Scrapbookpages Blog

March 24, 2014

Holocaust survivor of Buchenwald who was sent to France

Filed under: Buchenwald, Germany, Holocaust — Tags: , — furtherglory @ 9:30 am

In a news story, which you can read here, it was mentioned that Leo Lowy was a Jewish survivor of Buchenwald, who was sent to France after the camp was liberated. Before he was sent to Buchenwald, Lowy had been a prisoner at Auschwitz, which was the SECOND camp to which he had been sent.

The news article did not mention the first camp, to which he was sent, but it was probably the Theresienstat camp in what is now the Czech Republic, since Lowy was living in Czechoslovia at that time.

Lowy was 85 years old when he died, so he was probably born in 1929 and was 15 years old when he was sent to Theresienstadt.

According to Holocaust history, a total of 44,693 Jews from Theresienstadt were sent to Auschwitz-Birkenau. On September 8, 1943, a transport of 5,006 Czech Jews was sent to Auschwitz where they were put into a “family camp” which was liquidated six months later, when all but a few of the Czech Jews were gassed. There were 22,503 Jews from Theresienstadt who were transported to unknown destinations in the east.

At Auschwitz, Lowy was sent to the right by Dr. Josef Mengele because he claimed that he was a “carpenter” and able to work. To the left meant the gas chamber.

This quote from the news article explains why Leo Lowy’s parents were gassed:

[Lowy] was left orphaned after his parents became ill and were refused admittance to the [Auschwitz] hospital because they were Jews.

Contrary to Lowy’s story, Otto Frank,  the father of Anne Frank, was admitted to the hospital at Auschwitz, which enabled him to survive the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp.  Anne Frank also survived Auschwitz-Birkenau because she was sick and was sent on the “sick transport” to Bergen-Belsen, where she subsequently died in the typhus epidemic.

This quote is also from the news article:

After the liberation [of Buchenwald] in 1945, U.S. troops took in the teenager [Leo Lowy] as their “mascot,” feeding him in exchange for chores, and brought him to France.

There were 904 children, who were in the Buchenwald camp when it was liberated, and most of them were orphans.  After the liberation of the camp, two American army chaplains, Rabbi Herschel Schacter and Rabbi Robert Marcus, contacted the offices of the OSE (Oeuvre de Secours aux Enfants), the Jewish children’s relief organization in Geneva, Switzerland.

Children at Buchenwald, most of whom  were orphans

Children at Buchenwald, most of whom were orphans

The OSE made arrangements to send 427 of the Buchenwald children to France, 280 to Switzerland and 250 to England. On June 2, 1945, OSE representatives arrived in Buchenwald and along with Rabbi Marcus, accompanied the transport to France. Rabbi Schacter escorted the second transport to Switzerland.

Buchenwald orphans leave the camp, on their way to France

Buchenwald orphans leave the camp, on their way to France

July 17, 2013

Whatever happened to Ken Waltzer’s proposed book about the Buchenwald orphans?

Filed under: Buchenwald, Germany, Holocaust — Tags: , , — furtherglory @ 10:50 am
Child survivors of Buchenwals; not all of them were orphans

Child survivors of Buchenwald; not all of them were orphans

I have a whole library of books about World War II and the Holocaust, but none that I have purchased recently.  Today, I decided that it is time for me to read some new books because the Holocaust story is changing daily. That’s why I did a search to find out if Ken Waltzer’s proposed book about the Buchenwald orphans has been released yet.

Buchenwald orphans leave on a train bound for France

Buchenwald orphans, not including Elie Wiesel, leave on a train bound for France

The first website that came up in my search was Carolyn Yeager’s where I found this quote:

This writer [Carolyn Yeager] suspects that Ken Waltzer is having difficulty convincingly incorporating Elie Wiesel into the story of the “boys of Buchenwald” and their rescue. He has been a friend and devotee of Wiesel for many years, they are both strongly associated with the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, and Wiesel has been a part of his Buchenwald story from the beginning. But the real evidence for Elie Wiesel ever being an inmate at Buchenwald doesn’t exist. There are no photographs of Elie Wiesel at Buchenwald. There are no photos of Wiesel during his supposed concentration camp period at all.

