Buchenwald concentration camp

Buchenwald (German pronunciation: [ˈbuːxənvalt]; literally beech forest) was a Nazi concentration camp established on Ettersberg hill near Weimar, Germany, in July 1937. It was one of the first and the largest of the concentration camps within Germany's 1937 borders. Many actual or suspected communists were among the first internees.

Prisoners from all over Europe and the Soviet Union—Jews, Poles and other Slavs, the mentally ill and physically disabled, political prisoners, Romani people, Freemasons, criminals, homosexuals, and prisoners of war—worked primarily as forced labor in local armaments factories. The insufficient food and poor conditions, as well as deliberate executions, led to 56,000 deaths at Buchenwald of the 250,000 prisoners who passed through the camp. The camp gained notoriety when it was liberated by the United States Army in 1945; Allied commander Dwight D. Eisenhower visited one of its subcamps.

From 1945 to 1950, the camp was used by the Soviet occupation authorities as an internment camp, NKVD special camp Nr. 2. Today the remains of Buchenwald serve as a memorial and permanent exhibition and museum.

Buchenwald
Concentration camp
Buchenwald Prisoners Roll Call 10105
Roll call at Buchenwald
Buchenwald concentration camp is located in Germany
Buchenwald concentration camp
Location of Buchenwald within Germany
Other namesKonzentrationslager Buchenwald
LocationWeimar, Germany
Operated bySchutzstaffel
Commandant
OperationalJuly 1937–11 April 1945
Number of inmates250,000
Killed56,000
Liberated by6th Armored Division, United States Army
Websitewww.buchenwald.de/en/69/

Establishment

Fotothek df ps 0006120 Denkmäler - Denkmale - Ehrenmäler - Ehrenmale ^ Ereignisd
Buchenwald gate with "Jedem das Seine"

The Schutzstaffel (SS) established Buchenwald concentration camp at the beginning of July 1937.[1] The camp was to be named Ettersberg, after the hill in Thuringia upon whose north slope the camp was established.[1][2] The proposed name was deemed inappropriate, because it carried associations with several important figures in German culture, especially Enlightenment writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. Instead the camp was to be named Buchenwald, in reference to the beech forest in the area. However, Holocaust researcher James E. Young wrote that SS leader chose the site of the camp precisely to erase the cultural legacy of the area. After the area of the camp was cleared of trees, only one large oak remained, supposedly one of Goethe's Oaks.[3][4] On the main gate, the motto Jedem das Seine (English: "To each his own"), was inscribed. The SS interpreted this to mean the "master race" had a right to humiliate and destroy others.[5]

The camp, designed to hold 8,000 prisoners, was intended to replace several smaller concentration camps nearby, including Bad Sulza, Sachsenburg, and Lichtenburg. Compared to these camps, Buchenwald had a greater potential to profit the SS because the nearby clay deposits could be made into bricks by the forced labor of prisoners. The first prisoners arrived on 15 July 1937, and had to clear the area of trees and build the camp's structures.[1] By September, the population had risen to 2,400 following transfers from Bad Sulza, Sachsenburg, and Lichtenburg.[6]

Command structure

Organization

Buchenwald’s first commandant was SS-Obersturmbannführer Karl-Otto Koch, who ran the camp from 1 August 1937 to July 1941. His second wife, Ilse Koch, became notorious as Die Hexe von Buchenwald ("the witch of Buchenwald") for her cruelty and brutality. In February 1940 Koch, to his and his wife's delight, had an indoor riding hall built by the prisoners who died by the dozen due to the harsh conditions of the construction site. The hall was built inside the camp, near the canteen, so that oftentimes Ilse Koch could be seen riding in the morning to the beat of the prisoner orchestra.[7] Koch himself was eventually imprisoned at Buchenwald by the Nazi authorities for incitement to murder. The charges were lodged by Prince Waldeck and Dr. Morgen, to which were later added charges of corruption, embezzlement, black market dealings, and exploitation of the camp workers for personal gain.[8] Other camp officials were charged, including Ilse Koch. The trial resulted in Karl Koch being sentenced to death for disgracing both himself and the SS; he was executed by firing squad on April 5, 1945, one week before American troops arrived. Ilse Koch was sentenced to a term of four years' imprisonment after the war. Her sentence was reduced to two years and she was set free. She was subsequently arrested again and sentenced to life imprisonment by the post-war German authorities; she committed suicide in Aichach (Bavaria) prison in September 1967.[9] The second commandant of the camp, between 1942 and 1945, was Hermann Pister (1942–1945). He was tried in 1947 (Dachau Trials) and sentenced to death, but 28 September 1948 he died in Landsberg Prison of a heart attack before the sentence could be carried out.[10]

