Posts Tagged ‘concentration’

Buchenwald concentration camp immigration plan criticised

January 15th, 2015

“This is not a normal place, not just anywhere, but a place of exploitation, oppression and unbounded violence,” Christine Glauning, director of the Documentation Centre for Nazi Forced Labour, told Spiegel magazine’s website.

The history of the site is not well documented. It was small outpost of the much larger Buchenwald concentration camp, where more than 50,000 prisoners were killed, many of them forced labourers deliberately worked to death.

Some 700 Polish slave labourers were held at the outpost in Schwerte and forced to work on the nearby railway maintenance facility.

The Schwerte authorities defended the decision, stressing that the barracks building had never housed prisoners, and that it had been used since the war as accommodation for disabled veterans, and as an artist’s studio.

Many former Nazi buildings are used in Germany. The Berlin Olympic Stadium, built under Hitler for the 1936 Olympics, is still used as a football ground and concert venue.

Last year George Osborne, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, took part in a joint press conference with EU finance ministers at the former Nazi Air Ministry, built for Hermann Goering, which is now used as Germany’s Finance Ministry.

But modern Germany has avoided using former concentration camps, or sites connected specifically with Hitler, such as the former Fuhrerbunker in Berlin.

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Bulldozer attack on Nazi concentration camp

December 10th, 2014

Unknown assailants used a stolen bulldozer to smash their way into the memorial at the site of the Langenstein-Zwieberge camp, where more than 2,000 prisoners were worked to death, and caused an estimated €50,000 (£40,000) of damage.

“At this stage of the investigation, we suspect a more likely culprit is someone who started the bulldozer up and drove it a few kilometers as a prank. We don’t have any other leads,” a police spokesman told MDR, a local radio broadcaster.

The bulldozer was stolen from a nearby building site and driven a mile across fields, before being used to tear down the entire perimeter fence at the memorial site, and ram the main gates to the eight miles of underground tunnels built by forced labourers at the site. It was later found torched nearby.

Langenstein-Zwieberge, a subcamp of the notorious Buchenwald concentration camp, was established towards the end of the war in 1944. The Nazis sent more than 7,000 prisoners from 23 countries there as slave labourers, to construct vast underground passages where warplane and weapons manufacturing could be concealed from Allied bombers.

More than 2,000 of the inmates were literally worked to death. Life expectancy at the camp was just six months. Some of the tunnels were big enough to contain train carriages, and were built with Nazi “cost projections” of a death for every metre built.

Despite a €3,000 reward offered for its recovery, the “Arbeit macht frei” sign which was stolen from Dachau last month still has not been found, and police are continuing their enquiries.

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Nazi ‘Arbeit Macht Frei’ sign stolen from gate at Dachau concentration camp

November 2nd, 2014

She said a private security service supervises the site but officials had decided against surveillance of the former camp with video cameras because they didn’t want to turn it into a “maximum-security unit.”

That decision may now have to be reviewed, she added.

Police have not yet identified any suspects, but neo-Nazis and Holocaust deniers have targeted concentration camps in the past, stealing soil and other artefacts.

In 2009 a sign containing the same notorious words was briefly stolen from the entrance to the Auschwitz Nazi concentration camp in Poland. It was recovered three days later.

The theft drew worldwide condemnation, particularly from Israel and Jewish groups.

Anders Hoegstroem, one of the men who confessed to the theft, was a Swedish neo-Nazi leader. He was jailed for 32 months after striking a plea bargain with Polish authorities.

Dachau, near Munich in Germany, was the first concentration camp set up by the Nazis in 1933. More than 40,000 prisoners died there before it was liberated by US forces on April 29, 1945.

Angela Merkel became the first German chancellor to visit the former concentration camp in August last year, where she expressed “shame” at the crimes of the Nazi regime.

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