I think Waltzer believed this slipshod approach he employs would pass without comment, but he didn’t count on the appearance of Elie Wiesel Cons the World website. We are a real problem  for Ken Waltzer!

Yeager is the English spelling of the German word Jäger which means Hunter.  You can read the definition of the word Waltzer here:  [German Walzer, from walzen, to turn about, from Middle High German, to roll, from Old High German walzan; see wel-2 in Indo-European roots.]

What’s in a name?  Carolyn is the hunter and Ken is the walzer.  How appropriate!  He has been dancing around for 6 years now, while she has been relentlessly hunting him down.

Teenagers who were liberated from Buchenwald, not including Elie Wiesel

Teenagers who were liberated from Buchenwald, not including Elie Wiesel

Buchenwald orphans march out of the camp; where is Elie Wiesel?

Buchenwald orphans march out of the camp; where is Elie Wiesel?

I think that Ken Waltzer has now tacitly admitted that Elie Wiesel was never in Buchenwald, nor in any other concentration camp.  Waltzer has been saved from total embarrassment by Carolyn Yeager. She has prevented him from writing a book that would have been full of lies.  He would have been disgraced as the new Rosenblat, if Carolyn had not saved him.


April 1, 2013

New article by Carolyn Yeager accuses Professor Ken Waltzer of being a “fraud”

Filed under: Buchenwald, Germany, Holocaust — Tags: , , — furtherglory @ 2:28 pm

I just got a pingback from wordpress because another blogger quoted a comment on my blog in a new post that went up this morning on the blog entitled Elie Wiesel Cons the World.

This quote is from the article, written by Carolyn Yeager, that you can read in full here:

I [Carolyn Yeager] wrote back to him [Ken Waltzer] asking where I could find it [his essay] because I wanted to read it. No reply – which is typical because factual information is not his forte, emotional rhetoric is. What might be in his essay on Elie Wiesel and Buchenwald? Will it be the same as he wrote in a March 6, 2010 comment at Scrapbookpages Blog, when he said:

[Begin Quote]
For the skeptics [I was using the name skeptic then -cy] and know-nothings who have written in suggesting Eli Wiesel was not in the camps, that Night is purely fiction, you are all dead wrong. The Red Cross International Tracing Service Archives documents for Lazar Wiesel and his father prove beyond any doubt that Lazar and his father arrived from Buna to Buchenwald January 26, 1945, that his father soon died a few days later, and that Lazar Wiesel was then moved to block 66, the children’s block in the little camp in Buchenwald. THese documents are backed up by military interviews with others from Sighet who were also in block 66, and by the list of Buchenwald boys sent thereafter to France. All of this is public domain.

Wishful thinking by Holocaust deniers will not make their fantasies true. While Wiesel took liberties in writing Night as a literary masterpiece, Night is rooted in the foundation of Wiesel’s experience in the camps. The Buchenwald experience, particularly, runs closely to what is related in Night.

Comment by kenwaltzer — November 14, 2010 @ 6:57 am
[End quote]

I usually don’t allow name calling in the comments on my blog, but I let “know-nothings” pass because Know Nothings refers to a political party from the dim past.

Ms. Yeager wrote in her latest blog post that the web page, in which Ken Waltzer identified Elie Wiesel in a photo of the boys of Buchenwald marching out of the camp, has been taken down and replaced by another page.   I previously blogged about the web page that was taken down; you can read my blog post here.

Carolyn Yeager is absolutely fearless.  She’s not afraid of Ken Waltzer, as he is finding out.  I would love to know what is going on behind the scenes, among the True Believers, in view of this latest accusation of fraud.

July 28, 2012

Antonin Kalina, the Communist prisoner at Buchenwald, who saved the orphan boys

Filed under: Buchenwald, Germany, Holocaust — Tags: , — furtherglory @ 11:27 am

Child survivors of Buchenwald from Block 66

This morning, I read a very nice article here about the “Boys of Buchenwald” who were saved in Block 66 by Antonin Kalina, a Communist prisoner in the camp. The photo above shows some of the boys, who are wearing clothes made for them out of German uniforms. Could the man in the back row be Antonin Kalina?  The boy in the center of the front row is 4-year-old Janek Szlajfaztajn (Joseph Schleifstein).

