Buchenwald Concentration Camp
Prisoners during roll call. Each wears a striped hat and uniform bearing colored, triangular badges and identification numbers. Buchenwald, Germany, 1938–1941. US Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of Robert A. Schmuhl
American troops walk along a street between rows of barracks in the newly liberated Buchenwald concentration camp. Germany, April 20-June 1945. US Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of Col. Samuel A. Custer
Escorted by American soldiers, child survivors of Buchenwald file out of the main gate of the camp. Buchenwald, Germany, April 17, 1945. US Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of National Archives and Records Administration, College Park, MD
German civilians under US military escort are forced to view a wagon piled with corpses in the newly liberated Buchenwald camp. Germany, April 16, 1945. US Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of Lee Moody
A section of Buchenwald after liberation. Buchenwald, Germany, between April 11 and June 1945. US Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of Wilton Gottlieb
American soldiers view the bodies of prisoners in the newly liberated Ohrdruf camp. Germany, April 4–20, 1945. US Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of Mary Dickinson
General Dwight Eisenhower and other high ranking US Army officers view the bodies of prisoners in the newly liberated Ohrdruf camp. Germany, April 12, 1945. US Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of National Archives and Records Administration, College Park, MD
The things I saw beggar description…The visual evidence and the verbal testimony of starvation, cruelty and bestiality were…overpowering…I made the visit deliberately in order to be in a position to give first-hand evidence of these things if ever, in the future, there develops a tendency to charge these allegations merely to ‘propaganda.’
— General Dwight D. Eisenhower, April 15, 1945, letter to General George C. Marshall following the liberation of Ohrdruf, a subcamp of Buchenwald
Together with its many satellite camps, Buchenwald was one of the largest concentration camps established within the old German borders of 1937. The camp was constructed in 1937 in a wooded area on the northern slopes of the Ettersberg, about five miles northwest of Weimar in east-central Germany. Before the Nazi takeover of power, Weimar was best known as the home of leading literary figure Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, a product of German liberal tradition in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, and as the birthplace of German constitutional democracy in 1919, the Weimar Republic. During the Nazi regime, "Weimar" became associated with the Buchenwald concentration camp.
President Barack Obama visited Buchenwald concentration camp in Germany on June 5, 2009, during his trip to Europe. Read the Museum’s Press Release and the full text of his speech, in which he repudiates Holocaust denial. June 6, 2009, marked the 65th anniversary of D-Day. Obama’s great-uncle Charlie Payne, with the US Army in 1945, was one of the liberators of Ohrdruf, a satellite forced-labor camp close to Buchenwald. Buchenwald, together with its many satellite camps, was one of the largest concentration camps established by the Nazis.