Skip to main content

Timeline of Events

Liberation of Dora-Mittelbau

US forces liberated the Dora-Mittelbau (Nordhausen) concentration camp in April 1945. Here, medics and soldiers of the US Third Armored Division evacuate sick and dying survivors of the camp. [Silent footage] —National Archives - Film

April 11, 1945

The 3rd Armored Division discovers the Dora-Mittelbau concentration camp. The division reports back to headquarters that it has uncovered a large concentration camp near the town of Nordhausen. Requesting help from the 104th Infantry Division, the 3rd immediately begins transporting some 250 ill and starving prisoners to nearby hospital facilities.

The Dora-Mittelbau (also known as Dora-Nordhausen or Nordhausen) camp was established in central Germany near the southern Harz Mountains, north of the town of Nordhausen. It was originally a subcamp of Buchenwald. Prisoners from Buchenwald were sent to the area in 1943 to begin construction of a large industrial complex. In October 1944, the SS made Dora-Mittelbau an independent concentration camp with more than 30 subcamps of its own.

In early April 1945, the Nazis began to evacuate the prisoners from Dora-Mittelbau. Within days, most of the remaining prisoners were sent to Bergen-Belsen in northern Germany. Thousands were killed during death marches under horrendous conditions. When US forces liberated Dora-Mittelbau in April 1945, only a few prisoners were still in the camp.

Under the supervision of an American soldier, German civilians dig mass graves for the victims of the Dora-Mittelbau concentration camp after liberation. Near Nordhausen, Germany, April 15, 1945.

Under the supervision of an American soldier, German civilians dig mass graves for the victims of the Dora-Mittelbau concentration camp after liberation. Near Nordhausen, Germany, April 15, 1945. —US Holocaust Memorial Museum

Related Topics