This quote is from the end of the article, which was written by Brad Rothchild:

After the war, Kalina returned to his home in Czechoslovakia and lived out the remainder of his life in obscurity. His boys began new lives in Israel, the United States, Australia and Europe; but they always remembered the Czech communist who risked his life in order to save theirs. Over the past few years, the surviving boys, along with the historian Kenneth Waltzer, have initiated a process to have Kalina recognized as Righteous Among the Nations by Yad Vashem. Providing testimonies and bearing witness for perhaps the final time, these survivors have been working to ensure that their rescuer receives the recognition that he deserves. As the decision drew near, exhaustive efforts were made on Kalina’s behalf in Israel by former Buchenwald boy and current member of the International Buchenwald Committee, Naftali Furst, and his life partner Tova Wagman.

This month, nearly 70 years after the end of the Holocaust and over 20 years since Antonin Kalina’s death, Yad Vashem granted him this honor. While there is no surviving member of the Kalina family to accept the medal that goes along with it, this honor is shared by the surviving boys of block 66, their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. May his memory be a blessing for them all.

There are a few details in Rothchild’s article which I believe are incorrect. He writes that Kalina “risked his life” in order to save the boys in Barrack 66.  This implies that the SS men at Buchenwald were trying to get their hands on these young boys, to kill them, but Kalina intervened and managed to save their lives, risking his own life in the process.

Rothchild wrote that “Thanks to Kalina’s efforts, unlike the other prisoners in Buchenwald, the boys of block 66 did not have to leave their barrack for roll call — instead of assembling with the rest of the camp twice a day no matter the conditions outside, the boys stayed inside.”

This contradicts what the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum says here about Janek Sziafaztain, which I am quoting:

Josef (Janek) Szlajfaztajn (later Joseph Schleifstein) is the son of Izrael and Esther Schleifstein. He was born on March 7, 1941 in Sandomierz, Poland during the German occupation. The family remained in Sandomierz through its existence as a ghetto, from June 1942 through January 1943. After the liquidation of the ghetto the family was moved to Czestochowa, where Israel and Esther were presumably put to work in one of the HASAG factory camps. During this period Joseph was placed in hiding in the area. Israel was sent to work for the Letzium Work Camp in the Radom District working for a firm called Ralnik from October 1942 till September 1943. He worked in Makashin, near Sandomierz, from September till December 1943; in a HASAG ammunition factory in Kielc from December 1943 to approximately November 1944; and for a short time in Czestochowa. In January 1945, when the HASAG camps were closed and their operations transferred to Germany, the Schleifsteins were deported to Germany. Esther was sent to the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. Izrael and Josef were taken to Buchenwald and arrived on January 20, 1945. Izrael successfully passed the selection process by concealing Josef in a large sack in which he carried his leather-working tools. The child could not remain concealed for long in the camp, but his life was spared, in part because the Germans valued Israel’s craftsmanship and in part because they took a liking to the child. The SS guards came to treat Joseph as a camp mascot, and even had him appear at roll calls wearing a child-sized striped uniform.

It could be that little 4-year-old Josef was the only one of the Buchenwald Boys who appeared at roll calls, since the SS guards treated him as the “camp mascot.”  However, this shows that the SS men at Buchenwald were not trying to kill the young boys in Block 66, as was implied in Rothchild’s article.

This quote is from Rothchild’s article:

Kalina, a political prisoner, had risen to a position of influence in the communist underground, which ran the day-to-day operations of the camp on behalf of the Nazi SS at Buchenwald. When the boys arrived at Buchenwald, Kalina knew that something must be done to protect them — as a true believer, Kalina saw in the boys the hope for a brighter future. He and his fellow prisoners decided to place the youths in a special barrack, far away from the main part of the camp, deep in the filthy quarantine area where the SS was loath to go. This barrack, number 66 in the “little camp” at Buchenwald, became known as the “kinderblock,” or children’s block. Antonin Kalina was the block elder. In this capacity, he went to extraordinary lengths to ensure the survival of the boys held there.

