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Tuesday, 17 July 2007

Buchenwald Marks 70th Anniversary

WEIMAR, Germany (AP) - Holocaust survivors on Sunday marked the 70th anniversary of the Buchenwald concentration camp's founding by honoring more than 38,000 victims whose identities had previously been unknown.

Buchenwald researchers spent the past decade scouring archives from the United States to Israel and across Germany in an attempt to identify tens of thousands of the estimated 56,000 prisoners who lost their lives at Buchenwald between 1937 and 1945, but had been known only by their camp-assigned numbers.

Archivists at the camp, perched on a hillside overlooking the eastern city of Weimer, were able to identify 38,049 victims and enter their names into a memorial book.

"The Nazis tried to reduce humans to numbers, to rob them of their identity," said Jens Goebel, culture minister for the state of Thuringia, upon handing copies of the book to representatives of survivor groups. "That should not be the last word."

About 8,000 Soviet prisoners of war, as well as some 9,000 who died in death marches as the Nazis tried to evacuate the camp late in World War II, remain unknown.

Most of the early inmates at Buchenwald were political prisoners. But following Kristallnacht - Night of the Broken Glass - in 1938, some 10,000 Jews were sent to the camp. Over the course of World War II, criminals, Jehovah's Witnesses, Roman and German military deserters were also interned at the main camp and its many sub and labor camps.

Guardian: Buchenwald Marks 70th Anniversary