32Death March Stele

Rießnerstraße/Ettersburger Straße

A group of individuals at a memorial event with flags and a "TODESMARSCH" monument sign.
Dedication of the death march stele, 7 May 1983.

Before the end of the war, in April 1945, the SS initially evacuated prisoners from the subcamps of
Buchenwald concentration camp to the main camp, and later from there towards southern Germany. These marches took place on around 60 different routes and were rightly called death marches. The prisoners were inadequately clothed and were barely provided with food. Local residents witnessed these columns of people dragging themselves through the streets, more dead than alive. Those who could not walk any further or tried to escape were shot or beaten to death by the SS or Wehrmacht, police, Volkssturm, Hitler Youth and even civilians. When the Allied soldiers reached Thuringia in April 1945, they often came across the bodies of those who had been shot. Around one in three prisoners on the death marches died. The stele on the road between Weimar and Buchenwald commemorates the 13,000 victims of the Buchenwald inmates forced onto the death marches. It was the first memorial stele for the death marches in Thuringia to be erected by the Committee of Anti-Fascist Resistance Fighters in 1983. It was designed by the Erfurt architect and sculptor Eckard Bendin. Framed in red bricks, a map shows the routes of the death marches on foot (red) and by train (black) from March 7 to April 10, 1945. A large number of similar memorials can be found along the routes of the death marches in Thuringa.