In all of the Nazi concentration camps, there was a quarantine section where all new prisoners were kept for a few weeks so as to prevent the spread of disease.  The quarantine camp at Buchenwald was called the “Little Camp.”

Every block (barrack) in all the Nazi concentration camps had a block elder, who lived in a tiny room in the barrack, and supervised the inmates.  The block elder was a Kapo (captain), a prisoner who assisted the Nazis in running the camp. This was the system in all the camps, not just at Buchenwald.

Buchenwald was one of the main camps for political prisoners, who were mainly captured Resistance fighters, aka illegal combatants.  It was not a “death camp” for Jews, although there were Jewish prisoners, especially after Auschwitz was evacuated and the surviving prisoners were brought to Germany.

Rothchild wrote about the “death march” to Buchenwald, but actually the Auschwitz prisoners were only marched as far as the German border, and then put on trains to be taken to camps in Germany. (Elie Wiesel tells about this in his book Night.)

When the Buchenwald camp was originally opened in 1937, the Nazis brought common criminals, from the Sachsenhausen camp near Berlin, to run the camp internally. But after the first Commandant, Karl Otto Koch, was relieved of his duties and sent to Majdanek, the new Commandant, Hermann Pister, allowed the Communists to take over the running of the camp.

The following quote is from Robert Abzug in his book Inside the Vicious Heart:

Meanwhile, in all this upheaval, the new commandant Hermann Pister allowed a German Communist prisoner group, some of them original inmates of the camp, to wrest power from the ‘greens.’ [The greens were common criminals who wore green triangles.] The Communist prisoners reduced the amount of black marketeering and other common corruption, cut down the amount of wanton sadism on the part of prisoner trustees (or Kapos), and made plans for the ultimate takeover of the camp in case of Nazi defeat. But in other ways the Communists merely shifted the ground of corruption to the assignment of work details, food, medical care, and ultimately life. From their takeover until the end of the war, favored treatment was often received on the basis of political loyalties. The Nazis for their part, gained from the Communist regime a more predictable work force and a greater sense of order.

In other words, the Communists at Buchenwald decided who would live and who would die.  It was not a question of which prisoners would be saved from the Nazis by the Communists.  The Nazis were not trying to kill the orphan boys of Buchenwald.

General Patton visited the Buchenwald camp on April 15, 1945, after the camp was liberated by the Communist prisoners, shortly before the arrival of American troops on April 11, 1945.
In the following quote from his autobiography, General Patton explained his understanding of the Nazi system of killing prisoners at Buchenwald, as told to him by the former inmates:

One of the most horrible points about this place was that all these executions were carried out by slaves. There was a further devilish arrangement of making the various groups select those who had to die. Each racial group had a certain number of men who represented it. These men had to select those from their group who would be killed locally, or sent to camps like Ohrdruf, which were termed “elimination camps.”

Ohrdruf was a sub-camp of Buchenwald; it was a forced labor camp, not “an elimination camp” or a death camp. It had underground factories where prisoners were forced to work in the German war industry.

The orphan boys in Block 66 were saved, by the Communists, from being sent to a sub-camp.  There were other young boys at Buchenwald, who were sent to the sub-camps to work.  I previously blogged here about Ben Helfgott, who was not an orphan when he arrived at Buchenwald; he was sent from the Buchenwald main camp to a sub-camp, but he still managed to survive.

June 28, 2012

Kinderblock 66: Return to Buchenwald (Documentary about the orphans in the camp)

A documentary about four of the young boys in Block 66, the barracks for orphan boys at Buchenwald, was released in April 2012.  You can read about the film here.

Elie Wiesel is the most famous survivor of Buchenwald, but he is not among the four survivors who returned to Buchenwald for this documentary.  Elie was an orphan after his father died in the Buchenwald camp, but he claims that he was in Block 56, a barrack for adult men.  I previously blogged about Elie Wiesel in Buchenwald here.

