Concentration camp prisoner at the Roztoky train station, photographed secretly by Vladimír Fyman, April 30, 1945 (Central Bohemian Museum, Roztoky)

The dis­so­lu­tion of the Floss­en­bürg con­cen­tra­tion camp and sub­camps be­gan in ear­ly Ap­ril 1945. Short­ly be­fore the end of the war, thou­sands of pris­on­ers died of ex­haus­tion on the death march­es, or were shot or beat­en to death. Many tried to es­cape.

On April 23, the US Army reached the Floss­en­bürg con­cen­tra­tion camp, where they found 1,500 cri­ti­cal­ly ill in­mates. The ma­jor­i­ty of pris­on­ers had de­part­ed on death march­es. The last death march pris­on­ers were fi­nal­ly lib­er­at­ed by Al­lied troops on May 8.

In ad­di­tion to the thou­sands of pris­on­ers who had just been evac­u­at­ed from the Groß-Ro­sen and Buch­en­wald camps, the SS also re­moved “spe­cial pris­on­ers” to Floss­en­bürg. Some of these spe­cial pris­on­ers, in­clud­ing pas­tor Diet­rich Bon­hoeff­er, were sin­gled out for ex­e­cu­tion.

Before the SS evac­u­at­ed the camp, it erased the trac­es of its mur­der­ous ac­ti­vi­ties. Be­ginn­ing in mid-April, the SS “evac­u­at­ed” over 40,000 pris­on­ers from the main camp and num­er­ous sub­camps to the south. On cha­ot­ic mar­ches that last­ed for many days and trans­ports in open freight cars, the SS at­tempt­ed to herd pris­on­ers away from the ap­proach­ing Allies. Some guards killed en­tire groups of pris­on­ers. Oth­ers de­sert­ed their posts. In many ar­eas, the dead were left be­hind. Many pris­on­ers died of ex­haus­tion and dis­ease even af­ter lib­er­a­tion.

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