Entrance to rocket factory tunnels V-2 rocket engine, assembly chamber 29

JANUARY 13 - MARCH 31, 2019


Dora: Discovery and Despair


This exhibit features evocative photographs and precious artifacts from the little-known World War II slave labor camp of Mittelbau-Dora. This is the first time Los Angeles has hosted this exhibit and it is the last opportunity to view the artifacts before they are returned to the Mittelbau-Dora Museum in Germany. 

In 1943, the Nazis brought prisoners from Buchenwald to the southern Harz mountainside near Nordhausen, Germany to begin back-breaking construction of what would become the world’s largest underground factory. Mittelbau-Dora became the model for several secret and unrealistic underground industrial complexes that the Nazi leadership planned in reaction to the Anglo-American strategic bombing offensive. Sixty thousand prisoners labored to build the V-1 and V-2 missiles; more than one-third perished. 

Dynamited and sealed after the war, the site of the factory was inaccessible until after Germany’s reunification in 1990.

In 1994, Alvin Gilens, a veteran photographer of Holocaust memorials and sites, was invited by Mittelbau-Dora to document the remains of the camp and factory. The exhibition of his interpretive photographs opened in 1995 at the Meyenberg Museum in Nordhausen, Germany on the 50th anniversary of the liberation of the camp.

The traveling exhibit includes Gilens' original photographs, as well as artifacts unearthed from the tunnels. Mr. Gilens will be present at the opening and his book, "Discovery and Despair: The Dimensions of Dora," will be available for purchase.

Click here for information about the exhibit opening on January 13.