Block 66 was located in “The Little Camp,” which was the quarantine camp where new arrivals had to spend time before entering the main part of the camp.  Most of the prisoners in the Little Camp were Jews who had been transferred to Buchenwald after they were evacuated from camps in what is now Poland. One of the narrators in the film refers to “The Little Camp” as “the death zone.”

The boys in Block 66 were protected by the Communist political prisoners who ran the camp. It is implied in the film that the Nazis were trying to kill all the prisoners at Buchenwald, and the Communists had to decide which prisoners that they would save. In the last days of World War II, before the Communists took over the Buchenwald camp completely and drove the Nazis out, the SS administrators of the camp ordered all the prisoners to report to the Appelplatz, from where they would be “death marched” out of the camp, or put on trains and taken to other concentration camps, such as Dachau.  A photo of the death train at Dachau is shown in the film. I previously blogged about a death march out of the Buchenwald camp here.

Ken Waltzer is one of the narrators in the YouTube video about the film. At 0:39 seconds in the video, you can see a young boy, who might be one of the two boys, who were at Buchenwald.

September 29, 2011

Elie Wiesel at Buchenwald: “I was there, but I wasn’t there.”

Filed under: Buchenwald, Germany, Holocaust — Tags: , , , — furtherglory @ 10:33 am

On June 5, 2009, Elie Wiesel accompanied President Barack Obama on a trip to the Memorial Site on the grounds of the former Buchenwald concentration camp.  Obama made a televised speech, standing in front of the Jedem Das Seine gate, which was in the open position.  Standing (unseen) behind him was Bertrand Hertz, one of the Buchenwald orphans who survived.

Early in his speech, Obama said this:

We saw the area known as Little Camp where Elie and Bertrand were sent as boys. In fact, at the place that commemorates this camp, there is a photograph in which we can see a 16-year-old Elie in one of the bunks along with the others. We saw the ovens of the crematorium, the guard towers, the barbed wire fences, the foundations of barracks that once held people in the most unimaginable conditions.

Following Obama’s speech, Elie Wiesel stepped up to the podium, and said this:

Mr. President, Chancellor Merkel, Bertrand, ladies and gentlemen. As I came here today it was actually a way of coming and visiting my father’s grave — but he had no grave. His grave is somewhere in the sky. This has become in those years the largest cemetery of the Jewish people.  The day he died was one of the darkest in my life. He became sick, weak, and I was there. I was there when he suffered. I was there when he asked for help, for water. I was there to receive his last words. But I was not there when he called for me, although we were in the same block; he on the upper bed and I on the lower bed. He called my name, and I was too afraid to move. All of us were. And then he died. I was there, but I was not there.

What are we to make of this?  The reason that I dredged up this memory of Elie Wiesel’s words at Buchenwald is because the question of whether Elie was really an orphan at Buchenwald just won’t go away.  Now a new post, which questions Elie Wiesel’s claim to be a Buchenwald orphan, has just gone up on the Elie Wiesel Cons the World blog, which you can read here.

October 13, 2010

The remarkable story of Ben Helfgott, a Buchenwald survivor

I have recently become fascinated with the story of the orphan boys at the Buchenwald concentration camp. There were 904 boys under the age of 17 in the main camp; most of whom were fatherless.  However, Ben Helfgott was not one of the 904 orphan boys in the Buchenwald main camp.

The orphan boys in the main camp were protected by the Communist prisoners, who prevented the SS staff from sending them to the sub-camps to work. Helfgott was not an orphan when he arrived at Buchenwald.

According to this website:

“Shortly after arriving in Buchenwald, Ben was separated from his father and sent to a sub-camp in Schlieben where anti-tank weapons were produced. Ben would never see his father again. He later learned that his father was shot on a death march while trying to escape.”

The 904 boys, who were rescued by American soldiers on April 11, 1945, had been saved by the Communist prisoners from being sent to the sub-camps.

