Memorial plaques, information signs - there is always destruction in the Buchenwald concentration camp memorial. Now memorial trees for concentration camp victims have been cut down - prisoner organizations speak of a politically motivated act.
Weimar (dpa/th) - The International Auschwitz Committee described the destruction of seven memorial trees for victims of the Nazi concentration camp in Buchenwald near Weimar as a "hateful and calculated demonstration of power by neo-Nazis". The Buchenwald-Dora camp community and Thuringia's Prime Minister Bodo Ramelow (left) also reacted with outrage on Thursday.
It is not yet clear who is responsible for the crime. The trees that were cut down were dedicated to the children who were killed in Buchenwald and six prisoners named by name, the concentration camp memorial announced on Wednesday. A spokesman said there had already been damage to commemorative plaques and signs or swastika daubs at the memorial in the past. A complaint was also filed in the most recent case.
The Executive Vice President of the International Auschwitz Committee, Christoph Heubner, said that survivors of the German concentration and extermination camps saw the act "as a direct attack on all the people who were murdered in the camps and as an attack on the German culture of remembrance". The Buchenwald camp community spoke of desecration and political vandalism. "Such attacks are also a result of the change in memory policy that right-wing extremists in the AfD are repeatedly calling for," explained Heubner.
According to the Buchenwald-Dora camp community, the trees were intended to commemorate the German communists Emil Carlebach, Otto Kipp, Erich Loch, Reinhold Lochmann and August Stötzel, the French aircraft designer and entrepreneur Marcel Dassault, and the 1,600 children and young people who lived in prison and died Buchenwald concentration camp did not survive.
The camp community now expects initiatives in the region to set the commemorative signs again. Thuringia's Prime Minister Ramelow announced on Twitter that he would be involved in planting new trees. Ramelow wrote: "When trees are cut down in order to erase the memory of the atrocities, then the crime is committed again." That says a lot about the attitude of the perpetrators. Hate and hatred would destroy hearts.
According to the memorial, the sawed-off memorial trees stood near the route of the former Buchenwald railway, which the National Socialists used to bring people from all over Europe to the concentration camp. It is a little outside of the actual memorial site. It was not the first destruction of trees at this point, according to a spokesman. Planting had to be replaced a few years ago.
The Nazis deported 280,000 people to the Buchenwald concentration camp. About 56,000 of them were murdered or died from starvation, disease and medical experiments. On April 11, 1945, US troops liberated the camp. Thousands of prisoners had previously died on so-called death marches.