Hotel Avena

Hallesche Str.13, Nordhausen, 99734, de
Avena Hotel
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More about Nordhausen

Photos

Between Nordhausen and Ifeld, September 1991.Between Nordhausen and Ifeld, September 1991.

View from guard towerView from guard tower

Former station areaFormer station area

TruckTruck

Travel Tips for Nordhausen

The Mittelbau-Dora Concentration Camp

by alancollins

"The Mittelbau-Dora Concentration Camp"

The Mittelbau-Dora Concentration Camp was one of the last camps to be built. It came into use after the bombing raid on the experimental rocket research facility at Peenemunde on the 17/18th August 1943, and somewhere was required that afforded better protection. The location in the interior of the Kohnstein Mountain, close to Nordhausen was chosen because tunnelling had started in 1934 and the gypsum rock was soft and easier to tunnel. The tunnels had previously been used as a storage facility. There were 2 main tunnels ‘A’ and ‘B’ with cross tunnels that would have resembled a ladder. Prisoners started to arrive on the 28th August 1943, and at first it was a sub-camp of Buchenwald but later became an independent camp with its own sub-camps. It was during the early days that the work was the most punishing as prisoners had to blast and drill into the mountain. There were no facilities and the prisoners had to eat and sleep in the tunnels. With the poor conditions, beating and punishments, the death rate was high. The camp was not completed until October 1944. 60,000 prisoners passed through the camp during its existence of those some 20,000 died, mainly during the construction phase.

"The Mittelbau-Dora Concentration Camp"

After WW2 the tunnels were sealed off by the Russians and the camp, though it became a memorial in the 1960’s, it remained off limits to anyone from the west until after reunification. Most of the buildings have gone, but some foundations, ruins of buildings and railway lines remain so as you walk around with a plan you have to use some imagination as to what it originally looked like. With the opening up of a small amount of tunnel A for guided tours and the brand new museum and visitors’ centre, the memorial has been changed from what would have been a visit with little to see to something that is worth a day to visit.

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