Elie Wiesel’s book “Night” has very few details about what the Buchenwald concentration camp actually looked like when he was a prisoner there for several months just before the camp was liberated on April 11, 1945. There is an article here on the Elie Wiesel Cons The World web site about the curious lack of a detailed description of Buchenwald in Elie’s most famous book.
The Buchenwald camp was mainly a concentration camp for political prisoners; as a Jewish prisoner, Elie Wiesel would not have been allowed to walk around the whole camp, so he may not have seen everything. One thing that he would have seen is the gatehouse into the camp, which is shown in the photo below. All incoming prisoners entered through this gatehouse.
Note the clock on top which is permanently stopped at 3:15 p.m., the exact time, on April 11, 1945, when the Communist prisoners took over the camp and the SS men fled into the woods. This view of the gatehouse is what Elie Wiesel would have seen as he marched up to the camp.
Jedem das Seine is usually translated into English as “To each his own,” but the phrase has the connotation of “Everyone gets what he deserves.” Buchenwald was a Class II concentration camp for dangerous political prisoners and hardened criminals, who had little chance of being released, so the Buchenwald camp did not have the “Arbeit Macht Frei” sign that was used on Class I camps. Note that the photo above was taken from inside the camp, looking out; the sign faces the inside of the camp. (more…)