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The Liberation of Buchenwald

When the first American soldiers reached the gate of the Buchenwald concentration camp at around 5:00 pm on April 11, 1945, inmate resistance groups had already taken control of the camp.                                                    

One of the inmate partisans was the Frenchman Marcel Paul, who would later serve as chairman of the International Buchenwald Camp Community and minister of industry under Charles de Gaulle. In a questionnaire distributed by the Americans on April 17, 1945, he provided information about his origins, his persecution history, and his aim to return to France. In answer to the question of how he had been treated in custody, he noted, among other things: “ordinary cruelties.” 

The Americans used the survey as an aid in establishing which of the liberated inmates should be released and where they should be repatriated. Marcel Paul’s questionnaire was marked “release”. Along with other documents from the Buchenwald concentration camp, these questionnaires are now in the ITS archive. 

Chronology of the Liberation on the Buchenwald Memorial website.