds more Roma and Sinti, the SS deported in August 1944 after the dissolution of the family camp in Auschwitz-Birkenau and the murder of most of its occupants into the Harz. In Harzungen the proportion of Roma and Sinti  until the fall of 1944 rose at the workforce level to almost eleven percent.
The main product of the Mittelbau-project was death. Among the murderous conditions, particularly on construction sites almost all the detainees suffered equally, whether they are Jews as well as Gypsies, who were under high pressure of annihilation anyway, or the French prisoners, who were ranked higher in the Nazi racial ideology. Thus, the adjusted death rates in the SS perspective of higher-value prisoner groups were those groups that stood at the bottom of the racial ladder. The consequence of this was that the death rate among the French and Belgian prisoners, especially many of whom were deported to the dreaded construction camp at Ellrich-Juliushütte, reached catastrophic proportions. In December 1944, nearly 40 percent of all deaths of concentration camp Mittelbau-Dora were non-Jewish French or Belgian inmates.

Sub-camp Ellrich-Juliushütte, Part of Mittelbau-Dora
Part of Mittelbau-Dora
The conditions at Ellrich-Juliushütte were utterly horrific, even by concentration camp standards. Due to the unusually high death rate, the authorities had a Krematoria built in February/March 1945. This brick structure, complete with dissection table, although only operational for several weeks, burned over 1,000 corpses. The ashes were dumped outside the Krematoria building. Twelve Wachturmen (watchtowers) guarded all sides of the camp, which measured several hundred metres at its widest point. The prisoners were housed in former factory buildings that were in poor condition. West of the Häftlingslager (prisoners' camp), the SS and Luftwaffe personnel who served as guards were accommodated, also in the former plaster factory buildings. Initially, the prisoner blocks had no bathroom or toilet facilities, with an external latrine pit in use until small external structures were used as sanitary blocks later.
The prisoners had to wake at 3:30am, with a small dose of cold ersatz coffee substitute (without sugar) all they had before embarking on a three hour journey to the tunnel complexes where they worked. Following a twelve hour shift, with a brief pause for lunch which was generally a weak soup made from rotten turnips, the prisoners would begin the trek home. After arriving back at the camp some time between 10 and 11pm, they received a small piece of bread and margarine. Due to the severe food shortage, lack of water, poor clothing and chronic sleep deprivation, the death toll was catastrophic. Nevertheless, roll call had to be attended twice a day. Famine broke out in February 1945 after the bakery was destroyed. From then, clear soup was served twice daily. Throughout the duration of the camp, no prisoners took even a single shower, nor were they ever able to change their clothing.
The question in this context is, the proportion of 'Night and Fog' prisoners (NN), in which quite a killing interest on the part of the SS may have to be accepted. Following an direction of the OKW chief Keitel of 7 December 1941, the resistance activity suspects from the occupied territories of Western Europe should not be sentenced in their countries of origin but to deter the population under complete isolation during (Nacht und Nebel) 'Night and Fog' brought cross the border to Germany. Since 1942, but especially in the last year of the war, almost all NN prisoners were transferred from prisons and from the SS special camp Hinzert into concentration camps. In all likelihood, a number of NN prisoners were deported to the concentration camp Mittelbau-Dora. This could possibly be the case of 1085 mostly French prisoners which arrived in September 1944 from Cochen, a sub-camp of Natzweiler who came under this category. In contrast to other concentration camps, Mittelbau, however, was not explicitly identified as holding NN prisoners, neither were their clothes marked with the distinctive 'NN' nor do they show up in any strength lists. Thus, it is more likely that, because of their status they did suffer under a worse treatment in the Mittelbau-camps than other groups of prisoners. The many claims of the survivors put forward in reference to the NN status, therefore, seems to be hardly suitable to explain the high number of deaths among the West Europeans sufficiently enough in the Mittelbau-camps. Rather, it shows the attempt to rationalize their own suffering and deaths of the inmates later, at the thought to have suffered senseless, which often collides with the self-image of former prisoners.
The camp SS and the guards in the concentration camp Mittelbau-Dora were, as in all other camps organizationally part of the Waffen-SS. The internal structure of the Camp Management with the task of work distribution among different departments did not differ from other internment camps.
Commandant of Mittelbau until end of January 1945, who at the end of August 1943 was displaced from Buchenwald by SS-Sturmbannführer Otto Förschner, then relieved by SS-Sturmbannführer Richard Baer, ​​who had previously been commander of the now defunct concentration camp Auschwitz. As the protective custody camp and report leader and thus as an entity in charge of the inner camp operation acted in rapid succession several members of the SS who had been displaced from the concentration camps of Buchenwald and Sachsenhausen, and later mainly from the Auschwitz concentration camp into the Harz Mountains.
The guards of Dora and the surrounding satellite camps were initially part of the SS guard company of Buchenwald. At least in the late summer of 1944, however, the increasing independence of the Mittelbau complex in the organizational consolidation in the southern Harz, all concentration camp guards were affected. With the issue of a special order dated 10 September 1944 the ​​Location Commander Förschner, ordered that the units of the SS-Building Brigades III and IV and Ellrich-Juliushütte including Harzungen would become part of the SS guard detachment of the Dora camp under SS-Hauptsturmführer Straupendahl. With this guard detachment at the end of October 1944 the official independence of this region the SS Totenkopf Sturmbann Unit  Mittelbau was established, which was assigned to several Mittelbau complexes.
With the expansion of the camp complex Mittelbau, members of the guards were constantly enlarged. In December 1943, the strength of the guards was 640 men. At the end of April 1944 it nearly stood at 1,000, including 15 SS officers. While the strength of the guards remained relatively constant in the main camp in the following months, and the number of prisoners increased only slightly, it shot up in the satellite camps rather sharply. At the end of 1944 the SS-Totenkopf Sturmbann-Unit had absorbed around 3,300 members of other incoming SS members. With the evacuation of the east-lying concentration camps came by the end of January 1945, many other stragglers of the SS arrived into the South of the Harz. Many of them were taken into the Mittelbau SS Totenkopf-Company for a spell. However, figures are no longer available, it can be assumed at a conservative estimate, that at the end of March 1945, there were at least 3,500 members (a motley assortment) of the SS absorbed into the guard contingent of Mittelbau, including about a dozen female guards,(Aufseherinnen) in addition to a few hundred members of the SS-Building-Brigade from Auschwitz were staying at the concentration camps in the southern Harz.
Veteran members of the SS presented in the guards of the camp Mittelbau only a minority. Following the acquisition of numerous members of the Wehrmacht into the concentration camp guard duty in the spring of 1944, in particular at the satellite camps, were almost solely guarded by Wehrmacht soldiers. Exact figures are not available, it can be assumed, however, that in the autumn of 1944 more than half of the guards of the camp Mittelbau had come from the Wehrmacht, and indeed for the most part they were from the Luftwaffe, as the entire enterprise was a Luftwaffen Defence Project and the assembly and co-ordination of various contractors was their responsibility.  First, the soldiers were lodged at Mittelbau in a separate Air Force Guard Battalion.  On 1 September 1944, the soldiers, however, were formally transferred to the Waffen-SS and absorbed into the SS Association Base Camp (Standort) Mittelbau. (This usually was accepted often with reluctance on a personal basis to change into SS-Uniform)
The Air Force members did mostly watch-keeping only outside the camp fences, but had, even there often direct contact with prisoners, such as the guarding of work details. But in some cases they were also within the actual camp positions, such as the camp Harzungen that was controlled since the summer of 1944 by William Frohne a Captain in the Air Force. [He was a teacher by profession and died in 1972 in Göttingen. sic] also the posts of the protective custody camp leader and most block leaders were occupied in Harzungen by airmen. Many prisoners felt it as a relief to be guarded by Wehrmacht soldiers, but there are also examples to the contrary. For the catastrophic conditions in the infirmary of the camp Ellrich-Juliushütte , in which thousands perished , the medical officer of the Air Force Dr. Günter Schneemann was was acting with limited responsibility. [The transfer of Wehrmacht Soldiers in this case or other is somewhat simplified, they may have been under the command of the SS, but did not volunteer to become members of the organisation, although procedural methods at the end of the war were hazy or either ignored HKS]
Foundation of Infirmary at Ellrich-Juliushütte. Post-war picture
The expansion of the recruitment field of concentration camp guards to the Wehrmacht in the last year of the war shows that the circle of those perpetrators and bystanders who were directly involved in the system of Nazi concentration camps during the war was constantly larger and by no means confined to the heart of the SS as it tried to tell in the post-war narratives. Many scientists, engineers and Armaments Production Manager of the middle strata saw to it that the operation of the camp worked smoothly. The Desk Job Managers were instrumental in the organization of forced labour in the concentration camp in the Armament Industry (Rüstungsindutrie). They also planned the realization of the numerous underground relocation projects and provided important preliminary work in building concentration camps.
The founding of the “Geilenberg Staff” was followed in the summer of 1944 by further underground relocation projects for the petroleum industry. These projects created an enormous demand for labourers, met to some extent by concentration camp inmates, but also by foreign civilian workers recruited by force, prisoners of war and Germans subjected to compulsory work. In view of the imminent end of the war, hardly any of these projects were carried even close to completion, despite the ruthless exploitation of the labourers, particularly the concentration camp inmates. Most of the Mittelbau camps set up in connection with the underground relocation efforts were situated within a relatively small radius around Nordhausen.

