24Cemetery of Honour

Stresemannring 50
(Schlageterring)

View of the cemetery of honour
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View of the cemetery of honour, April 1945 (National Archives, Washington)
Commemoration ceremony at the cemetery of honour
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Commemoration ceremony at the cemetery of honour, 13 May 1945 (Stadtarchiv Nordhausen)

In mid-April 1945, the American military administration set up a cemetery of honour on the edge of the municipal cemetery, where mainly concentration camp inmates from the Mittelbau-Dora concentration camp and its subcamp in the Boelcke-Kaserne were buried.

In January 1945, the SS had set up a subcamp of the Mittelbau concentration camp in the Boelcke-Kaserne (Rothenburgstraße), which served as a camp for sick and dying inmates. When American soldiers entered Nordhausen on 11 April 1945, they found more than a thousand dead and still dying inmates in the Boelcke-Kaserne. In the days that followed, the American military administration ordered men from Nordhausen to retrieve the bodies from the Boelcke-Kaserne and bury them in the newly established cemetery of honour on Stresemannring. Within three days, 1278 concentration camp inmates and forced labourers were buried in anonymous mass graves.

In the following weeks, a further 255 people who had died after liberation as a result of concentration camp imprisonment and murderous forced labour were buried at the cemetery of honour. On 13 May 1945, an official funeral service for the victims was held at the cemetery of honour, which was also attended by the people of Nordhausen.

The cemetery of honour was redesigned in 1999 and again in 2023/24. Today, the centrepiece of the cemetery is a memorial which refers in several languages to the origin of the dead from the Boelcke-Kaserne subcamp and the Mittelbau-Dora main camp.

On the edge of the cemetery of honour is a separate burial ground. Soviet forced labourers and prisoners of war who died in and around Nordhausen during the war as well as Soviet soldiers who died after the war as members of the Soviet occupying forces rest here. A memorial from 1946 commemorates the Soviet victims of the war.