I first heard of Ben Helfgott in a book entitled Holocaust Journey, written by Martin Gilbert several years ago. I remembered Helfgott’s name because he said something about the German people who were burned alive, near Theresienstadt, as they tried to escape from the angry Czechs who expelled them after the war. I was impressed that he could show sympathy for the German expellees who had suffered.  (The former Dachau concentration camp became a home for German refugees from Czechoslovakia for 17 years.)

The book, Holocaust Journey, is about a trip to several concentration camps, which was led by Martin Gilbert.  One of the camps on the trip was Treblinka.   I have just learned that Helfgott narrowly escaped from being sent to Treblinka himself.

I have highlighted the important points in a quote from this website which tells Ben Helfgott’s remarkable story:

Ben was almost 10 years old when his childhood abruptly ended with the Nazi invasion of Poland. He and his family were ordered to move into the Piotrkow ghetto by the 1st November 1939. It was the first ghetto in Poland. Three years later, on October 14, 1942, deportations from his hometown started – for seven days, the Jews in the ghetto were deported to Treblinka.

Of the 25,000 Jews in the ghetto in Piotrkow at the time only 2,500 remained. Ben managed to avoid deportation because of his work in the glass factory. During the deportation, his parents and his two younger sisters were in hiding with 3 different Polish families.

Each of them, however, encountered problems with the families that hid them and each eventually made their way back to the ghetto. Ben’s father arranged forged papers that listed the family as part of the 2,500 that could remain in a much reduced area of the ghetto. Informed that if they registered they would be legalized and receive food rations, Ben’s mother took his sister, Lusia, who was 8 years old, to register. It was a deception. His mother and sister were taken with 560 others to the synagogue and held there for two weeks, before being marched to the nearby Rakow forest and murdered.

Treblinka was one of the three Operation Reinhard camps which were set up as “death camps” after the Wannsee Conference on January 20, 1942 at which the genocide of the Jews was planned.  Ben Helfgott was born in 1929 and he would have been just 13 in 1942, but he was not included in the transport to Treblinka because he was working in a glass factory.  His parents and his sisters had to go into hiding and then get forged papers so that they could remain in the ghetto.

I am puzzled by this story.  Doesn’t genocide mean that everyone in a certain ethnic group is killed for no reason at all?  If 2,500 people in the ghetto were allowed to stay behind, and were not sent to Treblinka, was this genocide? If a 13-year-old boy could get such an important job in a glass factory, why couldn’t his parents have gotten a similar job?  Did Ben have small fingers, like the children that Oscar Schindler saved, because they were needed in his factory?

In reading more about the Piotrkow ghetto on the web, I learned that there were some other famous survivors of Buchenwald, who were from Piotrkow. They also had relatives who were sent to Treblinka and gassed.

You can read the story here of Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau, who was an orphan child of 8 when he was liberated from Buchenwald.  Rabbi Lau published a book in which he wrote about how his father bribed a German officer, by giving him a gold watch, to allow his brother to stay in the ghetto, but after getting the watch, “the Nazi had turned his back on my father and laughed.”

His father knew what would happen.  Rabbi Lau wrote:

“We won’t be seeing Shmuel any more,” my father told me, with tears flowing from his eyes. Shmuel was sent to Treblinka that night.

So it seems that there was a selection in the Piotrkow ghetto in which some of the able-bodied Jews were sent to Treblinka to be gassed while children were allowed to live.  After the destruction of the Piotrkow ghetto in October 1942, Rabbi Moshe Chaim Lau, the father of  Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau, was sent to Treblinka, but two of his younger children were allowed to live.

Remarkably the child who became Rabbi Lau was selected to work in the glass factory in the ghetto, instead of being sent to Treblinka; he wrote this in his book:

In the Piotrkow ghetto, I worked in the glass factory for eight hours a day nonstop, carrying huge bottles of drinking water for the workers in the factory, where the temperature was 140 degrees. For a whole year I did this, in snow, in storms, in heat, carrying heavy bottles into that blazing hot room. And then I was only five and a half years old.