Buchenwald-camp-money
Buchenwald camp money

Female prisoners and overseers

The number of women held in Buchenwald was somewhere between 500 and 1,000. The first female inmates were twenty political prisoners who were accompanied by a female SS guard (Aufseherin); these women were brought to Buchenwald from Ravensbrück in 1941 and forced into sexual slavery at the camp's brothel. The SS later fired the SS woman on duty in the brothel for corruption; her position was taken over by “brothel mothers” as ordered by SS chief Heinrich Himmler.

The majority of women prisoners, however, arrived in 1944 and 1945 from other camps, mainly Auschwitz, Ravensbrück, and Bergen Belsen. Only one barracks was set aside for them; this was overseen by the female block leader (Blockführerin) Franziska Hoengesberg, who came from Essen when it was evacuated. All the women prisoners were later shipped out to one of Buchenwald's many female satellite camps in Sömmerda, Buttelstedt, Mühlhausen, Gotha, Gelsenkirchen, Essen, Lippstadt, Weimar, Magdeburg, and Penig, to name a few. No female guards were permanently stationed at Buchenwald.

Ilse Koch served as head supervisor (Oberaufseherin) of 22 other female guards and hundreds of women prisoners in the main camp. More than 530 women served as guards in the vast Buchenwald system of subcamps and external commands across Germany. Only 22 women served/trained in Buchenwald, compared to over 15,500 men.[11]

Subcamps

The first subcamps of Buchenwald were established in 1941 so that the prisoners could work in nearby SS industries. In 1942, the SS began to use its forced labor supply for armaments production. Because it was more economical to rent out prisoners to private firms, subcamps were set up near factories which had a demand for prisoner labor. Private firms paid the SS between 4 and 6 Reichsmarks per day per prisoner, resulting in an estimated 95,758,843 Reichsmarks in revenue for the SS between June 1943 and February 1945.[12] There were more than 95 subcamps in all. Conditions were worse than at the main camp, with prisoners provided insufficient food and inadequate shelter.[13]

Allied POWs

Although it was highly unusual for German authorities to send Western Allied POWs to concentration camps, Buchenwald held a group of 168 aviators for two months.[14] These men were from the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Jamaica. They all arrived at Buchenwald on August 20, 1944.[15][16]

All these airmen were in aircraft that had crashed in occupied France. Two explanations are given for them being sent to a concentration camp: first, that they had managed to make contact with the French Resistance, some were disguised as civilians, and they were carrying false papers when caught; they were therefore categorized by the Germans as spies, which meant their rights under the Geneva Convention were not respected. The second explanation is that they had been categorised as Terrorflieger ("terror aviators"). The aviators were initially held in Gestapo prisons and headquarters in France. In April or August 1944, they and other Gestapo prisoners were packed into covered goods wagons (US: boxcars) and sent to Buchenwald. The journey took five days, during which they received very little food or water.[17]

Death toll

Causes of death

Buchenwald Executions 13143
Polish prisoners await execution

A primary cause of death was illness due to harsh camp conditions, with starvation—and its consequent illnesses—prevalent. Malnourished and suffering from disease, many were literally "worked to death" under the Vernichtung durch Arbeit policy (extermination through labor), as inmates only had the choice between slave labor or inevitable execution. Many inmates died as a result of human experimentation or fell victim to arbitrary acts perpetrated by the SS guards. Other prisoners were simply murdered, primarily by shooting and hanging.

Walter Gerhard Martin Sommer was an SS-Hauptscharführer who served as a guard at the concentration camps of Dachau and Buchenwald. Known as the "Hangman of Buchenwald", he was considered a depraved sadist who reportedly ordered Otto Neururer and Mathias Spannlang, two Austrian priests, to be crucified upside-down. Sommer was especially infamous for hanging prisoners off of trees from their wrists, which had been tied behind their backs (a torture technique known as strappado) in the "singing forest", so named because of the screams which emanated from this wooded area.[18][19]

Summary executions of Soviet POWs were also carried out at Buchenwald. At least 1,000 men were selected in 1941–42 by a task force of three Dresden Gestapo officers and sent to the camp for immediate liquidation by a gunshot to the back of the neck, the infamous Genickschuss.