EDMUND GEILENBERG was a German official of World War II who headed an emergency 1944 decentralization program, the Geilenberg Special Staff, to disperse Nazi Germany oil production. The program included the Cuckoo project for an underground oil plant to be "carved out of the Himmelsburg" North of the Mittelwerk, as well as plans for an oil facility at Ebensee. "Geilenberg used as many as 350,000 men for the repair, rebuilding, and dispersal of the bombed plants and for new underground construction which were incomplete when the war ended. Defences included a June 21, 1944, order for a minimum number of flak guns to be placed at Pölitz (200), Auschwitz (200), Hamburg (200), Brüx (170), Gelsenkirchen (140), Scholven (140), Wesseling (150), Heydebreck (130), Leuna (120), Blechhammer (100), Moosbierbaum (100), and Böhlen (70), and the Ruhland Fischer-Tropsch plant and other synthetic oil plants were upgraded to be "hydrogenation fortresses" (e.g., the plants in the Leipzig area were protected by over 1,000 guns.) In addition to increased active defenses, the facilities (German: Hydrierfestungen) incorporated blast walls and concrete "dog houses" around vital machinery. Similar to the technical experts transferred for the V-2 rocket program, 7,000 engineers were released from the German Army to provide technical support for oil facilities. Geilenberg died 19 October 1964.sic. For further study use


With the establishment of the sub-camps the concentration camp system from 1943 came more and more into the German civil society. This affected the whole Reich. In the Südharz the camp network was especially dense, with about 20 camps in the territory of the former county (Grafschaft) Hohenstein, transformed this region during the end of the war into a comprehensive concentration camp, which was interspersed with islands of civilian life.  Mittelbau-Dora and the sight of concentration camp prisoners were part of the everyday life to the population.
Points of contact between the camps and its environment resulted from the involvement of local authorities in the management and supply of certain requests by the Camp's Administration and it's resulting rampant black market, especially by the forced labourers of the concentration camp inmates inside the local re-located factories where the German permanent staff worked side by side with the prisoners. In the Mittelwerke plant at the end of 1944, 5,000 concentration camp prisoners worked alongside 3,000 German employees and workers. Most of them were German civilian workers, who oversaw the prisoner detachments at work. Some helped their prisoners, others were as far as brutality is concerned not any different from the SS, . Characteristic is a principal statement of the Board of the GmbH from the summer of 1944, which states: "In reports of the camp doctor at the Labour Camp Dora the finding was repeatedly made ​​that prisoners who are employed in offices or in the operation of the central plant had been beaten by [German] workers which shall on this account considered an offence, or they were even struck with sharp instruments ".
Finally, points of contact were visually: The camps were often in the middle of villages. Who travelled around by train to the small town of Ellrich, saw at first the sub-camp Juliushütte: The camp was situated opposite the railway station, from its platform one could see quite clearly the smoking chimney of the crematorium which was only a few hundred meters away. In the near village of Niedersachsenwrfen everyone could observe the corpse carts that were included and pushed in the evening at the end of the columns of prisoners who were taken by their Guards from the construction sites at the Kohnstein back to the camp Harzungen. Civilian employees in the factories had to close ranks and watch, the same as prisoners, when inmates were hanged in public at their workplaces under accusation of sabotage, yet locals were involved in the hunt for escaped concentration camp prisoners. Although there was a certain amount of apprehension and unease under the civilian population when inmates had escaped.[In particular, the Country Guard (a paramilitary group of older men, commanded by the police) and the Hitler Youth were used. Especially the latter behaved according to reports from witnesses and survivors  towards prisoners often extremely brutal sic].(Dabei wurden vor allem die Landwache (eine paramilitärische Truppe aus älteren Männern, die von der Polizei befehligt wurde) und die Hitler Jugend eingesetzt. Vor allem letztere verhielt sich nach Berichten von Zeitzeugen und überlebendenn Häftlingen oftmals außerordentlich brutal).

