The ends of linear eukaryotic chromosomes are protected by telomeres, which serve to ensure proper chromosome replication and to prevent spurious recombination at chromosome ends. In this study, we show by single cell analysis that in the absence of telomerase, a single short telomere is sufficient to induce the recruitment of checkpoint and recombination proteins. Notably, a DNA damage response at eroded telomeres starts many generations before senescence and is characterized by the recruitment of Cdc13 (cell division cycle 13), replication protein A, DNA damage checkpoint proteins and the DNA repair protein Rad52 into a single focus. Moreover, we show that eroded telomeres, although remaining at the nuclear periphery, move to the nuclear pore complex. Our results link the DNA damage response at eroded telomeres to changes in subnuclear localization and suggest the existence of collapsed replication forks at eroded telomeres.