Laura – Hell at the Slate Mountain
Between September 1943 and April 1945 existed the subcamp of the concentration camp Buchenwald under the code name “Laura” in Schmiedebach in the Thuringian Slate Mountains. After the Peenemünde army research centre for rockets had been severely hit by Allied air raids, army command relocated the arms production in remote areas and underground. Detainees from Buchenwald had to expand the tunnel system in the former slate quarry “Oertelsbruch” and build an underground production plant for oxygen for the testing of the A4 rocket – later known by the propaganda designation V2 (Vergeltungswaffe 2 – Vengeance weapon 2).
The buildings of the adjacent farm of the quarry were used as accommodation for over 2600 inmates. They came from more than ten nations, most notably France, Poland, the former Soviet Union, Italy and Belgium. Under inhumane conditions they were forced to hard labour to their complete exhaustion. The rough pit work and mistreatment by the guards claimed many victims. At least 560 men lost their lives in Laura. On the morning of the 13th April 1945 the SS evacuated the camp. Almost all inmates were speeded away to the concentration camp Dachau near Munich. Only a few invalids remained at Laura and were liberated by the US Army that same day.
History of the satellite concentration camp Laura between September 1943 and the German unconditional surrender 1945more
The Subcamp System
Slave work for the arms industry - Laura as part of the KZ Buchenwald subcamp systemmore
War plant "Vorwerk Mitte"
History of the rocket production and establishment of the war plant in Lehestenmore
History of slate mining in Lehesten and the establishment of a war plant in the quarry in World War IImore
History of the Memorial Site
Overview and chronicle of the KZ memorial site Laura from post WWII until the re-opening in 2012more
The New Concept for the Memorial
About the process and ideas of the new concept and its realization since 2010more
Publications about the history, background and daily life in the subcamp Lauramore