A narrow-gauge rail-road connected the camp with the nearby goods-train station'. Post war picture
Although there were, from the German side the repeatedly mentioned myth of Brotzusteckens (giving of bread), according to reports of surviving prisoners. Certainly help and other needs was extended clandestinely towards prisoners. However, these were isolated cases and prove really just that there were alternatives. No one was forced to face inmates with hostilities, to beat or even kill them. However, widespread acceptance of the Mittelbau Complex shows up when looking at the situation in the southern Harz that the population accepted the existence of the camps in their  midst, some of them of course with stolidity.
This consent was caused by a mélange of various factors. Basically, no doubt, it was from the myth of obeying orders, the pervasive repression and thus at least the subjective feeling of being itself threatened by the Nazi terror. That left the unwillingness to rise and join. Important were also the traditional rejection of everything foreign and ideological indoctrination by the Nazis, which the media presented as concentration camp prisoners being supposedly dangerous felon, from whom the general public had to be protected. The result was that the prisoners were perceived by many locals as a threat and could hardly hope for much help by the population. In 'Südharzer Courier', the official party local newspaper, has been reported since the beginning of 1944 again on violent prisoners from the Mittelbau-camps that have escaped. Here, up to 5,000 RM award were offered for information or seizure of fugitives , according to today's valuation about 25,000 Euros, a sum which is offered at most in the search for top terrorist or serious criminals. The criminalization of concentration camp inmates from the fact that multiple prisoners,, who were alleged on the run from the concentration camp, committed murders of locals, one of the alleged crime scene,  records show that in the middle of the village where the offence had taken place were publicly hanged, in autumn 1943  at Stolberg a the small village of Hermann's field, a few miles away from Nordhausen. [Report of the Attorney General Nordhausen, 10.1.1944, in: StA Gotha, page 175.sic].
The executions reached grotesque proportions after an attempted breakout of about 20 Soviet prisoners in the Dora bunker on the night of March 9. Two days later, 57 Soviets were hung, and on March 21 and 22, 30 again each day. The German Communist leaders who had survived torture were shot in the last days of the camp.
The blocked entrance to Tunnel A, destroyed by the Soviets in 1948. A V2 rocket engine assembly can be seen on the bottom right.'
To know and diffuse about the murders in the East was still relatively easy. The crimes in the Mittelbau happened but outside our own front door. Everyone could see, and many took part in it or benefited from it. The presence of the act did not result in the rejection of the regime, but rather identified of complicity by the action with the perpetrators, the receptive participation to contribute (Mitmachen) went frequently too far. A major cause of participatory willingness is likely the addition to the aforementioned reasons, deliberately stirred up by the Nazi propaganda of fear and the vengeance of the eventual victors, which gave the individual the feeling of being bound completely to the system and if necessary go down with it, if need be. The fomented fear of revenge (or punishment) of the winner and the Liberated tied the Nazi Propaganda seamlessly to their Manichean ordinal concept of understanding the concept of Order (Ordnungsbegriff) which had served since the early thirties to isolate Community Strangers (Gemeinschaftsfremde) and give a fellow-feeling (Volksgenossen) the material and emotional security he/she was striving for. The media packaging image making the statement of the murdering and plundering prisoners, and the alleged danger that seemed to emanate from the Mittelbau camps (which was a reality), although collided with the sense of security, however, and bound the population even closer to the system that the hazards that they had created was under control as promised. Another reason for the widespread adaptation and passivity was the years of getting used to the oppression and exclusion of Community Strangers, thereby prepared the ideological and emotional ground that the sight of the battered concentration camp prisoners was perceived by only a few as wrong because not much was left of any existing civilizational values. It certainly helped by the fact that the camps were, in the perception of many locals, kept in their memories as a war experience (Kriegserfahrung) and nothing else.
After the liberation by the American occupation forces started the repatriation in collaboration with the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration (UNRRA). The Dora camp and Herzungen which was converted as accommodation for 'Displaced Persons' (DP's) for the liberated concentration camp prisoners and foreign forced labourers to return to their countries of origin. By Mid-May 1945 there were 14,000 DP's waiting alone in the camp Dora for their repatriation, most of them were former civilian forced labourers from the many sites of the Mittelbau Enterprise. The weakened concentration camp prisoners who were liberated by the Americans from the area of the camp Dora and from the Boelke barracks were taken under American supervision into makeshift hospitals in Ilfeld and also cared for in the nearby Spa Sülzhayn. Almost half of the 500 freed prisoners, however, were already so weakened that they did not survive the first weeks after liberation. Their bodies were buried along with the over 1,200 dead recovered from the sub-camp in the Boelke-barracks in a memorial cemetery in Nordhausen.
ccupants of the DP camp Dora with the French UNRRA Team Director, June 29, 1945'

The leading German rocket engineers around Wernher von Braun entered service for the Americans, while the Soviets claimed the next highest echelon. When the American military trial of former SS men and capos from Mittelbau-Dora Concentration Camp began in the summer of 1947, hardly anything remained of Camp Dora. After the last DPs had left Dora, it was used as a reception camp for German refugees and expellees until the autumn of 1946. The city of Nordhausen subsequently had the barracks taken down and reassembled in its destroyed districts for use as emergency accommodations. The grounds of the camp were reclaimed by nature.
After Thuringia came under Soviet administration in July 1945, the Red Army continued operating Dora, now as a “repatriation camp” for former Polish and Soviet forced labourers. After the last remaining former forced labourers had left the camp, the East-German authorities used it from late 1945 to the autumn of 1946 as a refugee camp for German expellees from Czechoslovakia. The city and district of Nordhausen subsequently had the Camp Dora-barracks dismantled and erected elsewhere to serve as temporary lodgings for persons who had been bombed out of their homes.
Also a part of the tunnel system disappeared. After a short period of continued use as rocket factory under Soviet leadership, the occupation authorities blow up parts of the tunnels, including the entrances in 1947. This followed an Allied Agreement which stipulated that military systems should be rendered unusable in Germany.  At the other camp sites of the Mittelbau-complex was barely something to see of the past. In most cases, the barracks were dismantled as in the Dora-camp after the war and used as timber and firewood. Today only the concrete foundations bear witness of the past of these places. Other camps served as accommodation for refugees, such as in Stempeda and Blankenburg-Oesig. In Blankenburg the multiple converted barracks are still inhabited today.

