See trips hub: Europe Road Ways

For themes of conflict, present in any country, see Studying War.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Buchenwald - Forced Labor Camp. Slave Labor. Rabbi Herschel Schacter.

Update 3/27/2013. On April 11, 1945, Brooklyn native Rabbi Herschel Schacter drove through Buchenwald's gates just after Patto's tanks breached the camp, the allied Third Army's VIII Corps. He had been attached to that group and was the first Jewish chaplain to enter Buchenwald. His call, repeated, "You are free!" echoed but was met with smells of burnt flesh, bodies by the hundreds He stayed there for months, tending, pastoring, working to resettle thousands in time. See obituary at http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/27/nyregion/rabbi-herschel-schacter-who-carried-word-of-freedom-to-buchenwald-dies-at-95.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

 Rabbi Herschel Schacter bore with him memories fast sinking or perhaps never known by a later generation distracted by its own social life.  Can we help them look back. If Germany Road Ways, and other countries' sites where concentration camps have been seen, like Poland Road Ways, Austria Road Ways, can keep issues of our western atrocity heritage at the forefront, can the distractions be tamed.

 Buchenwald, Concentration Camp, Germany; stake, hand ore cart

Buchenwald. See www.jewishgen.org/Forgottencamps/Camps/BuchenwaldEng. Labor Camp. WWII. Just outside Weimar. Outlines of barracks and buildings. One, reconstructed or preserved, houses the museum - the personal items, the collections of shoes, memorabilia, passports, photos, letters.

Slave labor.  Find it listed at ://www.dpcamps.org/slavecamplist.pdf/. This resource is the Slave Labor Class I List, from the Holocaust Victim Assets Litigation (Swiss Banks), Special Master's Proposal, September 11, 2000. Pull up the pdf and do a search or find, at the upper slot, for "Buchenwald" and it will appear.

Labor cart. This was primarily a labor camp, not an extermination camp with gas chambers. Death was an integral part of the setting, however. See historical film footage: www.ushmm.org/wlc/article.php?lang=en&ModuleId=10005198. Another is www.dunkirkma.net/inreview/features/night_and_fog. This is Alain Resnais' "Night and Fog". Check around yourself and make your own judgments on which films or sources are best in this area. We just lay out some that spoke especially to us. We include in our trips anywhere, time with those parts of history that we prefer to think never happened, and certainly were not and could not be inflicted by people like us. Not? Go there.

Buchenwald, Little Children's Zoo for Germans, outside barbed wire fence, Germany

Little zoo. This stone structure at Buchenwald, with the low walls here, is the little zoo, right outside the fence to the camp itself. It had little bears in it, we were told, to amuse the children and families of the staff. There the children sat with governesses and mothers, and played, and fed the bears.


Buchenwald is near Weimar, some 6-7 miles out perhaps. The people said they didn't know. How much do we block out?

Buchenwald, remembrance pebbles on memorial, GermanyPebbles for remembrance. There are memorial stone slabs for the different countries of origin, with the pebbles remembering. The roots of that fine tradition are at www.templesanjose.org/JudaismInfo/time/Life_Cycle/pebbles. And at www.myjewishlearning.com/lifecycle/Death/Burial_Mourning/TombstoneUnveiling.

See this site for a virtual tour of Jewish history in Germany. The site also connects to Jewish history in Eastern and Central Europe. www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/vjw/germany.

Current topics include holocaust deniers, see the World Association of International Studies site at cgi.stanford.edu/group/wais/cgi-bin/index.php?cat=211.

For a gallery of photos on Buchenwald, the interiors of some of the buildings, see ://www.pbase.com/arodri3/germany.

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