The camp national-Socialist: 1937-1945the construction of the camp
May 20th, 1936 have place of the talks between Fritz Sauckel, representative of Reich in Thuringe and the Inspector of the concentration camps Theodor Eicke, during which they decide to move towards Thuringe, the concentration camp of Lichtenburg " for reasons of sécurité". With the image of the camp of Sachsenhausen meadows of Berlin, the camp of Thuringe must incarnate a new type of concentration camp which must combine of a " manner optimale" organisational, political and economic interests of the S. It is necessary 4 more months so that the site of the future camp planned for 8000 prisoners is selected: it is about the mountain of Ettersberg in Weimar, the symbol city of Traditional of the German culture Goethe, Schiller, Nietsche… However the Ettersberg term being associated with Goethe the camp will be renamed Buchenwald.
On the entirely wooded northern slope of 190 hectares the first huts are built. July 15th, 1937 arrive by van 149 prisoners craftsmen of the camp of Sachsenhausen. The prisoners must clear, install the water pipelines and pose electrical installations, build the roads and the ways, the barracks, the casinos, horse a horse-gear, the villas of the S… The work conditions and the lack of adequate equipment cause many victims. The camp of the prisoners is traversed of an electric current of 380 volts, on the door is forged: „Its owed each one “(Jedem das the Seine).
German political prisoners. The range of the political prisoners who carry a red badge on their uniform is very broad: socio-democrats, Communists, trade unionists, liberals, democrats, pacifist, religious catholic and Protestant, but also of the claimants, the conscientious objectors even of the members of the NSDAP. Their detention varies few months with plusieures years for those which see being prolonged into preventive a imprisonment for high treason or former members of Parliament. Until 1942 Gestapo interns 18 members of the Parliament. In 1937 the members of the Communist party train the majority of the political prisoners. They continue with Stalinist heats the fight against their opponents inside even of the left and the " déviationnistes" what sometimes constitutes a threat for those which think differently. In 1938-39 the majority of the internments is related to the preparations of the war. Are then interned objectors of conscienc and former members of the KPD, SPD, trade unions and parties of the center. July 1st, 1937 the policies account for 21% of manpower (1621 out of 7723 prisoners).
The Témoins of Jéhovah which by religious convictions refuse to achieve the military service and to lend oath of fidelity to the mode are also interned. They must carry the purple badge there. They are 477 on December 16th, 1938 and as from 1940 between 250 and 300.
professional criminal prisoners (BV). is people condemned on several occasions for criminal acts and stopped by prevention. In Buchenwald are among the Greens (color of the criminals), as of the beginning of the criminals violent one and dangerous who mark the atmosphere of the camp especially of 1937 to 1938. Hubert Richter for example take part in L first execution. Island lose their influence in 1941.
the refractory prisoners „with work “(ASR) are men suited to the work which „twice refused a proposal for an employment without valid reasons or which accepted an employment but after one short period resigned without valid reasons “.: beggars, homeless people, alcoholics, vagrants. To the camp of Buchenwald, which by this action makes control on 4000 new workers forced for the construction of the camp, enter the last week of 1938 the challenged first. Among the 2378 men who enter in Buchenwald between the 14 and on June 19th, 1938, 1256 are Jewish. Thus Action-June becomes the first massive arrest of Jews in Germany and Austria, in direct connection with the policy of emigration forced of the Jews of 1938.
Homosexual For the Nazis who affirm that the reproduction is the only goal of sexuality, homosexuality does not constitute only one attack with normality, but especially a biological threat for the Community of the People. In always limited number, they remain in the community of the always isolated and banished prisoners. They are 30 into 1938,189 in 1944.
The Roms Hundreds of them are brought to Buchenwald following the massive arrests of June 1938 and are classified by the S. in category ASR. Many dies of daily violences and the forced labor. As of their arrival in June 1938 they are publicly whipped or maltreated. A third of them dies during the winter 1939-40 in Buchenwald. From 1940 the S envoyent them with the camp of Mauthausen to make them die in the career.
