Special camp No. 2 Buchenwald

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One of 1100 metal steles that commemorate the unknown victims of the special camp.

The special stock no. 2 in Buchwald originated in 1945 as a special storage in the Soviet zone on the grounds of the former Buchenwald in Weimar and was dissolved the 1950s.

After the liberation of the Buchenwald concentration camp by the 3rd US Army at the end of the Second World War and their withdrawal from Thuringia , the Soviet military administration in Germany used the camp as "Special Camp No. 2" for political prisoners of the People's Commissariat from August 12, 1945 Interior (NKVD, from 1946 Interior Ministry of the USSR (MWD)).

Detainees and Conditions of Detention

The detention was preceded by interrogations, often involving the use of torture . If there were indications that the Soviet security forces found suspicious, proceedings before Soviet tribunals followed with severe judgments and admission to penal institutions or deportation to Siberia . The majority of those who were not convicted were held in the special camps.

The special camps were increasingly used for interning alleged National Socialists, fellow travelers and alleged war criminals. According to the Stalinist rule of terror against dissenters, more and more social democrats , peasants, " Junkers " and other supposed or actual opponents of the developing SED regime were interned, including former inmates of the former concentration camp and those who were arbitrarily denounced , suspects and young people of cooperation or sympathy with the West (about 5%).

The rulers were particularly concerned with the persecution of unpopular citizens from the bourgeoisie, who should be eliminated in order to enforce the workers and peasants' state.

Initially, prisoners from Arnstadt , Erfurt , Jena , Torgau and Weimar were brought to the special camp. At the end of 1945, 3,000 people were trapped in Buchenwald; In January 1946 4,000 prisoners from the Landsberg (Warthe) camp and on April 3 and 7, 1947 another 4015 from the Jamlitz special camp were added. Many other inmates had already passed through other NKVD camps such as Ketschendorf , Mühlberg / Elbe or the Bautzen correctional facility before their arrival in Buchenwald and were interrogated and tortured there immediately after their arrest.

Buchenwald was not a labor camp after 1945. Except for some activities to the internal operation of the bearing - these included temporary and maintenance work on the set up of concentration camp prisoners and by the Soviets further operated Buchenwald train - was a feature of the prison camp, the absence of any employment. This and the complete isolation from the outside world and relatives, who did not know where the arrested relative was, contributed to the psychological distress of the inmates.

In November 1945 an "isolator" with completely dark individual cells was set up. On Christmas Day 1945, bread rations were cut off from all prisoners.

A total of around 28,000 people were imprisoned in the Buchenwald special camp, including around 1,000 women and some children born in Buchenwald and other camps. More than 7000 people perished as a result of the inhumane conditions of the camp, in particular as a result of completely inadequate nutrition and untreated secondary diseases such as dystrophy , dysentery , tuberculosis and typhoid, and were buried in mass graves on the edge of the camp.

Known inmates

Dissolution of the camp

The camp was dissolved in order to increase the reputation of the newly founded GDR, since a broader public in the West was now informed about the conditions in the camp and pressure was exerted on the occupying power and the leadership of the GDR. The dissolution was presented as a magnanimous act by the Soviet Union and conditions in the camp were embellished with propaganda.

On January 14, 1950, the Chairman of the Soviet Control Commission in Germany, informed Chuikov , Walter Ulbricht with that the last stock would resolved with Bautzen, Sachsenhausen and Buchenwald. During the dismissal campaign (as in the summer of 1948), those to be dismissed were handed over by the Soviet occupying power to the German state police authority: the occupying power was not shown on the discharge certificates issued by the state police chief of Thuringia. However, quite a few prisoners were not released on the occasion of the liquidation of the camp, but instead deported to the Soviet Union or transferred to prison in the GDR. 2154 prisoners were brought to the Waldheim correctional facility on February 9 and 13, 1950 , where they were sentenced to long prison terms and 32 deaths in the Waldheim trials (fast-track procedure). The show trials took place without a legal basis and the judgments were already fixed in advance according to the Stalinist procedure.


As early as April 1990, members of the Junge Union drew attention to the special camp during a memorial event for the 45th anniversary of the liberation at the Buchenwald memorial.

In the GDR, this part of the history of the concentration camp was not officially mentioned. In the early 1950s in particular, the climate of fear created by the SED prevented questions from being asked about this part of history. The memorial and documentation on the Ettersberg only dealt with the concentration camp past at the time of National Socialism .

It was only with the fall of the Wall that the special storage period began to be processed. The small mass graves found in the forest are spread over two grave fields in which 850 and 250 metal steles were erected. Each stele stands for about five to seven deaths, corresponding to the average daily number of deaths during the entire time of the special camp. An exhibition building with exhibits for special camp No. 2 was built near the grave fields. The documentation also includes the transition from the Buchenwald concentration camp to the Soviet special camp.