Blowing up of the Tunnel entrances by the Soviets 1947
By the end of the 1940s, hardly anything remained to be seen of the former camps. The grounds had rapidly been reclaimed by nature. The only buildings left standing were the crematorium, the fire station and the camp prison in which hundreds of persons had been tortured and murdered in 1944/45. In 1952 the German Democratic Republican (GDR) authorities had the prison torn down against the protests of former inmates. At around the same time, a group of Nordhausen citizens – including Buchenwald survivor and later mayor Fritz Giessner – began landscaping the area around the former crematorium and the ash grave to serve as a cemetery and commemorative site.
In 1964 the Socialist Unity Party (SED) district committee founded the “Mahn- und Gedenkstätte Dora” (Dora Memorial) and had a sculpture by the artist Jürgen von Woyski erected in front of the former crematorium. Woyski’s work had actually been conceived for the Auschwitz Memorial. Two years later the Dora Memorial went into operation with the opening of a permanent exhibition bearing the programmatic title “Die Blutspur führt nach Bonn" (The Trail of Blood Leads to Bonn) in the former crematorium. The Mittelbau-Dora Memorial never played a key role in the GDR commemoration policies. Unlike Buchenwald, Sachsenhausen and Ravensbrück, it was never granted the status of a “national memorial”. Mittelbau-Dora remained in the shadow of Buchenwald.
The former Camp Dora,(photomontage), 1945/46'

When the American Nordhausen-Dora process began in Dachau, summer of 1947, there was almost nothing to be seen from the Dora camp. Accused were at Dachau besides 14 members and four Kapos also the Factory-General-Manager George Rickhey. In contrast to the previous American processes in the concentration camp Dachau the Judgements passed down were quite mild. With the former detention camp leader Hans Möser  only one was sentenced to death. Georg Rickhey and three other defendants were for lack of evidence acquitted (he, Rickhey, managed successfully to put all the blame on the deceased head of production in the Mittelwerk plant, Albin Sawatzki), and all others received prison sentences, but none of them had to serve the sentences passed down by the Military Court. Even Otto Brinkmann, the former officer in charge of the camp Ellrich-Juliushütte, who was convicted to life imprisonment left 1958 ahead of its full term, the prison of Landsberg am Lech.The Dachau-Dora Trials in their process was one of the extensive, but by far not only the biggest, concerning the court proceedings against perpetrators from the concentration camp Mittelbau-Dora. Already in the the autumn of 1945 there twelve former members of the SS and Kapos that had been under investigation during the British Bergen-Belsen Trial who had come in the wake of the evacuation marches from the South Harz to Bergen-Belsen. Three members of the SS were convicted and executed to death in the process , including Franz Hößler,(Hoessler) last officer in charge of the camp Dora, also the first commander of the concentration camp Mittelbau, Otto Förschner, was executed, but not because of the crimes committed in the Mittelbau-Dora of his deeds there, but for crimes he committed after his transfer to the camp Kaufering and and then sentenced by an American military court in 1945 in the Dachau process to death. His successor, Richard Baer could go into hiding on the other hand, and lived under a false name and worked as a lumberjack (forest-worker) near Hamburg. (He stayed in fact at the Otto von Bismarck Estate) It was not until the end of 1960, that the police tracked him down and arrested him. As one of the main accused in Frankfurter Auschwitz Process he died in 1963 while in detention. [There is always a certain amount of public suspicion if an accused dies conveniently  during military internment]
Fourteen of the nineteen defendants in the Dora Trial held in Dachau, 19 September 1947'
Some dozen offenders from the concentration camp Mittelbau-Dora were tried by German courts of their responsibility in individual procedures in later years. In many cases, however, these were proceedings of acts the accused had committed in other concentration camps. Most procedures were lightly for the defendants, especially in the Federal Republic, where, however, considerably more processes took place than in the GDR (East Germany). Only in one case the death penalty was imposed, in 1951 by the state court in Zwickau the sentence was enforced 1952 on Willi Hack, who had led as an SS Obersturmführer 1943/44, the underground project B II at Niedersachswerfen and later a similar construction projects at Berga/Elster. (There was no Death Penalty in West-Germany)
The only major procedure which referred exclusively to crimes that had been committed in the concentration camp Mittelbau-Dora , was performed after preliminary investigations during the years from 1967 to 1970 before the District Court of Essen. Defendants were Helmut Bischoff (Defence Officer of the A 4 program and in 1945 commander of the Security Police Mittelbau, Ernst Sander (Head of the Gestapo branch Niedersachswerfen) and Erwin Busta (member of the SS in the camp Dora ). The case against the jurist Bischoff the chief of SD and Gestapo can be referred to in the area of ​​ concentration camp Mittelbau rightly regarded as one of the main perpetrators, was suspended a few days before pronouncement of judgment for alleged unfitness to stand trial and later set aside and not proceeded. Busta and Sander were indeed sentenced to relatively long terms of imprisonment, but never had to take it up.
View Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r2blbyW-pUI&feature=em-subs_digest-wl


Der Ort des Terrors Vol.7
Komnzentrationslager Mittelbau-Dora
Researcher-Author: Jens-Christian Wagner
C.H.Beck oHG, München 2008.
Wikipedia, Methapedia.
Vetted by:
Institute for Research on Anti-Semitism-Berlin.
Translated from German by:
Herbert Stolpmann, July 2014.
HKS: Own initials, when expression
my opinion.
[sic] transcribed exactly as found

Friday, July 11, 2014


The resolution of Mittelbau began in late fall 1944. Due to the overcrowding of the satellite camps, but especially by the onset of winter. The living conditions in all camps of the concentration camp complex, which led to a sharp increase in the death rate and deteriorated further. While the figure of (750) deaths dropped to 100 to 150 a month after the peak in March 1944 until the summer of 1944, it increased again from November 1944 onwards sharply, reaching in December, the number of 570 officially registered by the SS as dead, of which nearly 500 alone in the camp of Ellrich-Juliushütte. With this high death rate the Boelke barracks which was de facto a pure death-camp.  Among the prisoners it was feared as a "living crematorium", and as photos of emaciated corpses went around the world, when the camp was liberated by the Americans on April 11, the Boelke barracks it's name "Nordhausen concentration camp" became quickly an international notorious example of the crimes committed in the Nazi concentration camps.
In fact a particular gruesome meaning finally came to this satellite camp , which was set up by the SS beginning January 1945 in the empty hangars on the site of the city on the south-eastern outskirts of Nordhausen, the Boelke barracks (Kaserne) in which, since the summer of 1944 with around 6,000 foreign workers of the North plant and several hundred inmates of a Gestapo detention camp were housed. Actually, this satellite camp had been provided as an accommodation for prisoner detail detachments,  who had to work at Niedersachswerfen in over 20 different Nordhäuser companies during the construction of B 11 and were previously housed in the Dora camp. However, as from the end of January 1945 numerous transports with exhausted, sick and many already dead concentration camp inmates from the dissolved concentration camps Auschwitz and Gross-Rosen arrived in the South-Harz and simultaneously increased the overall sick numbers in the Mittelbau-camps drastically.

