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The War File: THE HOLOCAUST: BUCHENWALD (1937-42) - AR222D


Weimar was geographically and culturally the heart of Germany. It was the birthplace of the Weimar Republic, the republic established in 1919 to replace Germany’s imperial government, and was also home to some of the greatest citizens of the German nation. But, while for many it was heaven on Earth, for those imprisoned in the nearby Buchenwald Concentration Camp, one of the largest in Germany, it was a living hell. While Weimar may have been famous for illustrious men as Bach, Nietzsche and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, the unspeakable cruelty and brutality of Buchenwald would make it infamous. This programme documents the events of Buchenwald 1937-42, where prisoners were savagely punished for the slightest infraction of the rules. Inmates would freeze in –20 degree temperatures, were worked to death and even the guard dogs enjoyed slightly better living conditions. The camp was originally built to house 8,000 inmates, but by the end of 1942 numbers had already exceeded 14,000! Never an extermination camp like Auschwitz, Buchenwald was a labour camp but it made every aspect of life within its fences a torture where mistreatment by the guards was not only encouraged, it was compulsory.

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