The camp was also a site of large-scale trials for vaccines against epidemic typhus in 1942 and 1943. In all 729 inmates were used as test subjects, of whom 154 died.[20] Other "experimentation" occurred at Buchenwald on a smaller scale. One such experiment aimed at determining the precise fatal dose of a poison of the alkaloid group; according to the testimony of one doctor, four Soviet POWs were administered the poison, and when it proved not to be fatal they were "strangled in the crematorium" and subsequently "dissected".[21] Among various other experiments was one which, in order to test the effectiveness of a balm for wounds from incendiary bombs, involved inflicting "very severe" white phosphorus burns on inmates.[22] When challenged at trial over the nature of this testing, and particularly over the fact that the testing was designed in some cases to cause death and only to measure the time which elapsed until death was caused, one Nazi doctor's defence was that, although a doctor, he was a "legally appointed executioner".[23]

Number of deaths

Buchenwald-bei-Weimar-am-24-April-1945
U.S. Senator Alben W. Barkley (D-Kentucky) looks on after Buchenwald's liberation.

The SS left behind accounts of the number of prisoners and people coming to and leaving the camp, categorizing those leaving them by release, transfer, or death. These accounts are one of the sources of estimates for the number of deaths in Buchenwald. According to SS documents, 33,462 died. These documents were not, however, necessarily accurate: Among those executed before 1944, many were listed as "transferred to the Gestapo". Furthermore, from 1941, Soviet POWs were executed in mass killings. Arriving prisoners selected for execution were not entered into the camp register and therefore were not among the 33,462 dead listed.[24]

One former Buchenwald prisoner, Armin Walter, calculated the number of executions by the number of shootings in the spine at the base of the head. His job at Buchenwald was to set up and care for a radio installation at the facility where people were executed; he counted the numbers, which arrived by telex, and hid the information. He says that 8,483 Soviet prisoners of war were shot in this manner.[25]

According to the same source, the total number of deaths at Buchenwald is estimated at 56,545. This number is the sum of:

  • Deaths according to material left behind by the SS: 33,462[26]
  • Executions by shooting: 8,483
  • Executions by hanging (estimate): 1,100
  • Deaths during evacuation transports (estimate): 13,500[27]

This total (56,545) corresponds to a death rate of 24 percent, assuming that the number of persons passing through the camp according to documents left by the SS, 240,000 prisoners, is accurate.[28]

Liberation

Concentration camp SS
Prisoner of KZBuchenwald with member of SS personnel after entry of U.S. Army 1945.

On April 4, 1945, the U.S. 89th Infantry Division overran Ohrdruf, a subcamp of Buchenwald.

Buchenwald was partially evacuated by the Germans from April 6, 1945, until April 11, 1945. In the days before the arrival of the American army, thousands of the prisoners were forced to join the evacuation marches.[29] Thanks in large part to the efforts of Polish engineer (and short-wave radio-amateur, his pre-war callsign was SP2BD) Gwidon Damazyn, an inmate since March 1941, a secret short-wave transmitter and small generator were built and hidden in the prisoners' movie room. On April 8 at noon, Damazyn and Russian prisoner Konstantin Ivanovich Leonov sent the Morse code message prepared by leaders of the prisoners' underground resistance (supposedly Walter Bartel and Harry Kuhn):

To the Allies. To the army of General Patton. This is the Buchenwald concentration camp. SOS. We request help. They want to evacuate us. The SS wants to destroy us.

The text was repeated several times in English, German, and Russian. Damazyn sent the English and German transmissions, while Leonov sent the Russian version. Three minutes after the last transmission sent by Damazyn, the headquarters of the U.S. Third Army responded:

KZ Bu. Hold out. Rushing to your aid. Staff of Third Army.

