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Roll Call Square

Roll call square was the centre of the inmates' camp. Here inmates were forced to assemble for roll call every day before and after their often more than twelve-hour shifts.

View from the southeast of the roll call area and the camp entrance. SS barracks in the background on the right. In the foreground a warehouse belonging to the Holzhof and next to it the detention cell building.
Roll call square, camp gate, watchtowers, camp fence, detention cells, SS area, 1946. Photo: Franz Becker.
An area covered with gravel. In the background is a greenish-blue wall construction that leads from left to right to a speaker's platform made of exposed aggregate concrete.
The former roll call square, 2022. Photo: Lukas Severin Damm. ©Mittelbau-Dora Concentration Camp Memorial

Roll call was conducted regardless of the weather conditions. The daily ordeals associated with roll call further weakened the already exhausted and insufficiently clothed inmates. During such roll calls, which often lasted hours, inmates often collapsed from fatigue or were brutally beaten by members of the SS.  

Some gallows also stood on the roll call square, which the SS used to execute prisoners whom they accused of sabotage or a flight attempt. Mass hangings, which inmates were forced to watch, served as intimidation.

In 1974, the roll call square was covered in gravel and redesigned as an "honorary square" with a speakers' rostrum, fire-bowl, and flagpoles on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the GDR. The 21 "stones of nations" represent the inmates' various nations of origin. In 1979 a bronze relief by artist Heinz Scharr was installed, which conveys a socialist interpretation of the suffering and struggle for survival Mittelbau-Dora.

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