Austrian The first foreign prisoners, deportees as Reichsdeutsche, are Austrians taken along to Dachau in September 1938. At the beginning of October 1938 the prisoners arrive of the prison of the police force of Vienna, with among them of senior officials.
prisoners of the occupied countries
The number of the prisoners of Buchenwald is multiplied by 10 of April 1942 (approximately 8400 prisoners) at the end of September 1944. From 1943 the camp is inhabited by two great groups of prisoners: constrained workers of Soviet Union and Poland, and political prisoners of occupied Europe. More half of the prisoners of Buchenwald have in December 1944 than twenty years less.
Polish More half of the 4514 interned Poles with Buchenwald until end 1941 in fact are stopped at the beginning of the occupation in September 1939. Much of them dies at the time of the first months, others leave at the beginning of March 1940 for Mathausen. Regarded as lower race they are tolerated as much as they can work. In April 1944 they are 22120.
Dutch With the deportation of 232 Dutch hostages, whose 14 women who are led to the camp of Ravensbrück July 21st and 22nd 1940, are added until October 1940 124 Netherlanders. They are under special detention conditions (They are insulated, can receive parcels and do not work). Following the death of a German police officer, 400 Jewish men from 25 to 30 years of Rotterdam and Amsterdam are off-set. 389 enter in Buchenwald on February 28th, 1941. The conditions of the Dutch Jews are unbearable.
Belgian and Luxembourg The first Luxembourgers of Buchenwald are 26 members of the voluntary police force who in August refused to fight the partisans. The increase in the internments of Belgians and Dutchman in 1944 is due above all to the intensification of measurements of reprisals of the police force to fight resistance. November 15th, 1944 2354 Belgians, 595 Dutchmen and 82 Luxembourgers in the camp are
Police officers Danish The German soldiers started to fear the Danish police force towards the end of the summer 1944. September 19th, 1944 at 11 a.m. the Germans penetrated with violence in the police headquarters of all the country. They are sent to Neuengamme in October 1943 then in Buchenwald (block 57 of the small camp). 60 die in Buchenwald.
Prisoners of the Protectorate At the end of September 1939 of Dachau 700 prisoners arrive coming from occupied and renamed Czechoslovakia " Protectorate of Bohemian and Moravie". The internment increases at mid the 1943. The repressive measurements founded in 1942 after the attack successful against Reinhard Heydrich make pass from 600 mid 1943 to 5000 in October 1944 the number of Czech. 773 of 7800 interned Czech will die in Buchenwald.
Prisoner of war A special place among the foreign prisoners is held by the prisoners of war who are delivered by Wehrmacht for execution. April 18th, 1940 Gestapo de Kassel delivers 56 priests Polish officers.
Civil prisoners of Soviet Union Mid 1942 at the beginning of 1943 Gestapo de Thuringe, Hesse, Saxony and the Rhineland intern 400 Soviet forced workers. They are particularly badly treated by the S. and deprivations of food undergo. they almost all are assigned to commando X, the commando in charge of the construction of the arms factories of the camp or to the career. Mortality is such as the S give up recording their death officially. They will be more than 17.000 on the whole.
French Among the prisoners of almost 30 countries, French constitutes at the beginning of 1944 the greatest group. As of on April 10th, 1942, the military staff in France under the order of Hitler orders that „for each attack, in addition to the execution of certain people, 500 Communists and Jews will be to give to the reichsführer and chief of the police force of Reich to be off-set “. Interned in Compiegne, approximately 50.000 people leave for Auschwitz and since 1943 for other camps, of which Buchenwald: All are not communist. From June 1943 in August 1944 arrive 10 convoys transporting more than 13000 prisoners. On the whole the number of off-set French with Buchenwald is estimated at 25000. Moreover more approximately 1000 Frenchwomen are in commandos external. They play a significant part in the resistance of the foreign prisoners.
Italian The first Italians of Buchenwald arrive of the prison of Sulmona close to Rome after the cease-fire which the Italians and the allies sign in September 1943. In 1944 transport of political prisoners is followed coming in particular from the dreaded prison of the police force Risiera in San Sabba close to Trieste. From June in November 1944 the S intern 1290 Italians with Buchenwald: Other Italians in particular those having taken part in the war of Spain in the international brigades arrive in transport of Compiegne. Approximately a third of 3500 off-set Italian dies in Buchenwald.
Yugoslav and Croatian In the statistics of the camp the S make a difference between the Yugoslavians and the Croats. The first Yugoslavians arrive the summer 1941. They remain isolated. A transport of Flossenburg in October 1943 makes pass the manpower of the Yugoslavians with 759 at the end of 1943. Semi June 1944, 575 Yugoslavians and 327 Croatian are in Buchenwald.
