Liberation of Buchenwald

Conflict: World War II

Aerial view of Buchenwald from 1945

Aerial view of Buchenwald from 1945

On 4 April 1945, the US 89th Infantry Division began its invasion of Buchenwald, the first liberated Nazi concentration camp. Prisoners had already formed some sort of resistance against the Nazi guards by collecting and hiding arms, but all of it was yet to be used. It wasn’t until an imprisoned Polish engineer by the name of Gwidon Damazyn, who was quite gifted with radio technology, constructed a transmitter in the prisoners’ movie room and requested help from the outside that the prisoners began an uprising. Damazyn sent a message out into the world in hopes that someone would answer back. Sure enough, America replied with a promise of rescue. The prisoners were beyond relief and soon fought back while waiting for their reinforcements. Many of the Nazi guards left anyway when they realized Allied forces were on their way.

German record of Gwidon Damazyn

German record of Gwidon Damazyn

The liberated prisoners (around 21,000) were supplied with food and water from nearby Allies and were treated for medical issues before being relocated.

Children were also among the number of those at Buchenwald (a famous one being Elie Wiesel). Most of the children “are without parents and some have seen their parents killed before their eyes.” The children obviously suffered deep psychological trauma and expressed their hatred in post-rescue interviews.

Responses from the children of Buchenwald

Responses from the children of Buchenwald

Search Fold3′s records for more information on Buchenwald.