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The incinerators of the crematorium, which was built in the autumn of 1944, were in operation around the clock. The SS dumped the ashes of the deceased down the slope behind the building.

In the center of the image is a man in prisoner's clothing standing next to a US soldier and pointing into one of the crematorium ovens. In the background, more US soldiers are standing and watching through an archway.
A Polish concentration camp survivor shows a US Army soldier the crematorium oven in the liberated camp, April 1945. Photo: John R. Driza.
View of the crematorium of Mittelbau-Dora concentration camp with its characteristic central chimney.
Crematorium, 1945 (after liberation). Photo: Unknown.
View of the crematorium building from the former infirmary. It is a reddish one-storey brick building with a tall chimney.
Crematorium building, 2022. Photo: Lukas Severin Damm. ©Mittelbau-Dora Concentration Camp Memorial

During the first few months of the camp, when there were not yet any barracks and the inmates were housed in the tunnel system, corpses were transported by truck to the Buchenwald Concentration Camp and cremated there. In Dora the SS at first used a temporary crematorium set up near the disinfection building. The stone camp crematorium began operation in the autumn of 1944. Of the over 20,000 who died at the Mittelbau-Dora Concentration Camp, at least 5,000 were cremated here.

Due to its significance as a cemetery, the crematorium building was not torn down with the rest of the camp in the 1950s. From 1966 to the early 1990s, it housed a permanent exhibition on the history of the camp. Interior walls had been torn down and the paintings on the walls made by inmates had been painted over with white paint. A bronze relief by artist Theo Balden was installed in the incinerator room in 1979. From a broad base of emaciated bodies arises a flame, which culminates in a flower bud. After 1990, the crematorium was restored, and it now exclusively serves as a commemorative site for the dead.

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