Military allied In August 1944 the command of the police force of safety in France, orders to empty the Parisian prisons and the camp of Compiegne of the allied prisoners being there. The majority of the prisoners are off-set on August 20th, 1944 with Buchenwald. Among them 167 pilots killed in France including 82 American, 48 British, 26 Canadians, 9 Australian, 2 New Zealanders and 1 jamaïcain. Among the prisoners who arrive on August 17th, 1944 are also 37 members of the secret services, stopped in France. The central Office of the Safety of Reich orders for them „a special treatment “. Of at the beginning of September at the semi October 34 of them are hung in the cellar of crématorium. Only three could be saved.
The Norwegian students November 30th, 1943, approximately 1250 students of the university of Oslo are stopped and interned in a camp in Norway. As they protested against the nazification of the university, they must be used as example for the program of rehabilitation. 348 are led to Buchenwald. In July 1944. the first student leaves Buchenwald, in October the last one leaves. The 17 of them died.
the administration S
Section I: Kommandantur of the camp Buchenwald had two commanders: SS-Standartführer Karl Koch (of July 1937 in December 1941) and SS-Oberführer Hermann To track (January 1942 in April 1945). They are named by the Inspection of the concentration camps. They result both from modest milieus of the company, follow average school studies, take part as a soldier in the First World War and are members of the S before 1933. Their commands are however very different, not only because of their character and their course within the S dissimilar, but also because of the general terms which transform the concentration camp into camp of work. These conditions will return brutal Karl Koch superfluous and will promote the Pister bureaucrat. Koch have 5 adjudants. Harting Block (1937), Johannes Wellershaus (1937), Hans Hüttig (1938-39), Hermann Hackmann (1939-40) and Heinz Büngeler (1941-42). After the departure of Büngeler, Pister will have only one adjudant: Hans Schmidt. Among the adjudants of Koch Hermann Hackmann to the reputation to be a particularly corrupted and dangerous S. He is condemned with Koch in 1944 by a special court for worsened flight of goods of Reich, and is excluded from the S. Under the reign of Koch, the blocks and commandosführers without scruples and corrupted have a great chance of promotion and do not have anything to fear if a prisoner badly is treated or carried out „during an escape “.
Section II: the political section. The appendix of Gestapo in the camp is called the political section. The civils servant question, torture the prisoners. From 1942 to 1945 Walter Serno of it is the person in charge. Until 1942, the S carry out the interrogations personally, very often by violence. In addition to its functions, it continues the political activities undertaken by the prisoners while making use of a network of spies.
Section III: Direction of the camp of insulation. Section III dictates the timetable of the prisoners and obtains their absolute tender. Each day starts and finishes by long counting on the place of call, on which in general, the whole of the camp must arise, until have place the recording of manpower. 1st Lagerführer of the camp, the most powerful S after the commander, reigns on the camp It names the prisoners civils servant, orders controls of the blocks and dictates measurements of daily terror. As in other camps the S. recruit in Buchenwald among the prisoners of the personnel which must carry out in their place work creature of habit. They delegate to some part of administrative work and provisioning. Thus a class of prisoners civils servant appears, who according to their competences and of their station divide themselves into 3 groups: .1 them captive civils servant, leaders of commandos and having a right of sanction: seniors of camps, seniors of blocks, capos and controllers. 2 them captive civils servant working in the offices, the warehouses, the kitchens and the infirmaries of the prisoners, 3 them civils servant achieving of particular work, craftsmen of the camp, mail, hairdressers and men of drudgeries. The Jews are excluded until 1939 from all the functions. The nomination of the Jewish seniors of block is only with practical considerations. Other categories of prisoners like Sintés and Roms, the homosexual ones and the majority of the " asociaux" are excluded systematically from the important functions. The führers of the camp of insulation of Buchenwald are described like brutal and odd character, sometimes like notorious drunkards. Among them Jakob Weiseborn, Arthur Rödl, Hermann Florstedt and Hans Hüttig are later named commanders of other concentration camps.
