Road into Buchenwald Concentraion Camp

Former SS administration building is now a research library

The photo above shows the library, housed in a former SS administration building, located to the right of the cafeteria at the entrace to the Memorial Site. A sign directs tourists to a path which goes around the corner of this building and leads to the site of the railroad station. The route to the monument also starts around the corner of the building shown above. When the camp was in operation, there were fancy street signs which named the roads and pointed the way to the Zoo and other places in the camp.

The photo below shows the site where the railroad station formerly stood. At this spot, you will see a sign which directs you to the road to the right if you want to take a 20-minute walk to the entrance to the monument. You can also get off at the Glockenturm bus stop on your way back to Weimar and avoid the long walk.

Site of former Buchenwald railroad station

The road to the left of the railroad station takes you into the camp the same way the prisoners entered more than 50 years ago on a road called Carachoweg (Caracho Way). The Spanish word caracho was prison slang for double time. There were a few "Red Spaniards," or Communists that had fought the Fascists in the Spanish Civil War, who were imprisoned at Buchenwald.

Note the Buchenwald gatehouse on the right in the background of the photo below.

Prisoners working inside Buchenwald camp in 1940

Buchenwald became the third major camp in the German concentration camp system on June 3, 1936, when the Inspector of the Concentration Camps, SS General Theodor Eicke, proposed to transfer the concentration camp of Lichtenburg near Berlin to Thuringia, a state in central Germany. The wooded hill called the Ettersberg was officially chosen as the site of the camp on May 5, 1937 and on July 16, 1937, the first 300 prisoners arrived in the camp.

Initially the name of the camp was Konzentrationslager Ettersberg but on August 6, 1937, the name was changed to Konzentrationslager Buchenwald. (Buchenwald means Beech Tree Forest.)

SS Garage on the Carachoweg which leads to gate house

Administration building on right side of the Carachoweg

Commandant's headquarters on the left side of Carachoweg

Gatehouse into former Buchenwald concentration camp

Just after passing the Commandant's office, the road into the camp curves slightly and enters the camp through the gatehouse, shown in the photo above.