Mittelbau-Dora,two survivors lie among corpses on straw-covered floor at the Boelke Barracks'
The SS administration changed  not only the terminology but their strategy  of  the central sick- and death camp of the Mittelbau complex. Ever since the arrival of more than 3,500 completely exhausted and sick prisoners from the concentration camp Gross-Rosen in mid-February 1945. Increasingly a large proportion of the inmates of the camp could no longer be used even by SS standards, in any work-assignments. Finally, the camp was the home to thousands of dying prisoners who were left on their own, on concrete floors of the vehicle halls, slowly vegetating, and then died daily by the dozens, even up to the end they perished by the hundreds. The total of dead in the camp, which existed for only three months, is estimated at about 3,000 people. In addition, other victims of the concentration sub-camp of the Boelke barracks have to be added around 2,250 sick and dying prisoners who were early in March 1945 transferred to the Bergen-Belsen and already on the way or soon after their arrival were either dead or dying.

This picture was shown world-wide as to the atrocities committed by the Nazi-Regime, in reality the dead were the result of an Allied Bombing Raid at Nordhausen in particular the Boelke-Kaserne.
Allied bombers attacked the city of Nordhausen in Germany on April 3, 1945. They also struck the Boelcke Barracks (Kaserne), a sub-camp of Dora-Mittelbau, although this was not the target of the attack. Almost 1,500 prisoners were killed in the attack, they were put on display for propaganda purposes after the liberation of the camp.(Most of them in a state of decomposing) The US weekly magazine Life (21/05/1945, page 36), comments: ‘The bodies of almost 3,000 slave labourers being buried by US soldiers. These dead, worked in underground factories in the manufacture of V1 and V2 rockets'.
In actual fact, these dead were the victims of Allied terror attack on Nordhausen on 4 April 1945. Although the war was almost over, German cities continued to be bombed. Thus, the city of Nordhausen was bombed and almost totally destroyed on 4 April (2 days before the evacuation of the camp to Bergen-Belsen), also destroying the Boelke barracks in which the inmates were being housed. [Source, from the series of publications of the Vierteljahreshefte für Zeitgeschichte, number 21, Stuttgart page 194, Prof. Martin.]
America's bombing involvement in the civilian bombing method was demonstrated in the following way: "In 1943, the theoretical became reality when the Chemical Warfare Corps built mock-up German and Japanese working-class neighbourhoods in the Utah desert. Exact replicas of the working class 'rent barracks' of Berlin's densely populated "Red" (Socialist and Communist) districts and the industrial towns of the Rhine were built. They were then bombed and studied in excruciating detail. Armed with the test results, including proof of the utility of the new anti-personal M-69 napalm ammunition, the Allies bombed into the rubble more 1920's socialist modernist utopia than Nazi villas.Yet the bombing of cities did NOT destroy Germans' will to fight, nor could the Allies continue the bombing raids indefinitely.
The Czechoslovakian architect Antonin Raymond, who worked several years in Japan (including a stint in Frank Lloyd Wright’s office) developed the planning basis of the Japanese Village. The emigré Jewish architects Erich Mendelsohn and Konrad Wachsmann consulted on the planning of the German Village—Mendelsohn, well known for his buildings in Berlin, was excluded from the Prussian Art Academy in 1933 and emigrated first to London, later to Israel [Palestine] and, in 1941, to the United States; Wachsmann fled to France and reached the US shortly before the occupation with the help of Albert Einstein, where he joined Walter Gropius to work on the development of prefabrication systems. Several unnamed architects affiliated with the “Gropius Group” at Harvard also participated in the research studies on typical German city structures and building constructions that accompanied the planning of the German Village.

At the end of 1944, the SS began, to "evacuate" the inmates of Auschwitz and Gross-Rosen from the advancing Red Army to further west located concentration camps. Many of these transports went to the concentration camp Mittelbau - a total of up to 16,000 prisoners from Auschwitz and Gross-Rosen, was until the beginning of March 1945 taken into the Harz facilities, including women and children. [End of January 1945 arrived in the camp Dora a transport with over 500 almost exclusively Jewish women from Auschwitz, most of which were passed two weeks later into the concentration camp Bergen-Belsen. Only 10 non-Jewish women remained in Dora and in all likelihood were forced there to work in the newly established prisoner brothel. Other transports with female prisoners arrived in early March from Bergen-Belsen into Dora (26 Jehovah's Witnesses) and mid-March 1945 from a satellite camp of KZ Groß-Rosen (285 Hungarian and Polish Jewesses ), Ref: Wagner, Production of Death,(Poduktion des Todes) page 414 -418. sic] The Mittelbau camp was in a sense the continuation of the concentration camp methods of Auschwitz. On the one hand, the SS in Nordhausen was the "Transfer location of KL Auschwitz", which had the task of clarifying the whereabouts of personnel and equipment of the SS commandant from their "old" camp. On the other hand, and this had a dramatic impact on the conditions of the existence of the Mittelbau-camps, came 1,000 SS men from there to the Harz. Members of the Auschwitz command staff took over in early February 1945, all the important posts at Mittelbau. The new commander and successor of SS-Sturmbannführer Otto Förschner, who had been transferred to the satellite camp Kaufering (a sub-camp of the Dachau), were the former commandant of the Auschwitz , SS-Sturmbannführer Richard Baer. ​​The all important positions in the administration of the concentration camp Mittelbau were replaced and occupied with "trusted"and familiar Auschwitz Personal and greatly contributed to the intensification of the SS Terror in the southern Harz.

'At the end of the war, Baer fled and lived near Hamburg as Karl Egon Neumann, a forestry worker. In the course of investigation in the Frankfurt Auschwitz Trials a warrant for his arrest was issued in October 1960 and his photograph was printed in newspapers. He was recognised by a co-worker and arrested in December 1960 after Adolf Eichmann's arrest. On the advice of his lawyer he refused to testify and died of a heart attack in pre-trial detention in 1963. The story of Baer's arrest is vividly recounted by Devin Pendas in his book The Frankfurt Auschwitz Trial. After seeing a wanted picture in the Bild-Zeitung, a co-worker on Otto von Bismarck's estate reported that Baer was working as a forester there. When officials confronted "Neumann" in the forest on the early morning of December 20, 1960, he at first denied everything. Having already addressed Baer as her "husband", the woman in the house subsequently gave her name as "Frau Baer", but still claimed that Baer was named Neumann. Baer, however, finally admitted his true identity'.