Section III E: Assignment of work. Until the beginning of the war approximately 90% of the prisoners to the construction of the camp Under the command of Koch work, the work of the prisoners is a very snuffed instrument of terror. The productivity and the zeal of the prisoners remain initially secondary. With the end of the first phase of construction, the reflections on the economic exploitation of the work of the prisoners are proposed. The commando of work in charge of the statistics is in charge of accountancy, of the invoicing of the work carried out by the prisoners, the drafting of monthly returns and documents in proof. In this commando in 1938 3 work, at the end of 1944: more than 70.
Section IV: administration Department IV that successively Mohr (1937) directs, Karl Weichdorfer (1937-42) and Otto Barnewald are responsible for the provisioning of the S and the concentration camp, in food, water, electricity, fuel, clothing, equipment and of the installation of the barracks and the huts. On him the kitchens depend and the warehouses of the camp It takes part in the extortion of the goods of the prisoners, with the embezzlement and the traffic of food. Since 1940 the section deals with the taking away of the gold teeth. The camp of Buchenwald sends in March 1944 383 grams of gold, and in April 1944, 504 grams.
Section V: the Medicine of the camp Time of Karl Koch doctors of the camps, which are responsible for the medical monitoring of the members of the S and the prisoners as hygiene often change. The infirmary of the prisoners, also called „revier “, appears in the first months of the camp like place of care for the simple diseases. The construction of an infirmary with several huts and the operating rooms results not from a concern for the health of the prisoners but of the will of the S. more not to be dependant on the hospital of Weimar and the university private clinic on Jena. The operating room of the revier meets all the conditions for sterile operations, sterilizations, émasculations. The enlarging of the infirmary is encouraged by epidemics and arrivals of prisoners. Time of the commander Koch the prisoners doctors do not have the right to exert in the hospital. Following the overpopulation of the camp in 1938, the first epidemic of typhus is declared and led to one week general forty. One year later when the camp is again over-populated, an epidemic of dysentery causes many deaths among the prisoners. Waldemar Hoven is the doctor of the camp longest in function with Buchenwald. That the prisoners write the thesis which will do it doctor in 1943, little before its arrest, its career characterizes perfectly well. It takes part in the medical experiments, with the assassinations of patients, with the selections for the extermination and lets itself corrupt by the commander Koch and the prisoners. With dimensions of Hoven, majority of the doctors S. take part in the crimes against the prisoners. Thus Doctor Werner Kirchert (1937-38) carries out „tests of intelligence “and fact of the requests for sterilization in front of the courts in charge of the hereditary diseases for the prisoners not making a success of successfully these tests. It constrained of homosexual to go voluntary to be émasculés. Under Doctor Erwin Ding (1938-39) starts into 1942 of the experiments on the yellow fever with Buchenwald. Dr. Hans Müller initiates cutting, the tanning and the repair of the skins tattooed and this in such a quantity that Doctor Hoven prohibited, after the departure of this one into 1942 which the manufacture of gift in human skin continues. Doctor Hans Eisele, particularly without scruples towards the Jews, is called by the prisoners „doctor-syringes “or „white death “.
Massacres and mortality in the camp
Massacre of 8000 Soviet prisoners of war. The massacre of Soviet prisoners of war in the concentration camps of the summer 1941 at the summer 1942 fact part of the learnedly organized crimes. Special commandos of the police force in charge of safety are sent in these camps for " to leave the elements politically indésirables". They are then brought in concentration camps for execution: A specific installation is arranged in Buchenwald and in Sachsenhausen in the stable or a part is arranged in cabinet médica: the prisoner at the time when it is measured is killed of a ball in the nape of the neck through an opening perforated in the measuring apparatus and behind which one is or two S. At least 7000 people are thus carried out, sometimes 400 in one night.
Selection and execution of the prisoners " non-viables" The extermination of the Jewish prisoners and the handicapped people inapt for work belong to the action 14f13 which begins in 1941. At least 571 Jewish prisoners of various nationalities are sent to be exterminated at the stations of euthanasia of Bernburg and Sonnnstein.
Deportation and extermination of the Jewish prisoners. January 19th, 1942 between indeed an order of the inspector of the concentration camps, that all the Jewish prisoners inapt for work being in concentration camps are sent to the camp of Lublin. October 8th, 1942 the commander announces 405 Jewish prisoners to be to transport in Auschwitz.
Delivery of the prisoners of the prisons for „extermination by work “ At the end of 1942 begins the delivery of 2300 prisoners " criminels" into preventive in Buchenwald to carry out the hardest travaus: half dies.
