American soldiers force local German civilians to bear witness to Nazi atrocities at Buchenwald concentration camp, mere miles from their own homes after the camp had been liberated. Buchenwald concentration camp, Thuringia, Germany. April 1945. Image captured by Margaret Bourke-White.
Prisoners of Buchenwald concentration camp, too weak to stand, still rest in their barracks after the liberation of the camp by the U.S. 3rd Army (United States Army Central). Buchenwald concentration camp, near Weimar, Thuringia, Germany. April 1945. Photograph by Margaret Bourke-White.
German civilians from the town of Nordhausen and surrounding area are forced to dig mass graves for the thousands of unburied bodies of inmates found at Nordhausen Camp, within Mittelbau-Dora concentration camp, itself a sub-camp of Buchenwald concentration camp. On 10 April 1945, U.S. Army Pvt. John M. Galione of the 104th Infantry Division discovered Mittelbau-Dora and broke into the camp with the help of two other soldiers before sunrise on 11 April. Galione then radioed the Third Armored Division and various 104th Division attachments, giving them directions to the camp. The medics of the U.S. 3rd Armored Division reported that they discovered Nordhausen Camp on the way to Camp Dora (Dora and Nordhausen are two separate camps within the same complex). Lying in both camps were about 5,000 corpses. Over 1,200 patients were evacuated, with 15 dying en route to the hospital area and 300 subsequently dying of malnutrition. American military personnel then forced men from the surrounding area to bury the dead to bear witness to German atrocities and the belief that the civilians knew more about what was happening within the camps than they would admit. Nordhausen, Thuringia, Germany. April 1945. Image taken by John Florea.