signal corp

Florence Violet McKenzie

(1890–1982) Electrical engineer

Florence Violet McKenzie was the first female electrical engineer in Australia. Her focus was wireless radio and she was the first Australian woman to have an amateur radio operator’s license. She was a lifelong advocate for women’s technical education and founded the Women’s Emergency Signalling Corps in 1939 so women volunteers could replace men in civilian communications when they joined the armed forces during World War II.

Number 183 in an ongoing series celebrating remarkable women in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

Dunes. August 1975.      

“For Denny Livengood, a superintendent at Federal Sign and Signal Corp, signs have beauty, shape and grace and personalities as varied as the artists, glass-blowers, engineers and electricians who work for his company. ‘I suppose if the architects had their way, there’d be no signs on our buildings.’ he said, circling a group of dead bulbs on a sketch of the Dunes sign. ‘And if we had ours, there’d be no buildings, just signs.’ The $500,000 Dunes sign is 18 stories high, weighs almost as much as five 747 jumbo jets, and contains 7,200 light bulbs … Its servicing requires three full-time employees who ride a special monorail elevator inside the structure, which at night is visible to pilots 100 miles away. ‘You have to crawl through the sign and along an outside railing to re-lamp the diamond on top,’ Livengood said. ‘You need a perfect day to do it. No wind, not too hot. Otherwise you’re in trouble up there, with the sign swaying three or four feet.’” – Los Angeles Times 6/19/71

Nagasaki after the atomic bomb

At 11:02 a.m. on Aug. 9, 1945, the bomb, nicknamed “Fat Man,” exploded approximately 500 meters above Nagasaki, Japan. It instantly killed an estimated 70,000 of the city’s population. Three days earlier, on Aug. 6, 1945, an American B-29 Superfortress bomber called Enola Gay dropped a uranium-235 bomb on Hiroshima, eventually killing at least 140,000 people. It was the first and only time nuclear weapons have been used. Their destructive power was unprecedented, incinerating buildings and people and leaving lifelong scars on survivors, not just physical but also psychological, and on the cities themselves. Days later, World War II was over.

On the 72nd anniversary of the U.S. atomic bombing of Nagasaki and amid growing tension between Washington and North Korea, here’s a look back at that fateful event. (AP/Getty images)

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Destroyed Urakami Cathedral is see just after the atomic bomb was dropped in Aug. 1945 in Nagasaki, Japan. (Photo: Yasuo Tomishige/The Asahi Shimbun via Getty Images)

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Almost nothing remained of this district in Nagasaki, Japan, as the result of the atomic bomb attack. (Photo: Corbis via Getty Images)

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Four months after the U.S. atomic bombing of Nagasaki, an unidentified person stands beside a seared tree amid ruins and rubble, Nagasaki, Japan, Dec. 9, 1945. (Photo: Alfred Eisenstaedt/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)

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Keloids cover the back of a survivor of the Nagasaki atomic bomb. Keloids are dense, fibrous growths that grow over scar tissue. (Photo: Corbis via Getty Images)

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The remains of Mitsubishi steel plant, which was 1 ½ miles from where the U.S. dropped an atomic bomb in Nagasaki, Japan. (Photo: Bernard Hoffman/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)

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A female Nagasaki atomic bomb victim receives a treatment at Shin Kozen Elementary School in Aug. 1945 in Nagasaki, Japan. (Photo: Yasuo Tomishige/The Asahi Shimbun via Getty Images)

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Former business district of Nagasaki in Sept. 1945 where 18,000 hotels, office buildings and homes once stood before the total devastation of the U.S. atomic bomb dropped a month earlier. (Photo: Bernard Hoffman/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)

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Remains of trolley car in foreground, 2 ½ miles from where the U.S.dropped an atomic bomb in Nagasaki, 1945 (Photo: Bernard Hoffman/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)

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A small atomic bomb survivor receives a treatment at temporary hospital set at Shin Kozen Elementary School on Sept. 23, 1945 in Nagasaki, Japan. (Photo: Yasuo Tomishige/The Asahi Shimbun via Getty Images)

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Completely destroyed Urakami Cathedral is seen, 500 meters from the epicenter of Nagasaki atomic bomb, in Aug. 1945 in Japan. (Photo: Eiichi Matsumoto/The Asahi Shimbun via Getty Images)

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Lieutenant Colonel Kermit Beahan, who dropped an atomic Bomb in Nagasaki, is shown in Chicago Ill., on Sept. 19, 1945. (Photo: Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images)