With the transports from Auschwitz and Gross-Rosen, the number of Jewish prisoners increased in the Mittelbau camps. Most of them were sick and exhausted after weeks of rail transport, many did not survive the rigours. The result of this development was a new dramatic increase in the mortality rate. Between January and early April 1945 about 6,000 prisoners died in the Mittelbau camps, of which approximately 3,000 in the death blocks of the  Boelke Barracks.
The end of Mittelbau was initiated on the 3rd and 4th of April 1945, after two massive British air attacks, which caused severe damage in Nordhausen. The Boelke barracks whose prisoner accommodations were not marked with a red cross as a Hospital, received several direct hits. When the Americans marched into Nordhausen a week later, they counted 1,200 dead concentration camp prisoners in the barracks. However, it can not be stated  how many of them were actually victims of the air raids. As the harrowing pictures showed  emaciated corpses right  to the bones, it is possible that some of them had been dead prior to the Air Raid. The American reporters made statements why their boys were fighting in this war, ​​in April 1945, and it is more likely a lot of the people to have died of hunger and cold. [This is claimed as an excuse by other sources, the Boelke Kaserne was not the target. The victims of the bombardment were buried in mass graves in a nearby cemetery called "Ehrenfriedhof Nordhausen" at the Stressemann Ring in Nordhausen. All buildings of camp/Kaserne are gone, there is nothing left. On the former area of the Boelcke Kaserne, only a small monument is set up. sic]
The air attacks on Nordhausen did not solve the evacuation of the Mittelbau-camp, but accelerated it significantly. The evacuation of the main camp Dora began on the evening of the 5th of April, when 4,000 Soviet prisoners were taken by train to Bergen-Belsen. Around the 4 April the camp commanders of the other Mittelbau camps must have received orders to evacuate at the same time. Most camps were evacuated on 4 and 5 April 1945. This was a repeat in itself what the prisoners from Auschwitz and Gross-Rosen had to suffer in January and February 1945: In a hurry and with great brutality, the guards drove the inmates into freight and cattle wagons. Several trains loaded with thousands of prisoners left up to the 6 April 1945 the South Harz, to Bergen-Belsen, Sachsenhausen and Ravensbrück. In addition, many columns of exhausted prisoners, driven by the guards were dragged to walk through the Harz Mountains towards the north-east. Those who could not keep up with the forced marches, were shot by the guards were they had collapsed. In particular, in the area north of Magdeburg in mid April 1945 it came to repeated massacres of prisoners whose death marches were held up in the area. The brutal massacre committed by members of the SS, Wehrmacht soldiers and members of the Volkssturm and Hitler Youth on 13 April 1945 a few hours before the arrival of American soldiers in the Isenschnibbe barn at Gerdelegen was by any standards the worst ever.. The barn was set on fire and over 1,000 prisoners died in there , mainly inmates from the concentration camp Mittelbau and from Hanoverian sub-camp of the Neuengamme complex .

 'On the night of 13 April 1945, after consulting with the local Nazi Party official Gerhard Thiele, the SS drove the prisoners out of the city and into an isolated barn on the Isenschnibbe estate. The SS then set light to the straw in the barn, which had been soaked with petrol. 1,016 prisoners burned to death, suffocated or were shot by the SS as they attempted to escape the flames. American troops reached Gardelegen on the evening of 14 April. They arranged for the victims of the massacre be interred properly in individual graves and ordered the residents of Gardelegen and the surrounding towns to bury the bodies.'The man who gave the order to burn the prisoners, Gerhard Thiele, escaped by disguising himself in the uniform of a German soldier and traveling with false papers. He lived in the Western zone of occupation and later in West Germany under a false name. He was never brought to justice and died June 30, 1994.
SS-Untersturmführer Erhard Brauny, the transport leader for the prisoners evacuated from the Mittelbau-Dora concentration camp who subsequently wound up in Gardelegen, was put on trial in 1947 before a US military tribunal and was sentenced to life in prison. He died in 1950.

More than half of the concentration camp evacuees from Mittelbau arrived in the concentration camp Bergen-Belsen. Due to overcrowding of the camp by Mittelbau prisoners, they were not housed in the actual concentration camp proper , but kept in the 'barracks camp' (Kasernenlager), which was only occupied by them until its liberation by British forces on 15/16 April 1945. Mittelbau relocated inmates were considered part of the concentration camp Bergen-Belsen, yet they still kept their own identity. The last officer in charge of the main camp Dora, SS First Lieutenant Franz Hößler, was still appointed commander of the barracks camp only a few days before the liberation of the concentration camp Belsen.
Most of the camps Mittelbau were completely cleared. Only in the Dora main camp and in the Boelke barracks, the SS left several hundred sick and dying behind who were liberated on 11 April 1945 by soldiers of the U.S. Army. The limited information available also suggests that the occupied camps exclusively with Italian military internees were not cleared. These prisoners may have been liberated by the Americans after the escape of the guards.
Crucial for the survival conditions of the prisoners in the Mittelbau-camps was the character of the work to which they were forced to perform. The hardest work had generally the prisoners to do in the construction commandos. Here the chances of survival were minimal. "Do not bother about the human victims. The work must take place, and in the shortest possible time", Kammler did instruct his subordinates in the Mittelbau Concentration Camp. With all haste the SS guide posts and the construction companies involved drove the inmates to work. Dates should be adhered to, the life and health of the prisoners did not count.
Not only in the tunnels, but also on the construction sites in the open air, such as the construction of the Hel-metal-track, the hard work quickly led to full-exhausting prisoners. There were also long, to- and from- departure paths that often had to be overcome by walking, inadequate safety precautions, inadequate clothing and nutrition, lack of working equipment and not least the harassment and abuse by the SS, Kapos and civilian foremen.
For the prisoners the commandos that were used in the development of underground factories, were the most dreaded. Again and again they were exposed to the pressure waves of blasts during tunnel driving without a adequate safety distance. They hovered constantly in danger of being injured or killed by falling rock masses. The dust in the tunnels sapped the body of the prisoners. But drinking water, which would have been rudimentary in an emergency, or could alleviate thirst was denied to them. [There is no reason given, why not] Many prisoners were suffering from lung diseases. Tuberculosis was among the most common causes of death. Most patients did not have the slightest chance of being cured, it was often enough that the smallest abrasions could be fatal to the lives of completely exhausted and emaciated prisoners . The inadequate clothing promoted the weakening process: The prisoners from other camps of Ellrich and Harzungen had to do heavy work (Schwerstarbeit) on the sharp and edgy underground in the tunnels partially barefoot.
Tunnel - A One of the two parallel tunnels'.
According to prisoner reports the work in the tunnels depended on the constitution of the individual and took about four weeks before  complete exhaustion sat in. For the inmates, this meant having to try at all costs to avoid the work in the gallery and possibly get into 'better' commandos outside of the tunnel, even in the coveted Production or Storage-Economic commando. Whoever had connection within the infirmary, could try to find there a while of shelter and recover part of their health. The official 'conservation', however, presented no alternative, because, contrary to the euphemistic relationships they served less as recovery rather than the systematic starvation of the 'unemployable'. But for those prisoners who were on friendly relationships with Functionaries in the hospital grounds or in the working statistic, who had the means and classify a friend as a skilled worker and thus assign him to a Production Assembly Line was often still a risk of exposure.  Otherwise it meant practically a death sentence without any contacts, and In their desperation, not a few prisoners saw as the only way out, to commit suicide, or they acquiesced hand injuries.
Hardly any better than in the tunnel were the working conditions on construction sites in the open. Although the prisoners did not have to contend there with the unbearable dust that prevailed in the tunnels, they were certainly exposed throughout the year to the weather. In the summer they had hot conditions, and in winter, when snow, cold and deep frozen ground made soil movement and lifting difficult, the construction work actually had often to stop.
After the calculation of the SS corporate offices and profiting from the inmate work, private companies felt the 'construction prisoners ' were easily replaceable. Thus, one did not bother to preserve the health and lives of these prisoners, because 'replenishment' seemed to be there in sufficient numbers as a stand-by, especially after the evacuation transports from Auschwitz and Gross-Rosen arrived and many Mittelbau camps were always filled to capacity.