Another famous survivor of the Piotrkow ghetto was Herman Rosenblat who wrote Angel at the Fence, a book that is now being turned into a novel because the main part of the story is fiction.  Herman was sent from the Piotrkow ghetto to Buchenwald where he stayed from December 2 to December 8, 1944 before being transferred to the Schlieben sub-camp, and then to a work camp in Czechoslovakia, where he was liberated.

Although their father, mother and one of their brothers were sent to Treblinka, Naftali and Meir Lau were not sent to Treblinka. Naftali worked for two years  in the Hortensja glass factory in Piotrkow and two months in the Hasag Werke in Czestochowa. Then he and his younger brother, Meir Lau (nicknamed Lulek), the sons of Rabbi Moshe Chaim Lau, were sent to the Buchenwald main camp, arriving on January 20, 1945.   They were liberated by American troops on April 11, 1945.

September 13, 2010

Keeping up with the Wiesels…

Filed under: Germany, Holocaust — Tags: , , , — furtherglory @ 12:09 pm

No, the title of this blog post does not refer to a new TV reality show.  This is about the ongoing controversy regarding two men named Wiesel: Elie Wiesel and Lázár Wiesel.  Elie Wiesel is the author of the famous book, Night, that is currently assigned reading for virtually every school kid in America.  Lázár Wiesel is the name of a young man from Elie Wiesel’s home town in Hungary, who was a prisoner in the Buchenwald concentration camp, the same place where Elie Wiesel claims to have been a prisoner in 1945.

Elie’s full name is Eliezer Wiesel and there has been some speculation that he and Lázár Wiesel might be the same person. Both were born around the same time in 1928 and both were allegedly liberated from the Buchenwald concentration camp on April 11, 1945.

There are documents which prove that Lázár Wiesel was one of the 904 “orphans” at Buchenwald and that he was sent to France in July 1945.  Elie Wiesel was living in France after World War II and he also claims to have been on that list of “orphans,” although there are no documents to prove his claim.  There are no documents to prove that Elie was registered in Buchenwald, nor even that he was registered in Auschwitz.

Now a researcher has proved that Eliezer Wiesel and Lázár Wiesel are definitely not the same person because their signatures are not the same.  Some people might say “So what?”  Others are outraged. Elie Wiesel is an icon; he has made millions off his books and speeches about the Holocaust, and has been awarded prizes for his stories.  But is he a fraud?

I believe that Elie Wiesel wrote the book Night, but there is no proof that he wrote the original book, that Night was based on.  You can read the three part essay entitled Shadowy Origins of “Night” here.

In 1948, America changed the laws which had previously limited the number of immigrants from Germany coming to America, and thousands of Holocaust survivors came here, while thousands of others emigrated to Israel.   Almost none of these survivors wrote books about their experience in the Nazi death camps in the 50s and 60s, probably because they did not want to be confronted with the obvious question: “How did you manage to survive when 6 million Jews were killed?”  Many people thought that the obvious answer to that question was that the survivors had co-operated with the Nazis.

In 1954, at a time when there was no market for Holocaust survivor books, Elie Wiesel allegedly wrote an 862 page book called Un di Velt Hot Gesvign (And the World Remained Silent). This 862 page book became the basis for the book Night.  Elie claims that he typed up this book, which was written  in Yiddish, while he was on an ocean voyage to Brazil in the Spring of 1954.  Yiddish is a dialect of German, but it is written with Hebrew letters.

The researcher, who questions whether Elie Wiesel wrote the original book, brings up the question of where the author got enough typewriter ribbons to type up a 862 page book while he was in the middle of the ocean.

Elie Wiesel worked for a Yiddish newspaper in 1954, so that’s why he had a Yiddish typewriter. There is a photo of a Yiddish typewriter included in part III of the article about the Shadowy Origins of Night.

April 12, 2010

A World War II vet’s memories of Buchenwald

Filed under: Buchenwald, Germany, Holocaust, World War II — Tags: , , , — furtherglory @ 9:37 am

In today’s online edition of The Register Guard, there is an article by Winston Ross about Bill Sarnoff, a U.S. navy man who was sent to Buchenwald for five days to help the survivors after the camp was liberated on April 11, 1945. Now 84 years old, Sarnoff told his story yesterday to more than 100 people who attended a Holocaust Remembrance Day event. Bill Sarnoff was sent to Buchenwald because he was familiar with several European languages. His job was to help by communicating with the sick prisoners in the camp.