Buchenwald-J-Rouard-13
The bodies of prisoners in the liberated Buchenwald, 16 April 1945

According to Teofil Witek, a fellow Polish prisoner who witnessed the transmissions, Damazyn fainted after receiving the message.[30]

After this news had been received, inmates stormed the watchtowers and killed the remaining guards, using arms they had been collecting since 1942 (one machine gun and 91 rifles; see Buchenwald Resistance).[31]

A detachment of troops of the U.S. 9th Armored Infantry Battalion, from the 6th Armored Division, part of the U.S. Third Army, and under the command of Captain Frederic Keffer, arrived at Buchenwald on April 11, 1945 at 3:15 p.m. (now the permanent time of the clock at the entrance gate). The soldiers were given a hero's welcome, with the emaciated survivors finding the strength to toss some liberators into the air in celebration.[32]

Later in the day, elements of the U.S. 83rd Infantry Division overran Langenstein, one of a number of smaller camps comprising the Buchenwald complex. There, the division liberated over 21,000 prisoners,[32] ordered the mayor of Langenstein to send food and water to the camp, and hurried medical supplies forward from the 20th Field Hospital.

Third Army Headquarters sent elements of the 80th Infantry Division to take control of the camp on the morning of Thursday, April 12, 1945. Several journalists arrived on the same day, perhaps with the 80th, including Edward R. Murrow, whose radio report of his arrival and reception was broadcast on CBS and became one of his most famous:

I asked to see one of the barracks. It happened to be occupied by Czechoslovaks. When I entered, men crowded around, tried to lift me to their shoulders. They were too weak. Many of them could not get out of bed. I was told that this building had once stabled 80 horses. There were 1,200 men in it, five to a bunk. The stink was beyond all description.

They called the doctor. We inspected his records. There were only names in the little black book, nothing more. Nothing about who these men were, what they had done, or hoped. Behind the names of those who had died, there was a cross. I counted them. They totaled 242. 242 out of 1,200, in one month.

As we walked out into the courtyard, a man fell dead. Two others, they must have been over 60, were crawling toward the latrine. I saw it, but will not describe it.

— Extract from Edward R. Murrow's Buchenwald Report – 15 April 1945.[33]

Civilian tour

After Patton toured the camp, he ordered the mayor of Weimar to bring 1,000 citizens to Buchenwald; these were to be predominantly men of military age from the middle and upper classes. The Germans had to walk 25 kilometres (16 mi) roundtrip under armed American guard and were shown the crematorium and other evidence of Nazi atrocities. The Americans wanted to ensure that the German people would take responsibility for Nazi crimes, instead of dismissing them as atrocity propaganda.[34]

Aftermath

Buchenwald Trial

Ilse Koch testifies in her own defense 8 jul 47
Ilse Koch testifies

Thirty SS perpetrators at Buchenwald were tried before a US military tribunal in 1947, including Higher SS and Police Leader Josias Erbprinz zu Waldeck und Pyrmont, who oversaw the SS district that Buchenwald was located in, and many of the doctors responsible for Nazi human experimentation. Almost all of the defendants were convicted, and 22 were sentenced to death. However, only nine death sentences were carried out, and by the mid-1950s, all perpetrators had been freed except for Ilsa Koch. Additional perpetrators were tried before German courts during the 1960s.[35]

The site

Between August 1945 and February 1950, Buchenwald was the site of NKVD special camp Nr. 2, where the Soviet secret police imprisoned former Nazis and anti-communist dissidents.[36] After the NKVD camp closed, much of the camp was razed, while signs were erected to provide a Soviet interpretation of the camp's legacy.[37] The first monument to victims was erected days after the initial liberation. Intended to be completely temporary, it was built by prisoners and made of wood. A second monument to commemorate the dead was erected in 1958 by the GDR near the mass graves. Inside the camp, there is a stainless steel monument in the place of the first monument, the surface of which is maintained at 37 °C (99 °F), the temperature of human skin, all year round.[38][39] Today the remains of Buchenwald serves as a memorial and permanent exhibition and museum administrated by Buchenwald and Mittelbau-Dora Memorials Foundation, which also administrates the camp memorial at Mittelbau-Dora.[40]

