Skip to Main Content

Holocaust History: Concentration Camps

This LibGuide is a starting point for general research on the concentration camps, with resources on genocide, survivor memoirs, and primary sources.

Brief History

The Dora-Mittelbau concentration camp initially established as a subcamp of Buchenwald was located near the town of Nordhausen, Germany, in the Harz Mountains. In October 1944, the camp, also known as Dora-Nordhausen, became an independent camp with its own forced labor sub-camps.

Due to intensifying Allied air raids, the construction of underground facilities became vital to Germany’s ongoing production of war materiel. Under horrific conditions, prisoners were forced to dig tunnels under the Harz Mountains for armaments factories and storage facilities where prisoners were assigned to work on the V-2 rocket and other weapons systems. Many died due to the brutal work conditions and the lack of fresh air and sunlight. Some prisoners risked their lives to engage in sabotage and delay of production. Those discovered were hanged.

The majority of Dora-Mittelbau concentration camp prisoners were dispersed before liberation. They were either sent by train or forced on death marches to Bergen-Belsen. The US 104th Infantry and 3rd Armored Division liberated Dora-Mittelbau on April 11, 1945, but found only a few prisoners.

The following summary derived information from the Encyclopedia of the Holocaust.

Sala and Aron Samueli Holocaust Memorial Library

Leatherby Libraries

Archival Material