Opening hours & practical information What is where? APP Guided tours Further Language Offers accessibility FAQ

The First Transport

The founding of the Mittelbau-Dora Concentration Camp

In the early morning hours of 28 August 1943, the SS herded 107 inmates to the gates of the Buchenwald Concentration Camp. They had been selected for the "Transport Süd" (southern transport), which in reality headed north. They were taken by truck to the Kohnstein, a 335 meter-high hill in the Harz foothills near Nordhausen, where they were forced to perform heavy labor, converting an underground fuel depot into a bomb-proof armaments factory.

The arrival of these first 107 inmates marked the establishment of the "Dora Labor Camp". In the following 15 months, it was expanded into the sprawling concentration camp complex Mittelbau, with a total of 60,000 inmates.

The arrival of the first inmates 80 years ago is commemorated here. Continuously published articles explain the background of the transport and link it to the biographies of individual inmates.

Map of Peenemünde and surroundings

The Bombing of Peenemünde Prologue

In the night of 17 August 1943, Royal Air Force formations flew the first bombing raids on the military facilities in Peenemünde on the northwest corner of the island of Usedom in the Baltic Sea, where the Wehrmacht had been developing and testing...

Read more
Entrance to a tunnel inside a hill

The Kohnstein Destination

Since the mid-1930s the Wehrmacht had maintained a depot for fuel and lubricating oil in an underground gypsum mine in the Kohnstein near Nordhausen. The depot was strategically positioned in the middle of the Reich and was owned by the...

Read more

Selection and Transport Transfer

On 26 August 1943 the Buchenwald camp physician made a list of inmates whom he deemed “able to be transported and to work.” The SS ordered 107 men to gather at the gate of the Buchenwald Concentration Camp in the early morning of 28 August. As there was...

Read more
Inmate Registration Card of Henryk Nowacki from the Buchenwald Concentration Camp

Henryk Nowacki Biography

The Polish student was not even 18 when he was hauled away into the German Reich. He was made a forced laborer in the area around Leipzig. After an escape attempt in March 1943 he was sent to the Buchenwald Concentration Camp.

Read more
Inmates working on driving the tunnels

Living and Working After Arrival

When the first 107 inmates arrived there were not yet any above-ground barracks. The SS’s priority was the construction of the V2 weapons facility, for which new inmates arrived almost daily. By the end of the year there were more than 10,000. They...

Read more
Inmate Registration Card of August Kroneberg from the Buchenwald Concentration Camp

August Kroneberg Biography

August Kroneberg, born 1885 near Nordhausen, was a member of the SPD and the Leipzig Carpenters Union. After the Nazis came to power in 1933, he had to go underground, but was caught in 1939 and sent to the Buchenwald Concentration Camp. He was on the...

Read more
Inmate Registration Card of Piotr Proch from the Buchenwald Concentration Camp

Piotr Proch Biography

Piotr Proch was born in 1912 in the small Polish village of Adamówek. In the early 1940s he, his wife Irena, and their three children lived in Warsaw. He earned a living as a truck driver and carpenter before he was arrested in December 1942 and sent to...

Read more
Sick prisoners move from the infirmary into the tunnel

Illness and Death Suffering

The stuffy, damp, cold air in the tunnel system and the inadequate hygienic conditions in the sleeping quarters fostered the rampant spread of diseases, including tuberculosis, pneumonia, and typhus. The lack of protective clothing for the inmates led...

Read more
Inmate Registration Card of Hessel Louws Groeneveld from the Buchenwald Concentration Camp

Hessel Louws Groeneveld Biography

Hessel Louws Groeneveld was born in 1907 in the Dutch seaside resort of Scheveningen. He studied medicine at the University of Amsterdam and subsequently opened a practice in Nijmegen. He was arrested in September 1942 and was sent to Buchenwald via the...

Read more
Inmate Registration Card of Marcin Kaczor from the Lublin Concentration Camp

Marcin Kaczor Biography

Marcin Kaczor had only been in the Buchenwald Concentration Camp for a few months when he was put on the first transport to the new Dora subcamp on 28 August 1943. He was a farmhand from the village of Korytkow Duzy in the Polish voivodeship of Lublin,...

Read more

var _paq = window._paq = window._paq || []; /* tracker methods like "setCustomDimension" should be called before "trackPageView" */ _paq.push(['trackPageView']); _paq.push(['enableLinkTracking']); (function() { var u=""; _paq.push(['setTrackerUrl', u+'matomo.php']); _paq.push(['setSiteId', '13']); var d=document, g=d.createElement('script'), s=d.getElementsByTagName('script')[0]; g.async=true; g.src=u+'matomo.js'; s.parentNode.insertBefore(g,s); })();