12Buchenwald Concentration Camp

Signpost hand-carved by inmate Bruno Apitz to the Buchenwald SS barracks and the Buchenwald concentration camp on Carachoweg.
Signpost and bus stop in front of the camp entrance, 1943.

In May 1937, just a few days after the Weimar celebrations for the laying of the foundation stone of the Gauforum, Theodor Eicke, inspector of the concentration camps, visited the site above the city on the Ettersberg. This was a popular excursion destination for the people of Weimar, just eight kilometres from the city. Shortly afterwards Eicke announced, that the construction of the concentration camp was now finalised. Following protests by the Weimar "NS cultural community" on 28 July 1937, the initial name "K.L. Ettersberg" was changed to "K.L. Buchenwald, Post Weimar". The reason given was that the previous name was closely associated with Weimar Classicism and therefore was not suitable for a concentration camp. However there were no protests against the establishment of the concentration camp. There were numerous administrative and economic contacts between Weimar and the concentration camp. Initially, Buchenwald was connected to the municipal infrastructure by roads, postal transport, electricity and water supply. At least 40 Weimar companies maintained business relations with the concentration camp and often delivered their goods there. A total of 250,000 people were imprisoned at Buchenwald concentration camp between 1937 and 1945.
The Totenkopf SS and the inmates were present at the railway station as soon as they arrived and at work in the town from the beginning of the war. SS men spent their free time in Weimar and many married Weimar women. A bus travelled to Buchenwald several times a day. Many Weimar residents also took the opportunity to visit the SS Falkenhof with their families on Sundays.