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Devastation left after an atomic bomb exploded over Nagasaki, Japan, on Aug. 9 1945. No precise date is given for the photo, which was taken not long after the explosion. (Photo: U.S. Signal Corps/AP)

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The hospital at Nagasaki Medical College, located only 800 meters from ground zero, was destroyed when the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city at the end of World War II on Aug. 9. 1945. Only the reinforced concrete buildings remain standing. (Photo: Corbis via Getty Images)

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This is the type of atomic bomb exploded over Nagasaki, Japan, in World War II, the Atomic Energy Commission and Defense Department said in releasing this photo in Washington, Dec. 6, 1960. The weapon, known as the ‘Fat Man’ type, is 60 inches in diameter and 128 inches long. The second nuclear weapon to be detonated, it weighed about 10,000 pounds and had a yield equivalent to approximately 20,000 tons of high explosive. (Photo: AP)

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August 1945 damage from the atomic bombing of the Japanese City of Nagasaki at the end of world war two. (Photo: Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty Images)

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A Japanese civilian pushes his loaded bike down a path which has been cleared of the rubble. On either side of the path debris, twisted metal, and gnared tree stumps fill the area in Nagasaki on Sept. 13, 1945. This is in the center of the devasted area. (Photo: Bettmann/Getty Images)

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The crew of the United States Army Air Forces B-29 Superfortress ‘Bockscar’, which dropped the atomic bomb ‘Fat Man’ on the Japanese city of Nagasaki on Aug. 9, 1945. Front row, left to right: flight engineer John D. Kuharek, gunner and assistant flight engineer Ray Gallagher, tail gunner Albert Dehart, radio operator Abe Spitzer, unknown. Back row, left to right: bombardier Raymond ‘Kermit’ Beahan, navigator James Van Pelt, co-pilot Charles Donald Albury, co-pilot Fred Olivi and pilot Major General Charles W. Sweeney. (Photo: FPG/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

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A young man lies on a mat with burns covering his body, after falling victim to the explosion of the atom bomb over Nagasaki, Japan, 1945. (Photo: Corbis via Getty Images)

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A child with her mother in Nagasaki on the morning after the dropping of the atomic bomb, Aug. 10, 1945. Both have received a rice dumpling from emergency supplies. They were 1.5 km southeast of the Epicenter. (Photo: Galerie Bilderwelt/Getty Images)

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Smoke billows over the Japanese city of Nagasaki after an atomic bomb was dropped on the city Aug. 9, 1945. (Photo: Stringer/Reuters)

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Battered religious figures rest among the rubble of Nagasaki after the atomic bombing of the city by American armed forces on Aug. 9, 1945. (Photo: Corbis via Getty Images)

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Men who helped drop the second war-stopping atomic bomb on Nagasaki, Japan, study a map of their objective shortly before the take off of the B-29 “77” which dropped the bomb on Aug. 9, 1945. Left to right: Capt. Theo J. Van Kirk, navigator, who also made flight aboard the ‘Enola Gay’ when it dropped the first atom bomb on Hiroshima; Major Sweeney, commanding officer of the 393 bomb squadron and pilot. (Photo: Bettmann/Getty Images)

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View of the radioactive plume from the bomb dropped on Nagasaki City, as seen from 9.6 km away, in Koyagi-jima, Japan, Aug. 9, 1945. The U.S. B-29 superfortress Bockscar dropped the atomic bomb nicknamed ‘Fat Man,’ which detonated above the ground, on northern part of Nagasaki City just after 11am. (Photo: Hiromichi Matsuda/Handout from Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum/Getty Images)

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General view in July 1946 of the Nagasaki Medical School in Japan. It was located at about one kilometer from where the American atomic bomb was dropped. The structure of the buildings held but debris and fallen trees are everywhere. One year after the explosion, the ruins of the bombing are still in evidence. The city, which is still radio-active, has been deserted by the survivors. (Photo: Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images)

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Nagasaki in ruins after the atomic bombing of Aug. 9, 1945. (Photo: Roger Viollet/Getty Images)

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Only the reinforced concrete buildings of the Nagasaki Medical College hospital remain standing after the United States dropped its second atomic bomb on Aug. 9, 1945. The hospital was located 800 meters from ground zero of the atomic bomb explosion. (Photo: Corbis via Getty Images)

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The shapes of a man and ladder on the wooden wall of a factory is seen about 4 km away from where the atomic bomb ‘Fat Man’ was dropped on an unknown day of August, 1945 in Nagasaki, Japan. The areas shadowed by a man and ladder remained unburnt by the energy of the ‘Fat Man’ bomb dropped in Nagasaki on Aug. 9, 1945. (Photo: The Asahi Shimbun via Getty Images)