Study and view German Aircraft Designs: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vhetGy7HigM

Generally better than in the construction teams were the survival chances in the production commandos. At the start of the operation in production, it was often assessed by the reckless driving on the sites,  and it's time-consuming training phase. This was especially true for the mustered prisoners as a skilled worker. To receive a minimum level of effectiveness of the work output the plant managers and the supervisory staff were instructed, to be more 'friendly' when dealing with the prisoners and their labour force. This not only meant a lessening of terror by the SS or Kapos and civilian supervisors, but among others, better clothes, more food and shorter marching routes. Besides that, the work itself did not tire prisoners in the production commandos to the same extent as on the building sites. To be assigned to a production commando meant first of all, to work in a relatively warm and dry place. Compared to a prisoner who had to carry in the cold, bricks or very heavy bags of cement, that alone was a major advantage. Besides the work on the machine which was physically usually less exhaustive, and as the production process was organized, for example in the Mittelbau factory, so that free German workers and prisoners worked together on the assembly lines, the prisoners could benefit from work breaks that were granted to the German civilian workers. The engagement of prisoners and paid civil labour went so far that even mixed efficiency groups of prisoners and civilian German workers were planned in the Mittelbau factory, which was a financial incentive scheme for both. (Arbeit nach Akkord).
The general assembly process went as follows: First, the centre section of the rocket (the fuselage with its two huge alcohol and liquid oxygen tanks) was assembled. Next the propulsion group (combustion chamber, turbine pump, air bottles) was attached. Then the tail section of the rocket with its propulsion ring, rudder servos, and fins was attached to the motor. Finally, the guidance compartment (control amplifier, electrical distribution panel, main time switch, radio equipment, etc.) was attached to the front of the missile and the completed rocket went to Hall 41 for final testing and delivery to the launching batteries. Warheads were transported separately and attached to the rockets in the field.
   'V-2 Rocket Assembly inside Tunnel- Mittelbau-Dora'
In particular, in the construction commandos prisoners were driven with blows which was part of the working day life. It was preferable not to be noticed, that was one of the most important rules for inmates who were able to aim for  survival. Another was: work slowly. Both together meant possibly to pretend to be busy, when SS-men or civilian foremen looked around. But in spite of all precautions,  the prisoner often failed to escape the arbitrary abuse by members of the SS or Kapos. Just exhausted and prisoners approaching death by their physical appearance were always victims of beatings and harassment. The gurds took every opportunity to exert their cruel preeminence determined to maintain the power of their authority.
Under these described circumstances it was not to think of a normal work performance of inmates, either in production or on construction sites. Generally who was benefiting from forced labour were companies that had anticipated the fact that the prisoners would only be able to do half as much as German civilian employees. This under-performance was already included in the calculation of the daily fees as to inmate work-output. For skilled workers, the companies paid the SS, and thereby into the Reichs-Household Budget, as in other camps a daily wage of 6 RM. Labourers cost RM 4 a day, regardless of how long they had to work. If only for this reason, many companies had to base their daily shift on a 12-hour working day for prisoners. The long hours of arrival and departure routes to work areas and time-consuming roll-calls in the camps meant that the prisoners had little time to recover. Even after scrutinizing SS data shows, the prisoners in the camp Ellrich-Juliushütte for example, had only 4.75 hours of sleep. Consequently, chronic sleep deprivation alone led to exhaustion.

Various former factory structures were utilised by the SS, to hold the inmates at KZ-Aussenlager Ellrich-Juliushütte'.

The long and often calculated decline of the prisoners labour in the perspective of the SS and their Advisory Staff, were fully aware that in the medium term, this was economically counter-productive - when finally, the workers who were urgently needed would die. The SS tried to overcome this dilemma to escape through a practice of mobile selections: the requirements of the SS-Advisory Board (Führungsstab) and the defence     contractors accordingly met continuously to request new prisoners from other concentration camps into the Dora camp and were thence in a system of permanent selection depending on their physical condition and vocational qualifications and then have them distributed into the various Mittelbau camp complexes. Prisoners who were professionally qualified and physically fit, still seemed reasonably efficient, would remain in the main camp of Dora or were assigned to work details in the defence industry. In contrast, debilitated inmates had little chance to escape the transfer into one of the notorious construction camps, where the last bit of labour was beaten out of them. When they eventually were no longer able to work even by SS standards, they were deported to death zones - 'Protection-Blocks'- Schonungsblöcke) in the individual camps, or, from January 1945, in the northern houses of the Boelke Garrison (Kaserne). Most of the prisoners went through in this way on an ordeal, which led them from camp to camp, with ever shortening intervals, to the next one, and ended with death. This practice of mobile selection in a hierarchical camp system would allow the SS, and benefiting companies  from inmate work to get the maximum performance for a minimum of support or care..
At the permanent selections not only the Labour Administration Staff were involved in the camps, but also the SS doctors. Before the transfer into other camps or into the camp zones, (Lagerzonen) usually medical screening took place, whose goal it was, the separation of weaklings, as it had been labelled by the SS doctor and 'Supreme Hygienist'  Dr. Joachim Mrugowski in April 1944. Similarly, only three months before, his co-worker and colleague SS-Doctor Karl Gross, formulated a poignant  assessment after an inspection of camp Dora: 'In order to avoid an unnecessary load within the operation with physically ineffective human material (Menschenmaterial) and a consequent accumulation of those unable to work, it should be recommended a correspondingly strict selection of prisoners (medical screening before work employment) which is already done in part by camp doctors out of their own initiatives '. Next he suggested: 'They are already thinking about the establishment of an Alternative Camp (Ausweichlager) for handicapped prisoners, as their number is constantly increasing.'
The best educated and technically qualified prisoners, primarily from Western Europe, were selected to serve on the missile assembly line, while the others were put on the harsher outdoor, transport, and construction commandos. The SS in Mittelbau-Dora had developed a system of “mobile selection,” where inmates who were worn out or less valuable were transferred to commandos, sub-camps, infirmaries or “death blocks” of increasing harshness, so that the weakest died off.