According to the article by Winston Ross, here’s what Sarnoff told the crowd in the Thurston High School auditorium, followed by my comments:

“One day the call came from his superiors for any sailor who could speak a European language, and before long Sarnoff found himself en route to Buchenwald, in western Germany, to help the 23,000 surviving prisoners recuperate and ultimately leave the camp.”

Most accounts of the Buchenwald liberation say that there were 21,000 survivors in the camp.

“The only healthy prisoners he met were women, fed adequately so they could be sex slaves for German soldiers, Sarnoff said. He fed prisoners in the shadow of three crematoriums, used to incinerate the dead.”

There was a brothel at Buchenwald, but it was for the prisoners.  There was only one crematorium at Buchenwald. There were 3,000 sick prisoners and 18,000 who were not sick. The photos below show healthy prisoners and the one crematorium.

Some of the 18,000 healthy prisoners at Buchenwald

The one and only crematorium at Buchenwald

Ovens in the one and only crematorium at Buchenwald

“Buchenwald starved and beat to death 238,000 prisoners, Sarnoff said. Prisoners were shipped there weekly, 300 at a time, he said. Those under 105 pounds were sent directly to Auschwitz, to be executed.”

According to a U.S. Army report dated May 25, 1945, there was a total of 238,980 prisoners sent to Buchenwald during its 8-year history from July 1937 to April 11, 1945, and 34,375 of them died in the camp. This report was based on records confiscated from the camp by the US military, after the camp was liberated.

A later U.S. Government report in June, 1945 put the total deaths at 33,462 with 20,000 of the deaths in the final months of the war.

Prisoners were not sent from Buchenwald to Auschwitz to be executed.  It was the other way around: survivors from Auschwitz, who had not been executed, were evacuated to Buchenwald.

“Children ages 6 to 15 were used for medical experiments, injected with typhoid, diphtheria, pneumonia and syphilis, he said. Sarnoff said he saw a brass blowtorch that had been used to burn many children, to see how they would recover.”

This statement by Sarnoff could easily win a prize for the biggest lie ever told.  There were 904 young boys in the camp who were protected by the Communist prisoners who ran the camp.  They ranged in age from 4 years old to 17 years old. (Some accounts say that there was a 2-year-old among the orphans.)

There were medical experiments done at Buchenwald, but these experiments were done to find a vaccine for typhus, which was the disease that devastated all the concentration camps in the last 5 months of the war. The prisoners who were used in the experiments were criminals who had been condemned to death and had been sent to Buchenwald to await their execution date.

The youngest survivors of Buchenwald

“He learned that each new prisoner was given a spoon and a bowl, provided so they could consume a meager ration of watery potato soup. If they lost the bowl, they starved. There were no weeds or grass in the camp, as all vegetation had been consumed by the prisoners.”

It is true that each prisoner had to keep his spoon and bowl in his possession, and he had to keep these items from being stolen.  If a prisoner lost his bowl, he still had a cup that he could eat soup out of, or he could steal someone else’s bowl.  A prisoner who lost all of his dishes and utensils could still eat bread, and he could share a bowl with another prisoner.

Another article published online on April 8th by Glenn Farley/King 5 News had this information about Joe Moser, a World War II fighter pilot who spent two months as a prisoner at Buchenwald:

What gets his daughter Julie Hanes, a nurse, was the torture and the medical experiments carried out on her father and the others.

“They just injected medicines. They didn’t know what they were. They used the same needle over and over and over again,” said Hanes.

According to Wikipedia, there are laws against Holocaust denial in Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hungary, Israel, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain and Switzerland.  Holocaust denial is punishable by up to 20 years in prison in Austria, and up to 5 years in most other countries.  Isn’t it time to punish Holocaust liars?

This article totaled me out for today; I can’t read any more news about the Buchenwald anniversary celebration.