Literature

Survivors who have written about their camp experiences include Jorge Semprún, who in Quel beau dimanche! describes conversations involving Goethe and Léon Blum, and Ernst Wiechert, whose Der Totenwald was written in 1939 but not published until 1945, and which likewise involved Goethe. Scholars have investigated how camp inmates used art to help deal with their circumstances, and according to Theodor Ziolkowski writers often did so by turning to Goethe.[41] Artist Léon Delarbre sketched, besides other scenes of camp life, the Goethe Oak, under which he used to sit and write.[42] One of the few prisoners who escaped from the camp, the Belgian Edmond Vandievoet, recounted his experiences in a book whose English title is "I escaped from a Nazi Death Camp" [Editions Jourdan, 2015]. In his work Night, Elie Wiesel talks about his stay in Buchenwald, including his father's death.[43]

Visit from President Obama and Chancellor Merkel

Video of President Obama's visit

On June 5, 2009, U.S. President Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel visited Buchenwald after a tour of Dresden Castle and Church of Our Lady. During the visit they were accompanied by Elie Wiesel and Bertrand Herz, both survivors of the camp.[44] Volkhard Knigge, the director of the Buchenwald and Mittelbau-Dora Memorials Foundation and honorary professor of University of Jena, guided the four guests through the remainder of the site of the camp.[45] During the visit Elie Wiesel, who together with Bertrand Herz were sent to the Little camp as 16-year-old boys, said, "if these trees could talk." His statement marked the irony about the beauty of the landscape and the horrors that took place within the camp.[45] President Obama mentioned during his visit that he had heard stories as a child from his great uncle, who was part of the 89th Infantry Division, the first Americans to reach the camp at Ohrdruf, one of Buchenwald's satellites.[44] Obama was the first sitting US President to visit the Buchenwald concentration camp.[39]

See also

References

  1. ^ a b c Zegenhagen 2009, p. 290.
  2. ^ Rapson 2015, p. 27.
  3. ^ Rapson 2015, pp. 25, 27.
  4. ^ Wachsmann 2015, pp. 177–178.
  5. ^ Rapson 2015, p. 51.
  6. ^ Wachsmann 2015, p. 178.
  7. ^ Wachsmann 2015, p. 198.
  8. ^ Hackett 1997, p. 341.
  9. ^ Hackett 1997, p. 43 n.19
  10. ^ Hackett 1997, p. 59 n.29
  11. ^ Stein, Harry (2005). Gedenkstatte Buchenwald (ed.). Buchenwald concentration camp 1937–1945 (A Guide to the Permanent Historical Exhibition). Wallstein. ISBN 978-3-89244-695-8.
  12. ^ Zanden 2009, p. 297.
  13. ^ Zanden 2009, p. 298.
  14. ^ Veterans Affairs Canada, 2006: "Prisoners of War in the Second World War" Accessed 16 May 2007.
  15. ^ National Museum of the USAF: "Allied Victims of the Holocaust" Accessed 9 July 2017.
  16. ^ "Eyewitness accounts of Art Kinnis, president of KLB (Konzentrationslager Buchenwald), and 2nd Lt. Joseph Moser, one of the surviving pilots". www.buchenwaldflyboy.wordpress.com.
  17. ^ From The Lucky Ones: Allied Airmen and Buchenwald (1994 film, directed by Michael Allder), cited by Veterans Affairs Canada, 2006: "Prisoners of War in the Second World War" Accessed 16 May 2007.
  18. ^ The resistance in Austria, 1938–1945 By Radomír Luža Publisher: University of Minnesota Press (April 9, 1984) ISBN 0-8166-1226-9
  19. ^ Stein 2005, p. 302.
  20. ^ Spitz, Vivien (2005). Doctors from Hell: The Horrific Account of Nazi Experiments on Humans. Sentient Publications. p. 199. ISBN 978-1-59181-032-2.
  21. ^ Spitz 2005, pp. 209–10
  22. ^ Spitz 2005, pp. 213–4
  23. ^ Spitz 2005, p. 209
  24. ^ Bartel 1961, p. . 64, lines 12–23.
  25. ^ Bartel 1961, p. 203, lines 18–38.
  26. ^ Includes male deaths in satellite camps.
  27. ^ Bartel (1961, p. 87, line 17–18) reports that somewhere between 12,000 and 15,000 prisoners died on evacuation transports in March and April 1945.
  28. ^ Bartel 1960, p. 87, line 8.
  29. ^ Stein 2005, p. 227 "Evacuation".
  30. ^ Langbein, Hermann; Zohn, Harry (translator) (1994). Against All Hope: Resistance in the Nazi Concentration Camps, 1938–1945. New York: Paragon House. p. 502. ISBN 1-55778-363-2.
  31. ^ Several eyewitness reports of Dutch and German inmates of Buchenwald at the Dutch Institute for War Documentation NIOD in Amsterdam.
  32. ^ a b Wayne Drash (14 August 2008). "Buchenwald liberator, American hero dies at 83". CNN.
  33. ^ "Edward R. Murrow Reports From Buchenwald". www.otr.com.
  34. ^ Mauriello 2017, pp. 32–34.
  35. ^ Zegenhagen 2009, pp. 293–294.
  36. ^ Marcuse 2010, p. 190.
  37. ^ Marcuse 2010, p. 200.
  38. ^ Young, James E.: At Memory's Edge: After-Images of the Holocaust in Contemporary Art and Architecture, New Haven: Yale University Press, 2000, p. 105.
  39. ^ a b "Obama Visits Buchenwald Concentration Camp".
  40. ^ "Buchenwald and Mittelbau-Dora Memorials Foundation – Purpose of the Foundation". Buchenwald and Mittelbau-Dora Memorials Foundation. Retrieved 18 August 2012.
  41. ^ Ziolkowski, Theodore (2001). "Das Treffen in Buchenwald oder Der vergegenwärtigte Goethe". Modern Language Studies. 31 (1): 131–50. doi:10.2307/3195281. JSTOR 3195281.
  42. ^ Jenkins, David Fraser (2000). John Piper: The Forties. New Age International. p. 84. ISBN 978-0-85667-534-8.
  43. ^ Wiesel, Elie (2007). La Nuit (2nd ed.). Paris: Éditions de Minuit. pp. 194–200.
  44. ^ a b "Buchenwald – The WhiteHouseBlog". The White House. Archived from the original on 20 July 2012. Retrieved 18 August 2012.
  45. ^ a b Remarks By President Obama, German Chancellor Merkel, And Elie Wiesel At Buchenwald Concentration Camp (Speech). Buchenwald memorial event. Weimar, Germany: The White House – Office of the Press Secretary. 5 June 2009. Archived from the original on 25 June 2016. Retrieved 1 May 2016.

