Scrapbookpages Blog

October 31, 2014

British exhibition displays a replica of the Buchenwald gate

Update Nov. 1, 2014:  One of the regular readers of my blog wrote, in a comment, that the original “Jeden das Seine” gate into the former Buchenwald concentration camp is being “restored” and a temporary gate is currently in it’s place.

In my humble opinion, the original gate should not be “restored.”  Why should the gate look like new? I think that visitors to the Buchenwald Memorial Site want to see a weathered gate, that looks like the original gate into the camp.

The Buchenwald gate is historic because it was designed by Franz Ehrich, who studied at the Bauhaus School of modern art in Weimar.  When Hitler came to power, he closed down this school, because he was in favor of classical art, not modern art, which he called “degenerate.”

I think that the history of Buchenwald should be preserved, including the gate, which should be kept in its original condition.

If a picture of an iron gate has to be shown, what about the iron gate at the exit of Goethe’s garden in Frankfurt, which is shown in the photo below.

Iron gate at the exit from Goethe's garden in Frankfurt

Iron gate at the exit from Goethe’s garden in Frankfurt

Any story about Germany should mention Goethe’s oak tree, the stump of which is located at the Buchenwald Memorial site.  Goethe used to take walks in the area where the Buchenwald camp is located; he would stop and rest under an oak tree.  Germany’s greatest hero was Goethe, which should have been mentioned in the story about the British exhibit, instead of the gate into the Buchenwald camp.

The stump of the oak tree, under which Goethe rested

The stump of the oak tree, under which Goethe rested

Continue reading my original post:

I always check my blog stats every morning to see which of my blog posts are getting the most hits. This morning, I was surprised to see that an old blog post, about the “Jedem das Seine” sign on the Buchenwald concentration camp gate, has been getting a lot of hits.  I set out to find out why.

Jedem das Seine on Buchenwald gate

Jedem das Seine on Buchenwald gate

I found out that it is probably because people are reading this news about a British exhibit and then searching the Internet to find out more.  I also wrote another blog post about the Jedem das Seine slogan here:

This quote is from the news story:

From a copy of the mediaeval (sic) Gutenberg bibl (sic) to Karl Marx’s Capital, an exhibition opening at the British Museum in London explores 600 years of German history frequently overshadowed by Nazi horrors.

The exhibition confronts that period head on, displaying a replica of the sign outside the Buchenwald concentration camp with the chilling slogan “Jedem das Seine” (To Each His Own).

Old photo of the Jedem das Seine gate at Buchenwald

Old photo of the Jedem das Seine gate at Buchenwald

The photo below, which I copied from the news article, shows the replica that is being displayed by the British.

Replica of the Jedem das Seine gate at Buchenwald

Replica of the Jedem das Seine gate at Buchenwald

As shown in the old photos, the gate into the Buchenwald was black, not silver as shown in the photo.  The sign faced the prisoners inside the camp, so that the prisoners could read it.

The Buchenwald gate, with its famous sign “Jedem das Seine,” was designed by Franz Ehrlich, a prisoner who had studied with Moholy-Nagy, Klee, Kandinsky and Josef Albers at the Bauhaus in Weimar.

Ehrlich had been arrested as a Communist resistance fighter in 1935. He was sent to Buchenwald two years later. In 1937, the Buchenwald camp was still new and had few buildings. Ehrlich, who had worked with architect Walter Gropius in his Bauhaus Berlin office, volunteered to work in the joinery workshop at Buchenwald; he was assigned to design and build the entrance gate.

The sans-serif lettering of the words “Jedem das Seine” show Ehrlich’s training under Bauhaus typographer Joost Schmidt. After he was released from Buchenwald in 1939, Ehrlich stayed on and worked as a paid architect at the SS training camp and munitions factories at Buchenwald.

Buchenwald was a Class II camp for hard-core political prisoners, mainly Communists, who were considered to be harder to “rehabilitate.” Consequently, conditions in the Buchenwald camp were more severe than at Dachau and Sachsenhausen, which were Class I camps, where many prisoners were released after being brain-washed into accepting such Nazi principles as obedience and hard work. The sign over the iron gates at both Dachau and Sachsenhausen read “Arbeit Macht Frei” or Work Brings Freedom.