  • Bodo Ritscher , Rikola-Gunnar Lüttgenau, Gabriele Hammermann, Wolfgang Röll, Christian Schölzel (eds.): The Soviet Special Camp No. 2 1945–1950. Catalog for the permanent historical exhibition. Wallstein, second revised edition, Göttingen 2008, ISBN 978-3-89244-284-4 .
  • Volkhard Knigge , Bodo Ritscher (Ed.): Book of the Dead. Buchenwald special camp 1945–1950. Buchenwald and Mittelbau Dora Memorials Foundation, Weimar 2003, ISBN 3-935598-08-4 .
  • Kathrin Krypczik, Bodo Ritscher: Every disease could be fatal. Medical care, diseases and mortality in the Soviet Buchenwald special camp 1945–1950. Buchenwald and Mittelbau-Dora Memorials Foundation, Göttingen 2005, ISBN 3-89244-953-8 .
  • Soviet special camp No. 2. 1945–1950. Working materials for project days at the Buchenwald Memorial. Buchenwald and Mittelbau-Dora Memorials Foundation and Thuringian Institute for Teacher Training, 2nd edition, Weimar 2011, ISSN  0944-8705 , accessed on January 12, 2014.
  • Jan von Flocken , Michael Klonovsky : Stalin's camp in Germany 1945–1950 Documentation, witness reports. Ullstein, Berlin 1991, ISBN 3-550-07488-3 .
  • Jorge Semprun : What a beautiful Sunday. Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt 1991.
  • Klaus Kordon : Julian's brother. Beltz & Gelberg, 2004, ISBN 978-3407809278 .
  • Bernd Bonwetsch : The GULag - the model for the special camps in the Soviet Zone. In: Peter Reif-Spirek / Bodo Ritscher (ed.): Special camp in the SBZ. Memorials with a double past. Berlin 1999, p. 63.
  • Petra Haustein, Annette Kaminsky, Volkhard Knigge, Bodo Ritscher (eds.): Instrumentalization, repression, processing. The Soviet special camps in the social perception 1945 to today. Wallstein Verlag, Göttingen 2006, ISBN 978-3-8353-0051-4 .
  • Julia Landau, Irina Scherbakowa (eds.): GULAG, texts and documents 1929-1956. Commissioned by the Buchenwald and Mittelbau-Dora Memorials Foundation and the “Memorial” Moscow Society, Wallstein Verlag, Göttingen 2014, ISBN 978-3-8353-1437-5 .
  • Julia Franziska Landau, Romy Langeheine (ed.): There was nothing in the way of vessels for eating. Ceramic finds on the history of the Soviet special camps in Mühlberg and Buchenwald. Buchenwald and Mittelbau-Dora Memorials Foundation, Weimar 2014, ISBN 978-3-935598-23-1 .
  • Werner and Ursula Rathsfeld: The Graupenstrasse. Experienced and suffered. Nordhausen-Buchenwald-Waldheim 1945 - 1952, Verlag Steffen Iffland, Nordhausen 2012, ISBN 978-3-939357-17-9 .
  • Julia Landau and Dorothee Riese: Secret messages from isolation. "Kassiber" from the Soviet special camp No. 2 (1945-1950). In: Contributions to Weimar History 2020, ed. by Axel Stefek, Weimar (friends and supporters of the Stadtmuseum Weimar im Bertuchhaus eV) 2020, pp. 9-14.


  • Peter Friedrich Leopold: Buchenwald. Special Camp No. 2 1945–1950 (documentary film); Chronos film on behalf of the Buchenwald and Mittelbau-Dora Memorials Foundation, 1997.
  • Ev. Church districts Altenkirchen and Templin-Gransee, Ilse Sonnentag, Altenkirchen, youth 8–25 years: this time has never existed. Encounters with a contemporary witness. Film project at www.bruening-film.de, 2007, with the kind support of the Buchenwald Memorial Foundation, awards: Video of the Generations, national competition, special prize from the Thuringia State Agency for Civic Education.

Web links

Commons : Special Camp No. 2 Buchenwald  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. See Julia Landau and Dorothee Riese: Secret messages from isolation. "Kassiber" from the Soviet special camp No. 2 (1945-1950). In: Contributions to Weimar History 2020, ed. by Axel Stefek, Weimar (friends and supporters of the Stadtmuseum Weimar im Bertuchhaus eV) 2020, pp. 9-14.
  2. Alex Latotzky: Childhood behind barbed wire, mothers with children in Soviet special camps , Forum Verlag Leipzig, 2001, ISBN 3-931801-26-8
  3. v. Flakes / M. Klonowsky (see below) assume more than 12,000 deaths, since not all lists of the dead have been completely preserved and the book of the dead is therefore also incomplete

Coordinates: 51 ° 1 ′ 22 ″  N , 11 ° 14 ′ 57 ″  E