Joachim Mrugowsky as a defendant in the Doctors' Trial.
Dr. Mrugowsky,  was a German hygienist. He was Associate Professor, Medical Doctorate, Chief of Hygiene Institute of the Waffen-SS, Senior Hygienist at the Reich, SS-Physician, SS and Waffen-SS Colonel, and defendant in the Doctors' Trial. He coordinated human experimentation at the Sachsenhausen concentration camp near Berlin. This included testing of biological warfare agents, including poisoned bullets.
In 1940, as the troop physician of an SS "Das Reich" Division hospital company, Mrugowsky participated in the conquest of Western Europe. He was implicated in all medical experiments, with the exception of the aviation ones, which were conducted on concentration camp prisoners. Mrugowsky was condemned to death in August 1947, and executed on June 2, 1948 at Landsberg am Lech.

Most deaths in the concentration camp Mittelbau-Dora were a consequence of the murderous forced labour, insufficient hygienic conditions and inadequate nutrition. Especially towards the end but also many prisoners victims died from abuse and direct killings. An unknown number of detainees died after torture and interrogation at the detention cell building (bunker) of the Dora camp, whose outside court yard was set up as a place of execution, where the SS and Gestapo in secret executed prisoners, whose deaths obviously should not be known in the camp. The bunker courtyard was, were the two temporary communist camp elder George Thomas and Louis Symcak who had refused in  the spring of 1944 to hang a Russian fellow prisoner, and immediately prior to the evacuation of the camp on 4 April 1945, together with five other German prominent political prisoners and a Russian, who had been part of the resistance group, were shot there by the Gestapo members. Also, the high-ranking Communist Party functionary and former member of the Prussian Landtag Albert Kuntz died in the bunker. After weeks of torture he was found strangled in his cell at the end of January 1945.
Remains of  Prison cells - Post war picture
And this is what happened at the hour of execution, silent and staring stood the prisoners from the respective Blocks. The camp commandant ordered the block elder to step forward.
Georg Thomas, 37 years of age, a mechanic from Munich, member of the KPD (Communist Party of Germany) since 1929, had to take the decision of his life. In 1933, the Nazis had arrested and interned him in KZ Dachau. Later, he had in the meantime released in 1935, he was again detained and deported to Buchenwald. On August 28, 1943, he arrived in KZ Mittelbau-Dora as Block Elder I.
Georg Thomas stood in the front of the gallows. Behind him, he felt the gazes of thousands of comrades from France, Czechoslovakia, Germany, the Soviet Union[...] His voice loud and well audible, he called out: 'I refuse to obey this order'! Death silence. Nailed boots hurried across the roll square. Georg Thomas was tied by the SS guards, who then escorted him to the bunker.
Again the voice of the camp commandant: 'Block Elder II, come here'! Ludwig Sznczak, the mine-worker from Upper Silesia, came forward. His stare was firm.
As a communist, he had lived in the Soviet Union before 1933, and had participated in the creation of the Soviet State. After his return to Germany, he had settled in Wuppertal. The Nazis, after they had sized power, had arrested the upright communist. He was in the function of Block Elder ever since he had arrived in Mittelbau-Dora.
Ludwig Szimczak did not falter. His words resounded loudly over the square: 'I refuse to obey the order'!  Two SS-guards stepped forward, tied Szimczak and brought him to the Bunker.
Only the Bver (for Berufsverbrecher), or professional criminal Zwiener was ready to take over the hangman's job. Replacing Georg Thomas and Ludwig Szimczak, he was declared Block Elder. The criminal prisoner took over [...] The refusal of the German communists became a token of vitality, and the fire signal of the well-measured antifascist resistance. Their brave and cool-blooded act dug deep into the brains of the ten thousand prisoners. The resistance was reinforced. Ref.:(Dickmann/Hochmut 1971:73f.)

Execution Site - Post-war picture'
Prior to the completion of the bunker, for secret executions the SS took advantage of a quarry below the crematorium. Here, the SS shot in mid-December 1943, just days after the inspection tour of Albert Speer, seven Italian soldiers who had refused, citing the Geneva Convention, to work in the defence industry.
Far more often than the secret executions were public hangings on the parade ground, when all camp inmates had to watch, in first place as a deterrent and secondly to install discipline. Most of the victims of these public executions were Soviet prisoners whom the SS and Gestapo accused of sabotage and resistance. Between November 1944 and March 1945 alone, more than 200 prisoners were hanged or shot. In March 1945, the executions took on apocalyptic dimensions - on some days 30 prisoners were hanged, even on one day alone the figure were 50 inmates hanged at once. In some cases, the executions were carried out not on the parade ground of the camp Dora, but at the work stations,  at the construction sites and in the tunnels of the Mittelwerk plant. During these executions, not only the inmates were forced to watch the gruesome spectacle, but also the German civilian employees. [Ref: ibid, page 354f. Sellier, forced labor in the rocket tunnels, page 346 ff.sic (Zwangsarbeit im Raketentunnel)
Place where the Italian POW's were shot
Approximately 60,000 prisoners were deported from August 1943 to March 1945 into the Mittelbau-Dora Camps. The total number of deaths can not be determined exactly. Approximately 12,000 deaths were recorded in the surviving SS files. In addition, there is an unknown number of unregistered deceased and killed prisoners, in the Mittelbau complex, plus 1,200 dead, who were recovered by the Americans from the Boelke barracks,[This is a disputed allegation.sic] about 5,000 dying after the extermination transports early 1944 were sent to Lublin and in March 1945, to Bergen-Belsen. In addition the number of prisoners who did not survive the death marches after the evacuation of the Mittelbau-Dora camps in April 1945. It can be assumed at a conservative estimate of at least 20,000 prisoners that were deported to the concentration camps to Mittelbau-Dora, and did not survive. About two-thirds of them died in the satellite-camps.

                                                                                                                                               CONTINUED UNDER PART 4