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One building still stands in a cityscape devastated by the atom bomb on Nagasaki, Japan. (Photo: Corbis via Getty Images)

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The flight crews of two planes go over planes for the dropping of the first atomic bombs. The middle-aged man in the center is Lt. Col. Payette. On the left, in the foreground in profile is Lt. Ralph Devore. The man looking over Payette’s shoulder is Major Chuck Sweeney. Sweeney commanded and Devore flew with the mission to drop the second bomb on Nagasaki. To the right in profile are Lts. Thomas Ferebee (in cap, with mustache) and Morris Jeppson, both of whom flew with the first mission to bomb Hiroshima. (Photo: Corbis via Getty Images)

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‘American Samurai’

Two color guards and color bearers of the Japanese-American 100th Battalion, 442d Combat Team, stand at attention, while their citations are read. They are standing on ground in the Bruyères area, France, where many of their comrades fell. November 12 1944
(Bruyères is a commune in the Vosges department in Lorraine in northeastern France)

Through a series of costly battles—first in Italy, then in France—the 442nd Regimental Combat Team would become the most highly decorated unit of its size and length of service in the history of the U.S. Army, receiving an unprecedented 8 Presidential Unit Citations, 21 Medals of Honor, and 9,486 Purple Hearts.

The 4,000 men of the team who first went into action in 1943 had to be replaced three and a half times to make up for those who were killed, wounded, and missing in action. They helped win Japanese Americans’ personal battle as well, proving that their loyalty to the United States was beyond question. On July 15, 1946, the survivors of the 442nd marched down Constitution Avenue in Washington, D.C., becoming the first military unit returning from the war to be reviewed by President Harry S. Truman. “You fought not only the enemy,” President Truman told them that day, “you fought prejudice, and you have won.”

(Photo source - US Signal Corps SC196716)

(Colorized by Jared Enos from the USA)

US Captain Willard V. Horne, Communications Officer hands the BC-603 receiver of the SCR-528 mobile radio to Lt. Stanley James.
They are an M4A3 Sherman B-17 from ‘B’ Company, 25th Tank Battalion, 14th Armored Division in the Alsace town of Ohlungen. March 24, 1945.

(Note the M-1 Carbine leaning against the Sherman turret)

(Willard V. Horne died in January 2015 aged 93)

(Photo source - US Army Signals Corps)

(Colourised by Royston Leonard from the UK)

The YWCA was one of several organizations that comprised the United War Work Campaign, which was formed to support war relief efforts at home and overseas during World War I. As a women’s organization, the YWCA was responsible for providing support to female war workers such as the switchboard operator pictured in this poster. Known as the Hello Girls, hundreds of women served in the Signal Corps Female Telephone Operators Unit. 

YWCA. World War I poster. circa 1917-1918. New-York Historical Society.

In the foreground is U.S. sniper Pfc. Edward J. Foley, Co ‘G’, 143rd Infantry, 36th Infantry Division cleaning his Springfield 1903A4 rifle, Near Velletri, Lazio, Italy. 29 May 1944.

Bill Gorman, a veteran who served with Foley stated “Foley soon realized being a sniper was not a good career” It brought too much fire to him. Gorman also stated that “the 5 shot 1903A4 bolt sniper rifle - with a 4 power scope was a waste” Foley swapped it for an M1 Garand and took the helmet camo off.

On the 18th of May the 143rd Regiment sailed from the port of Pozzuoli near Naples and closed in at the Anzio beach head on the following day. On the morning of May 23d, the Regiment jumped off in an attack to break out of the beach head and entered the line on the road to Rome near the town of Velletri.

The Division, in a daring maneuver, sent the 142d Infantry and the 143 Infantry from the left flank squarely across the Division front under cover of darkness and the two regiments infiltrated to the rear of Velletri, up a 2,000-foot peak before the Germans realized what had happened. With the capture of the hills in rear of Velletri, the town folded and the race to Rome was on. Charging through the Alban Hills, the regiment arrived in the outskirts of Rome about 4 p.m. on the afternoon of June 4th, 1944.

(Nb: Foley came from 10 Odile St., Methuen, Massachusetts. He appears to be wearing Corcoran Jump boots)

(Source - US Army Signal Corps)

(Colourised by Benjamin Thomas from Australia)

Dr. Klaus Schilling on the gallows at Landsberg, Germany, 28 May 1946. Schilling was convicted at the Dachau war crimes trials for conducting infectious disease experiments on prisoners. 