Sources

  • Bartel, Walter, ed. (1961). Buchenwald-Mahnung und Verpflichtung: Dokumente und Berichte [Buchenwald-Warnings and obligation: Documents and reports] (in German). Kongress-Verlag. ASIN B0000BGX5M. Deutscher Verlag der Wissenschaften, 1983 edition.
  • Hackett, David A. (1997). The Buchenwald Reports. Westview Press. ISBN 978-0-8133-3363-2. Retrieved 1 June 2016.
  • Marcuse, Harold (2010). "The afterlife of the camps". In Wachsmann, Nikolaus; Caplan, Jane (eds.). Concentration Camps in Nazi Germany: The New Histories. Routledge. pp. 186–211. ISBN 9781135263218.
  • Mauriello, Christopher E. (2017). Forced Confrontation: The Politics of Dead Bodies in Germany at the End of World War II. Lanham: Lexington Books. ISBN 9781498548069.
  • Rapson, Jessica (2015). Topographies of Suffering: Buchenwald, Babi Yar, Lidice. New York: Berghahn Books. ISBN 9781782387107.
  • Stone, Dan (2015). The Liberation of the Camps: The End of the Holocaust and Its Aftermath. New Haven: Yale University Press. ISBN 9780300216035.
  • Wachsmann, Nikolaus (2015). KL: A History of the Nazi Concentration Camps. New York: Macmillan. ISBN 978-1-4299-4372-7.
  • Zanden, Christine Schmidt van der (2009). "Buchenwald Subcamp System". In Megargee, Geoffrey P. (ed.). Encyclopedia of Camps and Ghettos, 1933–1945. 1. Bloomington: United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. pp. 567–569. ISBN 978-0-253-35328-3.
  • Zegenhagen, Evelyn (2009). "Buchenwald Main Camp". In Megargee, Geoffrey P. (ed.). Encyclopedia of Camps and Ghettos, 1933–1945. 1. Translated by Pallavicini, Stephen. Bloomington: United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. pp. 567–569. ISBN 978-0-253-35328-3.

Further reading

  • Knigge, Volkhard und Ritscher, Bodo: Totenbuch. Speziallager Buchenwald 1945–1950, Weimar: Stiftung Gedenkstätten Buchenwald und Mittelbau Dora, 2003.