Deportations and internments for execution. During the war the central office of the safety of Reich can without lawsuit and death sentence ordering the execution of people held by the police force or modifying the judgments of justice. Often they are also Poles who have a relation with a German woman. The majority of the executions do not take place in front of the prisoners but in the shooting range meadows of the DAW, some times also in the kennels of kommandantur, generally in the court or the cellar of crématorium or are fixed on this end as in a slaughter-house 48 hooks. SS-kommandoführer Hermann Helbig will admit having hung more than 250 people. Eugen Kogon speaks about 1100 men and women assassinated in the cellar.
The autumn the 1944 S hang 34 French, Belgians, English and Canadians, pertaining to the allied secret services. Polish officers in 1943 are also carried out. Finally the deputy of the Parliament and chief of the German Communist party, Ernst Thälmann is killed in the night from August 17th to 18th 1944 in the room of the crematoriums. Convoys of death. The S. do not deprive themselves any more to eliminate the patients and the weak ones by sending them in other camps or by assassinating them by injection from phenol, évipan or air. The destination is initially the camp of Majdanek. The S. send to it on January 15th, 1944 and on February 6th, 1944, 1888 patients and weak of Gilded. Similar transport leaves between 1943 and April 1944 the camps Dachau, Flossenbürg, Mauthausen, Neuengamme, Auschwitz, Ravensbrück and Sachsenhausen.
to mouroir It Small camp The creation of special zones is useful since 1938 before very discharging the camp from an overpopulation which could harm its operation. With the Small camp the S install stables of the 40 meters length Wehrmacht on 10 broad, in which are two lines of 3 or 4 superimposed layers. All transport from 1943 passes there. Forty last on average from 4 to 6 weeks. From May in September 1944 are also drawn up 5 military tents inside the small camp the 5 tents remained the only possible shelters. 200 to 300 children, old men and patients slept there. The others had by any time food around. The S. make build in December 1944, 17 huts in the small camp and make remove the tents. 1800 even 1900 prisoners live in 500 square meters. In January 1945, 6000 prisoners are in the small camp the hunger, dirtiness, of the combat despaired to survive, the contagious diseases reign on the place. A death in mass is the consequence. Approximately 5200 people die in hundred days.
the medical experiments
Because of the epidemics of typhuses which are spread in the prison camps of war, the S propose to test various vaccines on the prisoners. The experiments are undertaken jointly by the S, IG Farben, Wehrmacht and the Institute Robert Koch with block 46. The majority of the contagious diseases will be tested. In 1943 with Block 50 the " settles; Department of research on typhus and the virus" institute of hygiene of Waffen S. During an experiment on the typhus of the Hoechst firm 21 prisoners die out of 39. Certain prisoners " transmetteurs" are used to maintain the viruses alive and at disposal. Their blood is used for the artificial contamination of other prisoners. 35 series of experiments are carried out of August 1942 in October 1943. The majority relates to typhus but also the burns with gas, the yellow fever, resistance to the vaccine against typhus, the paratyphus has and B, the diphteria, various poisons, the effectiveness of the preserved blood serums and treatments against the burns. With the support of Himmler, Dr. Carl Vaernet undertakes experiments on 5 homosexual. At least a thousand of prisoners were used as guinea-pigs to the S., a still unknown number die about it.
The “clandestine International committee” of Buchenwald sees the day the summer 1943 following a secret meeting. The colonel Frederic-Henri Manhès, off-set in 1943, and Marcel Paul, French Communist leader, off-set with Auschwitz, then in Buchenwald in 1944, represented the interests of the French deportees there.
At the end of August 1943, the commando of Dora was created to 80 km in north, near the town of Nordhausen. Initially attached to Buchenwald, it became a concentration camp to whole share in October 1944 under the name of KZ-Mittelbau. Thousands of French were off-set there of which more half died.
At the beginning of April 1945, the Nazis tried to evacuate the camp whereas the American troops approached and precipitated thousands of deportees on the roads, on the " steps of the mort". However the clandestine organization of the camp managed to limit the departures and to take the control of the camp on the S on April 11th, 1945, a few hours before the arrival of the American armoured tanks. The inhabitants of the distant city close to Weimar of approximately 5 km, were requisitioned for the evacuation of the bodies of deportees, the majority of them saying that they were unaware of what occurred then to Buchenwald. The General Eisenhower, liberator of the camp of Buchenwald wished that the German civilians go to the camp very close to Weimar so that each one can note the real horror of the system which they had carried to the capacity in 1933.
