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The disappearance of the camps

A large cloud of dust rises from the Kohnstein.
Blasting of the tunnel entrances of the Kohnstein, July 27, 1947. Photo: unknown.

Following the dissolution of the "Resettlers’ Camp" in summer 1946, the disassembling of the camp barracks started under the supervision of the local building authorities. Many of the barracks were re-erected in the destroyed town and district of Nordhausen. Only the former crematorium, the former fire station and, initially, the camp prison remained standing on site. The latter was demolished in 1952 at the behest of the local authorities – and against the objections of surviving inmates. At this point in time, the former camp had all but vanished from sight.

Also parts of the tunnel system were destroyed. After continuing to operate as a rocket factory under Soviet management for a brief period, the occupation authorities had parts of the tunnels ‒ including the entrances ‒ blasted in 1947. They were thus adhering to the Allied agreement according to which military facilities in Germany were to be rendered useless.

In the other camp locations of the Mittelbau Concentration Camp there was likewise virtually nothing left to see of the past. As in Camp Dora, in the majority of cases the barracks were dismantled after the war. At the most, only concrete foundations still testify today to the histories of these sites. Other camps, for example those in Stempeda and Blankenburg-Oesig, served as accommodations for German expellees. In Blankenburg, former barracks which have undergone multiple structural alterations over the decades are still inhabited today.

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