External links

Coordinates: 51°01′20″N 11°14′53″E / 51.02222°N 11.24806°E

Adolf Theuer

Adolf Theuer (sometimes given as Teuer) (20 September 1920 in Henneborg-Bolatitz, today borough of Borová, Bolatice, Opava District – 23 April 1947 in Opava) was an SS-Unterscharführer at Auschwitz concentration camp. He was executed after the war as a war criminal.

Allied airmen at Buchenwald concentration camp

Between 20 August and 19 October 1944, 168 allied airmen who were held prisoner at Buchenwald concentration camp. Colloquially, they described themselves as the KLB Club (for Konzentrationslager Buchenwald). 166 airmen survived Buchenwald, while two died of sickness at the camp.

Carel Goseling

Carolus Maria Joannes Franciscus (Carel) Goseling (10 June 1891, Amsterdam – 14 April 1941, Buchenwald) was a Dutch lawyer and politician for the Roman Catholic State Party (RKSP).

Goseling was a member of the House of Representatives from 1929 to 1937 and subsequently Minister of Justice from 1937 to 1939.

He died aged 49 in Buchenwald concentration camp.

Eugène Soudan

Eugène Edouard César Gaëtan Soudan (December 4, 1880 – November 30, 1960) was a lawyer, jurist and politician.

Helge Rognlien

Helge Rognlien (14 January 1920 – 15 July 2001) was a Norwegian politician for the Liberal Party.

He was born in Oslo. At the outbreak of World War II, Rognlien was a student at the University of Oslo. After the German occupation of Norway in 1940, he was a member of the new governing body of the Norwegian Students' Society, which included students from all political groups, except the National Socialists. Rognlien represented the Liberal Student Association. A troubled relationship with the Nazi regime ensued until 15 October 1943, when 63 prominent students were arrested, and Rognlien was one of them. After a time in Bredtveit and Berg concentration camps until 8 December 1943, he spent the rest of the war years in captivity in Sennheim in Alsace and Buchenwald concentration camp in Germany.Having graduated as cand.jur. in 1945, his career began with a one-year tenure as civil servant in the Ministry of Justice and the Police. From 1946 to 1948 he was the leader of the Young Liberals of Norway, the youth wing of the Liberal Party.On 29 August 1970 he was appointed Minister of Local Government during the centre-right cabinet Borten, replacing Helge Seip. Rognlien held the position until the cabinet Borten fell in 1971. In 1972 he again replaced Helge Seip, this time as party chairman of the Liberal Party. He held this position until 1974, when Eva Kolstad took over as the first female party leader in Norway.

Rognlien was a member of Bærum municipality council from 1955 to 1960 and 1967 to 1979, and also of Akershus county council from 1963 to 1975. He never served in the national parliament.He was a member of the Norwegian Nobel Committee from 1966 to 1973.

Henri Maspero

Henri Paul Gaston Maspero (15 December 1883 – 17 March 1945) was a French sinologist and professor who contributed to a variety of topics relating to East Asia. Maspero is best known for his pioneering studies of Daoism. He was imprisoned by the Nazis during World War II and died in the Buchenwald concentration camp.

Jacques Lusseyran

Jacques Lusseyran (19 September 1924 – 27 July 1971) was a French author and political activist.

Lusseyran was born in Paris, France. He became totally blind in a school accident at the age of 7. He soon learned to adapt to being blind and maintained many close friendships, particularly with one boy named Jean. At a young age he became alarmed at the rise of Adolf Hitler in Germany and decided to learn the German language so that he could listen to German radio broadcasts. By 1938, when Nazi Germany annexed Austria, he had accomplished this task.

Germany invaded France in 1940. In the spring of 1941, at the age of 17, Lusseyran formed a Resistance group called the Volunteers of Liberty with other students from the Lycée Louis-le-Grand and the Lycée Henri-IV. He was put in charge of recruitment. The group later merged with another Resistance group called Défense de la France. In July 1943 he organized and participated in a campaign to drop pro-resistance leaflets on trains, and claimed to carry tear gas canisters to stop people from interfering, though he never used them.