In Buchenwald, out of the enclosure of the camp of the deportees, villas were where about fifty personalities whose French Leon Blum or Georges Mandel were interned under noncomparable conditions with those of the concentration camp.
Buchenwald counted many kommandos additional of which Langenstein and Laura.
Some of torture
- Commander Nazi of the camp :
- Karl Otto Koch of 1937 to 1942 (with its wife Ilse Koch)
- Hermann To track of 1942 to 1945
- Hans Aumeier
- Doctor Nazi of the camp :
- Waldemar Hoven (1903-1945)
- Gerhard Rose
- Personal Nazi of the camp :
- Hermann Hackmann
In the concentration camp
- Robert Antelme (which wrote the Mankind on its deportation with the camp)
- Bruno Bettelheim
- Auguste Boncors
- Claude Bourdet
- Georges Brutelle
- Julien Cain
- Marcel Dassault
- Guy Ducoloné
- Raphaël Elizé
- Marie-Gabriel Fugère
- Maurice Halbwachs
- Paul-Emile Janson
- Pierre Kaan
- Imre Kertész
- Julien Lahaut
- Albert Luyat
- Henri Manhès
- Andre Marie
- Henri Maspero
- Marcel Michelin
- Marcel Paul
- Joseph-Paul Rambaud
- Paul Rassinier
- David Rousset
- Hélie of Saint-Marc
- Paul Schneider
- Jorge Semprún
- François de Tessan
- Ernst Thälmann
- Eugene Thomas
- Claude Vanbremeersch
- Elie Wiesel (Nobel Prize of peace 1986)
- Andre Wynen
- Jean Fonteyne
Except concentration camp, in simple detentionDetention conditions of these " prisoners of honneur" have nothing to dohad nothing to do with those of a concentration camp.
After the release
The special camp nº2 of Buchenwald
Between May 1945 and 1950, the camp was used with the imprisonment as political opponents to the Soviet mode, just like three other concentration camps Nazis (of which Torgau).
The special camp ( Speziallager ) number 2 of Buchenwald was created in 1945 at the place even where the old concentration camp was. It was used until 1950 as camp of internment.
As in the majority of the camps, the released prisoners of the concentration camps of the time Nazi could not all regain their country immediately. It ran out of the days, sometimes of the months. The concentration camp of Buchenwald had been released by the American troops, but belonging to the Soviet zone of occupation, it was given to the Soviet troops.
The Soviets used the infrastructure of the camp of Buchenwald, like the Americans with Dachau for example, to intern Nazis, members of NSDAP, collaborators and war criminals, within the framework of the work of denazification fixed by the interallied agreements. Contrary to what was shortly after marked the fall of the Berlin Wall, it is not proven that political opponents with the Soviet occupant were interned there. On the whole, 28000 people (of which approximately 1000 women) would have passed in the special camp. 7000 would have died during their detention, a surmortality due particularly to the lack of food at winter 46/47.
In GDR, the memory of the special camp did not give place to commemoration. It is only after the disappearance of GDR, that the authorities of the FR of Germany encouraged the study and the commemoration of this episode, which led to the design of a permanent exposure on the Speziallager NR. 2 on Ettersberg beside that devoted to the concentration camp. This exposure met the sharp opposition of associations of former deportees of all the countries and the International committee of Buchenwald, which consider that any amalgam represents a dangerous Révisionnisme.
The oak of Goethe
The Nazis made cut down by their prisoners of tens of hectares of forest for the construction of the camp of construction of Buchenwald. A tree, a oak or a beech, placed in the middle of the camp, which according to the legend was that under which the poet, philosopher and playwright Goethe (who lived and died in Weimar) were accustomed to resting, meditating and working, were saved, astonishing symbol of humanistic Germany in the middle of the horror concentrationnaire Nazi. The tree was burned during the allied bombardment of July 1944. A proverb circulated among the deportees: the Nazi Germany should disappear when the oak of Goethe would fall down.
Buchenwald (April 1945) photographs of Jules Rouard
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