Scrapbookpages Blog

May 10, 2012

Correction on the identification of prisoners in a Buchenwald photo — Updated

Filed under: Buchenwald, Germany, Holocaust — Tags: , — furtherglory @ 11:09 am

Update May 12, 2012:

The boy wearing a beret was incorrectly identified by the USHMM as Elie Wiesel

The photo above shows the face of the boy, who has been mistakenly identified by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum as Elie Wiesel.  The photo shows the orphan boys who marched out of the Buchenwald concentration camp on April 27, 1945. The boy, who is right in front of the boy whose face is circled, has been incorrectly identified as Elie Wiesel on the website of Ken Waltzer.  According to The Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity, neither of these boys is Elie Wiesel.

A closer look at the face of the boy wearing a beret, who is NOT Elie Wiesel

The face of the prisoner identified by The Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity as 16-year-old Elie Wiesel

I previously blogged about this whole controversy here.

Continue reading my original post:

I have made corrections on several pages of my website after being informed by The Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity that Elie Wiesel is not in the photo of orphan boys marching out of the Buchenwald concentration camp.  I had previously identified Elie Wiesel as the tall boy wearing a beret in the photo below.  I had gotten this information from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum website.  Apparently the USHMM was mistaken and Elie Wiesel in not in any of the photos of the orphan boys at Buchenwald.

Orphan boys marching out of the Buchenwald concentration camp

Another photo of the orphan boys marching out of Buchenwald

I should have known that the tall boy wearing a beret was not Elie Wiesel, but I trusted the USHMM to give accurate information.  The Communist prisoners, who ruled the camp, wore berets to identify themselves to the other prisoners.  Notice the man on the far right in the photo above wearing a beret to identify himself as a Communist. There is also an adult man, wearing a beret, in the photo below.

Child survivors of Buchenwald wearing clothes made from German military uniforms

One of the youngest survivors of the Buchenwald concentration camp, shown in the center of the photograph above, was four-year-old Josef Schleifstein. The Communist prisoners, who were in charge of the day-to-day administration of the camp, made sure that the children were well cared for. Note the adult man in the back row wearing a beret to identify himself as a Communist. The children in the photo are wearing clothes made for them by the Americans out of German uniforms. As prisoners in the camp, the orphans had worn striped uniforms just like the other prisoners.

Buchenwald orphans leaving on a train to Paris

I received the photo below, along with the caption, from The Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity.

Note that the caption on the photo above states that “The picture was taken on April 16, 1945…”  Either the date on the photo is wrong, or Elie Wiesel made a mistake when he wrote in two of his books that he was in the hospital at Buchenwald on April 16, 1945 after the Buchenwald camp had been liberated.

I am eagerly awaiting Ken Waltzer’s new book about the Buchenwald orphans, which will get all this straightened out.  On his website, Waltzer also identified one of the orphan boys, marching out of the camp, as Elie Wiesel.  According to The Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity, the only photo of Elie Wiesel in Buchenwald is the one taken on April 16, 1945 in barrack #56. The orphans barrack was #66.

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