United States Army Signal Corps

Wartime in the Pacific Northwest (National Geographic, 1942)

“What Is War, Sis? Why Are Our Names on These Tags?”

They talk English, played American games in Seattle’s public schools, claim this their native land. But now to internment. “Probably not five percent of the thousands we’re interning would be dangerous if left at large,” said a provost marshal’s aide. “But how to identify that small percentage? So we coral all.”

Who Says All Orientals Are “Inscrutable”? These Japanese, Arriving at an Evacuation Camp, Plainly Show They’re Worried

This is “Old Home Week” at Camp Harmony Assembly Center, Puyallup, Washington. Thousands of men, women, and children–rich and poor alike–were brought here with their hand baggage. Many are sent inland points, to help on farms. In all, about 112,000, west-coast Japanese are being evacuated.

”If We Grab His Gun, No Enemy Can Take Pot Shots at Us”

So says Washington’s Chief of State Patrol, James Pryde. All Japanese and other aliens must surrender firearms, ammunition, radios, cameras, binoculars, etc., for war’s duration. Seized items are in a vault at the Capitol, Olympia.

Time and Again Soldiers Stopped and Searched The Geographic’s Car

This had to be. In war, no exception to sentry’s orders. Here, for example, a bridge is guarded. Any saboteur, if unchecked, might drive out and damage the structure.

On This “Filter Board” Lettered Blocks Show Movements of Planes in a Sector

Volunteer aircraft watchers, posted on beaches, hilltops, and roofs, telephone in their reports. Trained girls–in this case Chinese–push the blocks about, showing where each plane is reported on the map.

Canadian Volunteer, Veterans of Other Wars, Guard the Long, Wild Coast that Stretches from Vancouver North to Alaska

Similar companies protect new air bases hidden here and there on wooded islands of the coast. Civilian groups known as Rangers, made up of farmers, woodsmen and trappers, who know all the trails, share coast defense patrols. Bears often venture into lonely camps, trying to steal food. Scotch broom in background.

[Just noticed the Asian-Canadian veteran on the far right. Like the image of ‘Chinese girls’ above, it makes an interesting–and unremarked upon–contrast with the image of the white Pacific Northwest in the article. First nations are likewise largely invisible in the photographs, except indirectly below.]

Strange Totem-pole Faces Stare Down on Soldiers Quartered in an Indian Council House

Other troops bunk in schoolhouses and lodge rooms. Infantry, coast artillery, signal corps men, and airplane and inshore patrol crews are on duty along the lonely stretches of our Pacific coast. Together with motorized guns and quartermaster trucks, one also sees a rolling dental laboratory.

[Text by J. Baylor Roberts, photographs by Frederick Simpich in National Geographic Magazine, October 1942, Vol. LXXXII, Issue Four, 421-464]

UK. Northern Ireland. Belfast. March 19, 1988. Fr Reid gives the last rites to David Howes, one of two soldiers killed by the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) – an event known as the “corporals killings” – after they drove into a Republican funeral cortège. This iconic photo shows bloodstains on his face which were from his attempts to give mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.

Father Alec Reid (1931– 2013) was an Irish Catholic priest noted for his facilitator role in the Northern Ireland peace process, a role BBC journalist Peter Taylor subsequently described as “absolutely critical” to its success. He acted as an intermediary between the IRA and the Irish government.

In a recent interview on the BBC Reid spoke for the first time about the terrible events of 1988 when he attempted to intervene to save the lives of Derek Wood and David Howes, two Signals Corps corporals who had blundered into a Republican funeral cortège.

Reid recalled seeing the soldiers being taken from their car, partially stripped and dragged to a sports ground. “They put the two of them face down on the ground and I got down between the two of them on my face, and I had my arm around this one and I was holding this one by the shoulder. When I was lying between the two soldiers I remember saying to myself, ‘This shouldn’t be happening in a civilized society.’”

“Somebody came in and picked me up and said, ‘Get up, or I’ll ——ing well shoot you as well,’ and he said, ‘Take him away.’ Two of them came on either shoulder and manoeuvred me out.” He went on: “I can remember the atmosphere. You could feel it. I knew they were going to be shot. I can remember thinking, ‘They are going to shoot these men.’”

The IRA took the soldiers away and he heard two shots. He found Howes, 23, already dead, but 24-year-old Derek Wood was still moving and attempting to talk. Reid tried to give him the kiss of life, during which his face became smeared in blood. But it was too late so he gave him the last rites. “One of my abiding memories of that day,” Reid recalled, “is of a local woman putting a coat over one of the victims and saying, ‘he was somebody’s son’.”

