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A History of the Dora Camp

by André Sellier

Bibliographic information

TitleA History of the Dora Camp
AuthorAndré Sellier
PublisherRowman & Littlefield
Publication Date2003


In mid-1943 Nazi Germany entered a crisis from which it was to emerge vanquished. Faced with a shortage of manpower in armaments factories, the Third Reich sent concentration camp prisoners to work as slaves. While the genocide of the Jews and the Gypsies continued at extermination camps, numerous outside "Kommandos" were set up in the vicinity of the large concentration camps. The Dora Camp, located in the center of Germany, was one of the most notorious. Originally a mere Kommando attached to Buchenwald, it became one of the largest Nazi concentration camps. There prisoners were put to work in a huge underground factory, building V-2 rockets, the secret weapon developed by German scientists in an attempt to reverse the course of the war, under the direction of Wernher von Braun. In this dispassionate but powerful account, André Sellier, himself a former prisoner at Dora, tells the dramatic story of the camp, the tunnel factory, and the underground work sites. He has utilized all available documents as well as unpublished testimony from several dozen fellow prisoners. He recounts the horrors of everyday life at Dora-prisoners dying by the hundreds and indescribable suffering-and the murderous "evacuation" of the camp by railroad convoys and death marches, which took place in early 1945 and led to the death of thousands of prisoners. Illustrated with 20 pages of photographs and drawings, and 24 maps.

About the Author 

André Sellier ---

André Sellier, historian and former diplomat, is the co-author (with his son, Jean) of The Atlas of the Peoples of Central Europe and The Atlas of the Peoples of the Orient, published in France. He lives in Paris. Michael Neufeld is curator of the Space History Division of the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum.


The linkage between the Nazi rocket program and the concentration camp system was embodied in the underground facility called Dora, where slave labor was used to build the V-1 and V-2 rockets. . . . Sellier draws on oral histories and primary source documents to re-create the genesis, evolution, and conditions of the camp. . . . Recommended.

--- Library Journal


--- Jens-Christian Wagner

An event...will continue to be revered as a standard work on the topic. I highly recommend it to all readers.

--- Michael J. Neufeld

The definitive and valuable study...a valuable contribution.

--- John Weiss

A fresh view of a horrendous scene.

--- Raul Hilberg

Dora survivor and historian Sellier recounts the history of camp Mittelbau. . . . He supplies a detailed . . . treatment of Mittelbau's subcamps and the 1945 evacuations. . . . As the Reich attempted to cope with the effects of Allied bombing, the Mittelwerk's subterranean forced-labor projects continued to proliferate in 1944. This edition contains an excellent illustrative essay and maps. Recommended.

--- J.R. White; CHOICE

A full-bodied Holocaust story. . . . Sellier delivers an effective tale of yet another site in the Nazis' system of war-making through terrible exploitation.

--- Gerard Alexander; The Virginia Quarterly Review

Complex, nuanced, and balanced. . . . Sellier's book is an important addition to the scholarship on the Holocaust.

--- Michael Peterson, University of Maryland; H-Net: Humanities and Social Science Reviews Online

This is an important contribution to the history of the Holocaust and belongs in every library...

--- Jewish Book World

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