On July 20, 1943, Lusseyran was arrested by the Gestapo, betrayed by a member of his resistance group named Elio. His knowledge of German helped him understand more of the situation than most French prisoners. He was sent to Buchenwald concentration camp with 2000 other French citizens, where, because he was blind, he did not have to participate in forced labor as most other prisoners did. Soon most of his childhood friends and fellow resistance operatives were arrested, and he met some of them in the concentration camp. Lusseyran helped to motivate a spirit of resistance within the camp, particularly within the French and German prisoners.

In April 1945, he was liberated; 30 of his group of 2000 inmates survived. After the war, Lusseyran taught French literature in the United States and wrote books, including the autobiographical And There Was Light, which chronicles the first 20 years of his life. He died together with his third wife Marie in a car accident in France on July 27, 1971. He is survived by his four children.

Jean Riboud

Jean Riboud (15 November 1919 – 20 October 1985) was a French socialist, corporate executive and the chairman of Schlumberger, the largest oilfield services company in the world. He was a member of the French Resistance during World War II and suffered incarceration in Buchenwald concentration camp of the Nazis. His contributions were reported in making Schlumberger into the market leader in oilfield services sector. The Government of India awarded him the third highest civilian honour of the Padma Bhushan, in 1986, for his contributions to society.

Josef Klehr

Josef Klehr (17 October 1904, Langenau, Upper Silesia – 23 August 1988, Leiferde) was an SS-Oberscharführer (master sergeant), supervisor in several Nazi concentration camps and head of the SS disinfection commando at Auschwitz concentration camp.

Karl-Otto Koch

Karl-Otto Koch (German: [kɔx]; 2 August 1897 – 5 April 1945) was a mid-ranking commander in the SS of Nazi Germany who was the first commandant of the Nazi concentration camps at Buchenwald and Sachsenhausen. From September 1941 until August 1942, he served as the first commandant of the Majdanek concentration camp in occupied Poland, stealing vast amounts of valuables and money from murdered Jews. His wife, Ilse Koch, also took part in the notorious crimes at Buchenwald and Majdanek.

Louis Escallier

Louis Escallier (11 January 1883 – 11 July 1965) was a French businessman. He was a financial inspector and then the governor of the Bank of Algeria from 1934 to 1946, Chair of Crédit Lyonnais from 1946 to 1949, and then the third Chair of Électricité de France from 1949 to 1952.Escallier was one of the senior financial officials arrested in August 1943 and detained in Germany. He was deported in 13 August 1943 from Compiègne to the Buchenwald concentration camp as a "Personnalité-otage" – hostage-personality. On 31 August, Escallier was transferred to the Plansee subcamp of the Dachau concentration camp.

Léon Jouhaux

Léon Jouhaux (1 July 1879 – 28 April 1954) was a French trade union leader who received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1951.

Maria Forescu

Maria Forescu (15 January 1875 – 23 November 1943) was an Austro-Hungarian-born Romanian opera singer and film actress. During the silent and talkies era of the German cinema, she appeared in several movies as a supporting actress. When Adolf Hitler came to power, Forescu, like other Jews of that period, was barred from her profession. She died in the Buchenwald concentration camp in Germany.

Paul-Émile Janson

Paul-Émile (Paul Emil) Janson (30 May 1872 – 3 March 1944) was a francophone Belgian liberal politician and Prime Minister (1937–1938). During the German occupation, he was arrested as a political prisoner and died in a German concentration camp in 1944.

Paul Morgan (actor)

Paul Morgan (October 1, 1886 – December 10, 1938) was a Jewish Austrian actor and Kabarett performer. He died in Buchenwald concentration camp in 1938.

Robert Benoist

Robert Marcel Charles Benoist (20 March 1895 – 9 September 1944) was a French Grand Prix motor racing driver and war hero.

Robert Clary

Robert Clary (born Robert Max Widerman; March 1, 1926) is a French-American actor, published author, artist and lecturer. He is known for his role in the television sitcom Hogan's Heroes as Corporal Louis LeBeau.

Roy Allen

Roy Allen (1918–1991) was an American, born in the north Philadelphia neighborhood of Olney. He was a bomber pilot during World War II shot down over France and sent to Buchenwald concentration camp.

Timeline of deportations of French Jews to death camps

This is a timeline of deportations of French Jews to Nazi extermination camps in German-occupied Europe during World War II. The overall total of Jews deported from France is a minimum of 75,721.

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