“I felt I had done my best to save them, but I had failed to save them,” Reid recalled. “I felt it was a tragedy that I had tried to stop and didn’t.”

Photograph: Trevor McBride

Sergeant Elms of 16/5 Lancers and his tank crew at El Aroussa; Trooper Bates, Royal Armoured Corps, Signalman Bower, Royal Corps of Signals, and Trooper Goddard, Royal Armoured Corps, clean the 6-pounder gun of their Crusader tank while preparing for the drive on Tunis.


GERMANY. Nordhausen. April 1945. Mittelbau-Dora concentration camp. A series of posts for all the Nazi apologists and Holocaust revisionists/negationists. [Part 1 of 5]

(1) (2) (3) Hundreds of bodies clad in grey and white striped prison uniforms are laid out in rows at Mittelbau-Dora concentration camp. This is what US troops found after they took control of the camp.

(4) Dying prisoners.

(5) A Polish boy and his father bury the corpse of the boy’s grandmother who died at Nordhausen.

(6) National Archives description: “These two staring, emaciated men are liberated inmates of Lager Nordhausen, a Gestapo concentration camp. The camp had from 3,000 to 4,000 inmates. All were maltreated, beaten and starved”. April 12, 1945.  

(7) (8) (9) Supervised by American soldiers, German civilians from the town of Nordhausen bury the corpses of prisoners found at the Mittelbau-Dora concentration camp in mass graves. The Allies insisted that the male citizens of Nordhausen bury the dead. Although the German civilians denied knowledge of the conditions in the camps, the Allies suspected they were fully aware of the situation. The camps and tunnels were less than two miles from the town of Nordhausen.

Photographs: United States Army Signal Corps/Library of Congress/United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

Mittelbau-Dora (aka Dora-Mittelbau, Nordhausen and Nordhausen-Dora) was a German Nazi concentration camp located near Nordhausen in Germany. It was established in late summer 1943 as a subcamp of Buchenwald concentration camp, supplying labour for extending the nearby tunnels in the Kohnstein and for manufacturing the V-2 rocket and the V-1 flying bomb. In the summer of 1944, Mittelbau became an independent concentration camp with numerous subcamps of its own.

There were no sanitary facilities except for barrels that served as latrines. Inmates (the majority of them from the Soviet Union, Poland or France) died from hunger, thirst, cold and overwork. The prisoners were subject to extreme cruelty. As a result they often suffered injuries, including permanent disability and disfigurement, and death. Severe beatings were routine, as was deliberate starvation, torture and summary executions. Common causes of death also included tuberculosis, pneumonia, starvation, dysentery, and trauma.

In early April 1945, as US troops were advancing, the SS decided to evacuate most of the Mittelbau camps. In great haste and with considerable brutality, the inmates were forced to board box cars. Several trains, each with thousands of prisoners, left the area through 6 April for Bergen-Belsen, Sachsenhausen and Ravensbrück (other concentration camps). Others were forced to walk through the Harz hills towards the northeast. Those unable to keep up with these death marches were summarily shot by the guards. The worst atrocity occurred at Gardelegen, known as the Gardelegen massacre. More than 1,000 prisoners from Mittelbau and Neuengamme subcamps were murdered in a barn that was set on fire. Those who were not burned alive were shot by SS, Wehrmacht and men of the Volkssturm.

Overall, although no reliable statistics on the number of deaths on these transports exist, estimates put the number of prisoners killed at up to 8,000.

As most of the camps of the Mittelbau system were completely evacuated, there were not many prisoners left alive to be liberated by the Allies. Only some small subcamps, mostly containing Italian POWs were not evacuated. The SS also left several hundred sick prisoners at Dora and in the Boelcke-Kaserne. They were freed when US troops reached Nordhausen on 11 April 1945. There were also around 1,300 dead prisoners at the barracks.

War correspondents took pictures and made films of the dead and dying prisoners at Dora. Like the documentation of Nazi atrocities at Bergen-Belsen, these were published around the globe and became some of the best-known testimonies of Nazi crimes.

The protective-custody camp leader, SS-Obersturmfuhrer Hans Karl Moeser, was sentenced to death by hanging. In his trial statement he said:

“The same way, with the same pleasure, as you shoot deer, I shoot a human being. When I came to the SS and had to shoot the first three persons, my food didn’t taste good for three days, but today it is a pleasure. It is a joy for me.”

In total, even conservative estimates put the number of people who did not survive being sent to Mittelbau-Dora at over 20,000. Thus, around one in three of those confined here did not survive.

Today, the site hosts a memorial and museum.