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April 19, 2012

The liberation of the Dora-Mittelbau (Nordhausen) labor camp by American troops

Filed under: Buchenwald, Germany, World War II — Tags: , , — furtherglory @ 10:41 am

A reader of my blog provided a link to this news report from 2008 about two American veterans who took part in the liberation of Dora-Mittelbau, aka Nordhausen, the famous labor camp where the Germans were building rockets, using the labor of political prisoners. Mittelbau-Dora began as a sub-camp of Buchenwald, but by the end of the war, it was a separate camp with sub-camps of its own.

The article, which was written by Lia Russell, starts off with this quote:

It was a scene beyond their minds’ capacity to process – even now, 63 year later – as Portsmouth natives Jack Lorber and Robert Elliott prepare to observe another Veterans Day.

Lorber, Elliott and the other men of the 786th Tank Battalion and 243rd Engineer Combat Battalion were already seasoned combat veterans by the time they came upon Buchenwald – a notorious Nazi concentration camp near Weimar, Germany. Yet, they described the horrors they witnessed there as worse than seeing their own comrades blown to pieces by land mines and left strewn in frozen fields.

Every one of their senses was assaulted by their initial confrontation with Buchenwald on April 11, 1945 – the terrible smells of human waste and burnt flesh that caught in their throats, the 27,000 surviving inmates who grabbed and hugged and begged them for food, the sounds of moaning, wailing, crying, rejoicing at freedom.

As soon as I read this, I knew these veterans were not talking about the Buchenwald concentration camp.  There were 21,000 survivors of Buchenwald and there was no smell of burnt flesh when the liberators arrived.  The survivors of the Buchenwald main camp were not starving, except maybe the prisoners that the Communists, who ruled the camp, didn’t like.  You can read about the liberation of Buchenwald on my website here.

The 786th Tank Battalion was attached to the 3rd Armored Division which is credited with liberating the Dora-Mittelbau labor camp on April 11, 1945, the same day that the Buchenwald concentration camp was liberated by the 6th Armored Division.  The Dora-Mittelbau camp, located near the town of Nordhausen, had been abandoned by the SS and most of the prisoners had been marched to Bergen-Belsen because the Dora-Mittelbau camp was in a war zone.  Only a handful of prisoners, who were too sick to walk, had been left behind.

Here is a quote from this page of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum website:

On April 11, 1945, the 3rd (Armored Division) discovered the Dora-Mittelbau concentration camp. The division first arrived on the scene, reporting back to headquarters that it had uncovered a large concentration camp near the town of Nordhausen. Requesting help from the 104th Infantry Division, the 3rd immediately began transporting some 250 ill and starving prisoners to nearby hospital facilities.

So there were 250 prisoners still in the camp, not 27,000. Note that the USHMM calls Dora-Mittelbau a concentration camp, not a sub-camp of Buchenwald, which is correct.

American soldiers found bodies of prisoners at Dora-Mittelbau that had been killed by American bombs

The famous photo, shown above, which was published in Life magazine in 1945, shows the bodies of prisoners, killed at Dora-Mittelbau, by bombs dropped from American planes.

This website has a video which shows American soldiers carrying the sick prisoners out of the Dora-Mittelbau camp on stretchers.  They were the lucky ones, who had been too sick to march to Bergen-Belsen where they would have most likely died in the typhus epidemic that was in progress.

This video about Dora-Mittelbau shows what the labor camp was like.  At 1.51 minutes in the video, you can see a memorial sign for the “death march” of the prisoners out of the camp before it was liberated.  At 3:45 minutes, you can see the dead bodies laid out in rows.  These prisoners were not killed by the Germans; Germany was trying to win a war so it would have been stupid to kill the workers who were building rockets.  World War II was bad enough without telling lies about it.


  1. first of all look at the bodies in the photograph, nothing, no wounds nothing. even if they died from the concussion of the bombing, the bodies would have shown some wounding from the falling materials. So please look before you leap!

    Comment by Phil Rabito — August 25, 2013 @ 4:16 am

    • Only one of the bodies does not have clothing. If these prisoners had been murdered by the Nazis, the bodies would not have clothing. The Nazis didn’t waste clothing by shooting or gassing the prisoners with their clothing on.

      Comment by furtherglory — August 25, 2013 @ 10:00 am

  2. “Requesting help from the 104th Infantry Division, the 3rd immediately began transporting some 250 ill and starving prisoners to nearby hospital facilities.”

