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Lorenz Schmuhl papers

Document | Digitized | Accession Number: 1995.A.1119 | RG Number: RG-10.137

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    Lorenz Schmuhl papers

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    The Lorenz Schmuhl papers consist of correspondence, writings, diaries, photographs, and documents relating to Major Lorenz Schmuhl's service as the first American commander of the Buchenwald concentration camp after liberation and his work at a DP camp in Wiesbaden, Germany. The collection also includes information about Karl Koch, Kommandant of Buchenwald during World War II, and his wife, Ilse Koch, as well as testimonies and writing about Buchenwald and Lorenz. Photographs include originals and copies of Buchenwald during and after the war.

    Correspondence includes letters, announcements, reports, and other documents regarding requests for assistance, war crime investigations, invitations for gatherings, and other official business as well as some personal correspondence relating to Lorenz’s time as commander of Buchenwald and his work at a DP camp in Wiesbaden. The series also includes correspondence from the Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force.

    The Buchenwald series includes a blank identification card for internees, programs and correspondence for a memorial service, and reports on activity at the camp. The series also includes newspaper clippings relating to the war, Ilse Kock, and interviews with Lorenz about his wartime experiences.

    Writings include articles and papers relating to tattooing in camps and the development of Buchenwald. The article First American Commander of Buchenwald, by R.P. Harrison is based off of an interview with Lorenz and includes enlarged photographs of original images along with captions. This series also includes two diaries written in English by Lorenz Schmuhl from 1942-1945 documenting his time stationed at Fort Benjamin Harrison and his wartime experiences including entries from when he first entered Buchenwald and throughout his time stationed there and at the DP camp. Also included is testimony a several poems provided by various people, some anonymous, acquired by Lorenz.

    Photographs include an album as well as originals and enlarged copies of Buchenwald during the war and post-liberation including images of Karl and Ilse Koch.
    inclusive:  1918-1985
    bulk:  1939-1945
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Robert Schmuhl and Charles Crowley
    Collection Creator
    Lorenz Schmuhl
    Lorenz C. Schmuhl (1898-1988) was born in Three Oaks, Michigan where he worked as the deputy warden for the Indiana State Prison System and was married to a school teacher. Lorenz enlisted in the United States Army at the age of 18 and served in World War I. During World War II he was deployed in May 1944 and arrived at Buchenwald on April 15, 1945 where he served as the first American commander of Buchenwald after liberation. He worked to establish a hospital and bring aid to the area. On April 24, 1945 he was assigned to a DP camp in Wiesbaden, Germany where he continued his efforts. Lorenz retired as a Major in the U.S. Army and had two children, Dorothy and Robert (1925-1997).

    Physical Details

    English German
    2 box
    1 oversize box
    3 oversize folders
    System of Arrangement
    The Lorenz Schmuhl papers are arranged as four series;

    Series 1: Correspondence, approximately 1918-1985
    Series 2: Buchenwald, 1945-1978 and undated
    Series 3: Writings, approximately 1942-1985 and undated
    Series 4: Photographs: approximately 1937-1962

    Rights & Restrictions

    Conditions on Access
    There are no known restrictions on access to this material.
    Conditions on Use
    Material(s) in this collection may be protected by copyright and/or related rights. You do not require further permission from the Museum to use this material. The user is solely responsible for making a determination as to if and how the material may be used.

    Keywords & Subjects

    Geographic Name
    Mannheim (Germany)

    Administrative Notes

    Robert A. Schmuhl, son of Lorenz Schmuhl, donated the Lorenz Schmuhl papers to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 1995. Prior to his death, Lorenz Schmuhl gave enlarged photographs with captions to journalist R.P. Harrison, who donated them to the Library of Congress's Veterans History Project. In 2014, the Library of Congress deaccessioned the material so it could be added to the USHMM's collection, which was accomplished with the help of Lorenz Schmuhl's grandson, Charles Crowley.
    Funding Note
    The accessibility of this collection was made possible by the generous donors to our crowdfunded Save Their Stories campaign.
    Special Collection
    Save Their Stories
    Record last modified:
    2024-04-11 13:18:43
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