Scrapbookpages Blog

March 2, 2010

Famous photo of Buchenwald survivors

Filed under: Buchenwald, Holocaust, World War II — Tags: , , , , , — furtherglory @ 10:41 pm


Buchenwald survivors in Barrack 56, April 16, 1945


One of the most famous photos in the world is shown above. It was taken  by Private H. Miller of the Civil Affairs Branch of the U. S. Army Signal Corps on April 16, 1945, five days after the Buchenwald camp was liberated by the Sixth Armored Division of the US Third Army on April 11, 1945.


Famous Buchenwald photo was exhibited in Washington, DC


A traveling exhibit of huge, larger than life size photographs from the Nazi concentration camps, including Buchenwald, was first shown in St. Louis, MO in 1945 and then taken to Washington, DC. The photo above was taken in Summer — notice the white shoes.

The famous photo of the Buchenwald survivors was first published in the New York Times on May 6, 1945 with the caption “Crowded Bunks in the Prison Camp at Buchenwald.”


Elie Wiesel is the fourth man from the left


The world’s best known Holocaust survivor, Elie Wiesel, has identified himself as the prisoner whose face can be seen to the left of the post in the center of the photo above.


Buchenwald orphans marching out of the camp, April 27, 1945


In the photo above,  the tall boy, the fourth from the front on the left side of the column of orphan boys, has also been identified as Elie Wiesel. Update Oct. 5, 2010: The boy in front of the tall boy wearing a beret has been identified as Elie Wiesel on this web site.  I have blogged about this on a new post on my blog today, October 5, 2010.

Elie wrote in his book “Night” that he became sick three days after the Buchenwald camp was liberated on April 11, 1945 and was in the hospital for two weeks. Elie’s father had died in Buchenwald, so he was an orphan. That means that he could be in the photo of the orphans directly above, but if he was in the hospital when the photo of Block 56 at the top of this page was taken, then he can’t be in the photo.

In the book “The Children of Buchenwald” by Judith Hemmendinger and Robert Krell, there are the stories of 31 of the 904 orphan boys at Buchenwald, including the story of Elie Wiesel in Chapter 11.  On page 113 of this book, it is mentioned that Block 66 was the barrack for the orphan boys at Buchenwald.

Jewish professor Ken Walzer wrote, regarding the orphans at Buchenwald:

“Among the older boys was Eliezer Wiesel from Sighet, Rumania, who was protected in block 66 with hundreds of others.”

Now look at the famous Buchenwald photo again. Holocaust survivor  Miklos Grüner has identified himself as the 16-year-old prisoner in the lower left corner.


Miklos Grüner is the prisoner in the lower left corner


In May 1944, at the age of 15, Miklos Grüner was sent to Auschwitz-Birkenau where he was registered and then transferred to the Monowitz camp to work in the I.G. Farben factories. When Auschwitz-Birkenau was evacuated on January 18, 1945, Grüner joined the death march out of the camp, and was then taken by train to Buchenwald.

His story parallels that of Elie Wiesel who was sent, at the age of 15 and a half, to Auschwitz-Birkenau, then sent to work at Monowitz.  Elie and his father also joined the death march, and wound up in Buchenwald, where his father soon died.

So Miklos Grüner and Elie Wiesel were both orphans who should have been in Block 66, the orphan’s barracks, but they somehow got in a photo taken in the adult barracks.

Grüner was suffering from tuberculosis and had to be hospitalized in Sweden after he was liberated, so why wasn’t he in the TB ward?  Sick prisoners were usually  isolated, sometimes in a separate camp, but at least in separate barracks, so that they wouldn’t spread diseases like tuberculosis.

The prisoners in the photo directly above are in Block 56, which was an adult barrack in the “Small Camp” at Buchenwald.  The Small Camp was a special quarantine section for  prisoners, mostly Jews, who had recently arrived from other camps, such as Auschwitz-Birkenau.

Elie Wiesel and Miklos Grüner were both Jewish and both had probably been put into the Small Camp upon arrival, but since both were orphans, both of them were probably put into Block 66. So what are they doing in this photo of Block 56?


US Army Signal Corp photo of Buchenwald survivors, April 14, 1945


The photo above shows a barracks full of Buchenwald survivors who appear to be in good health.  Contrast this with the photo of prisoners in Block 56.

There has been a lot of talk and blogging recently about an accusation that Miklos Grüner has made against Elie Wiesel.  Grüner claims that Elie stole the identity and the tattoo number of another prisoner, and that Elie was never at Auschwitz, nor Buchenwald.

Anything is possible.  There were allegedly 750,000 Hungarian Jews and only 437,000 of them were sent to the Nazi concentration camps in 1944.  Elie wrote in “Night” about a woman who offered to hide the Jews in his home town, but they all refused. Could it be that Elie and his family actually went into hiding and were never sent to any camp?

Could Miklos Grüner be right — or is he just jealous because Elie Wiesel has made a fortune out of being a Holocaust survivor?

The Buchenwald Memorial Site has all the records of prisoners who were registered in the Buchenwald camp, and according to the Holocaust revisionists, there is no record for Elie Wiesel.  If that is true, shouldn’t the staff of the Memorial Site speak up and settle this once and for all?