    The only prisoner looking ill or/and starved in this picture is the naked prisoner. All the others look as victims of the Allied “liberty bombs” (what they were)… 😉

    Comment by hermie — December 21, 2012 @ 8:09 am

  3. FG, I found out that one of your articles is cited by an “anti-Zionist” who claims the deportation of Hungary’s Jews is the “fatal flaw in Holocaust denial,” and signifies its “End-Game.”

    Then I found this article by Arthur Butz, on how the deportation of Hungary’s Jews was mostly propaganda—started by Goebbels. Butz thinks around 100,000 Jews were deported in total from Hungary (30,000ish to Germany to work), and all the famous photos of them at Auschwitz, was part of a Nazi propaganda campaign to show that Germany wasn’t on the verge of being overrun by the Soviets, and the German campaign to rid Europe of Jews was progressing as planned.

    “As of April 19, 1944, the German authorities in Hungary were “encountering greatest difficulties”
    procuring rail transport for 10,000 employable Jews on their hands, and on April 27 they reported
    that, while transport had finally been arranged for 4,000 of them, rail shortages were still delaying
    the deportations for labor,”

    “The Nazis had about ten years to effect the emigration and/or expulsion of the 600,000 Jews
    of Germany and Austria, and even there the expulsion was not complete. The expulsion of all
    Hungarian Jews, or even of only those in the provinces outside Budapest, in an interval of two
    months, would have been like a virtual atom bomb dropped on the Hungarian economy.”

    Ever read it? What do you make of it?

    Comment by The Black Rabbit of Inlé — April 20, 2012 @ 3:38 am

    • Doco Drama, The Conspiricy

      You should watch this one for a change, it is good entertainment or ignore it all together. I don’t quite read you correctly on which side of the ledger your thinking is based. Anyway I must hurry, to celebrate mein Führers birthday, wish you could blow out the candles.

      Comment by Herbert Stolpmann — April 21, 2012 @ 8:10 am

      • Thanks for posting this link. The YouTube video was a movie, which I saw when it first came out. It was filmed at the actual Wannsee house, including the interior shots. Great movie.

        My thinking is based on the side of truth. I do not take sides, as far as the True Believers and the Deniers are concerned. Whatever truth is told by either side, that is what I am concerned with. Unfortunately, most people cannot accept that. In today’s world, one cannot question the tiniest detail of the Holocaust or World War II without being labeled a “denier,” which means a criminal.

        Comment by furtherglory — April 21, 2012 @ 12:39 pm

  4. OT, Re: Auschwitz

    An extraordinary and very moving story in the news today raises a number of questions:

    – Weren’t pregnant women sent directly to the gas chamber?

    – If her mother was early in her pregnancy, how did she manage to carry it to term undisturbed?

    – During her infancy years, did she never draw attention to herself by crying, or stuff like that?

    – Why would her parents need to be hidden under the floor, since her mother worked as a maid, cleaning windows maybe, and her father as a gardener, seemingly outside?

    – We know that not only Helen Brashatsky and her parents survived, but, as not a single person named Brashatsky is to be found on the Yad Vashem database, we may assume her two brothers as well. Didn’t the evil Nazis find five minutes to exterminate them during their 3+ years stay?

    – This lady remembers what was going around, the striped clothes, the beatings; was she allowed to roam freely in the death camp?

    – Elie Wiesel remembers the lyrics from the lullabies his mother sang over his cradle; this lady has early memories as well. Are the Jews some chosen people?

    – She has lived in Israel for the last 64 years; did the news of the Holocaust reach this country only last week?

    Comment by Eager for Answers — April 19, 2012 @ 10:02 pm

    • “… the doctor hid the family for three years under the floor of his house inside the camp.”

      Wow! I’m surprised they didn’t have to smother her, smothering a baby usually features in a hiding from the Nazis tale. Although hiding from the Nazis *inside* Auschwitz is certainly original.

      Apostate Jews are not popular in Israel, I wouldn’t be surprised if her story was rubbished by the Yad Vashem, the USHMM and the Wiesenthal Centre in a joint press release.

      This is what really went on at Auschwitz:

      “The Jewish women, when they arrived in the first months of pregnancy, were subjected to abortion. When
      their pregnancy was near the end, after confinement, the babies were drowned in a bucket of water.”

      – Nuremberg trial

      Comment by The Black Rabbit of Inlé — April 20, 2012 @ 4:00 am

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