An American soldier leads German civilians from Weimar and the surrounding areas into Buchewald concentration camp following the camp’s liberation. The liberators of the camp were so appalled by the conditions within the camp that they made the local population bear witness to the atrocities. Many Germans living in areas surrounding the camp claimed to have no knowledge of what was happening within the gates of Buchenwald. Between April 1938 and April 1945, some 238,380 people of various nationalities were incarcerated in Buchenwald; between 56,000 and 70,000 would perish in the camp. Buchenwald concentration camp, near Weimar, Thuringia, Germany. April 1945. Image taken by Lee Miller.
Children of various nationalities and religions liberated from Buchenwald concentration camp, flanked by several adult inmates (on the left, a Polish political prisoner, identifiable by his camp badge), march out of captivity following the camp’s liberation by U.S. Army troops. Buchenwald concentration camp, near Weimar, Thuringia, Germany. April 1945.
U.S. Army soldiers speak to survivors of Buchenwald concentration camp. Buchenwald was partially evacuated by the Germans from 6 April 1945, until 11 April 1945. In the days before the arrival of American troops, thousands of the prisoners were forced to join evacuation marches to other camps. On 8 April 1945, two prisoners were able to send out a message to the Allies via a hidden short-wave transmitter asking for help. After the Third United States Army (United States Army Central) were able to respond to the prisoners that they were on their way, a number of communist inmates stormed the watchtowers and killed the remaining guards, using arms they had been secretly collecting since 1942. At 3:15 p.m. on 11 April 1945, a detachment of troops from the U.S. 9th Armored Infantry Battalion, from the 6th Armored Division, U.S. Third Army arrived at Buchenwald. Third Army Headquarters sent elements of the 80th Infantry Division to take control of the camp the following day. Buchenwald concentration camp, near Weimar, Thuringia, Germany. April 1945.