Scrapbookpages Blog

August 29, 2012

Kinderblock 66 — a new documentary film about the boys of Buchenwald

Filed under: Buchenwald, Germany, Holocaust — Tags: — furtherglory @ 10:43 am

I read in the news here about a new documentary which tells the story of more than 900 boys who were saved from the Nazis in the Buchenwald concentration camp.  Four of them recently returned to the former Buchenwald camp to star in the documentary.

This quote is from the St. Louis Dispatch news about the documentary:

In the last desperate months of the Third Reich, the Nazis targeted Jewish children, who arrived at the Buchenwald death camp by the thousands. But the children had secret allies: a resistance movement of prisoners who vowed to protect them. Led by Antonin Kalina, a Czech communist, and Gustav Schiller, a Polish Jew, the underground resistance safeguarded more than 900 boys until the war was over. This documentary profiles four former prisoners of Block 66 who return to the camp 65 years after they were freed to honor the memory of their friends and protectors.

So the Nazis waited until the “last desperate months of the Third Reich” to target the Jewish children?  The Nazis sent Jewish children to Buchenwald to be killed?  Wait a minute!  Buchenwald didn’t have a gas chamber!  Why bring children from Auschwitz, which had gas chambers, to Buchenwald which had no gas chamber?

Fortunately, there were Communists at Buchenwald who organized an “underground resistance” to save “more than 900 boys” in the camp.  Were the Nazis powerless to stop the Communists from organizing a resistance movement?  Why didn’t the Nazis just kill the Communists?  Then they could have killed Jewish children at Buchenwald without any interference.

What about the little Jewish girls?  Where were they taken to be killed in “the last desperate months of the Third Reich”?

Most of the little girls stayed with their mothers in the Auschwitz camp, while the young boys, including Elie Wiesel, joined the march out of the camp and were taken to Buchenwald or other camps in Germany.  You can see photos of the children who stayed in the Auschwitz camp on my website here.

There is a preview of the film Kinderblock 66 on YouTube.  At 2:40 in the film, these words are on the screen:  “The Little Camp” was the death zone of the Buchenwald Concentration Camp.”  I thought that in-coming prisoners were put into “The Little Camp” because it was the quarantine section where new prisoners were kept in attempt to prevent the spread of disease in the camp.  I didn’t know that “The Little Camp” was the “death zone” where prisoners were brought to be killed.

But it gets worse.  At 3:21 in the documentary, these words are on the screen:  “As the Nazis faced defeat the number of Jews sent on death marches increased.”  The implication is that “death marches” were a means of killing Jews in the last days of the war.  The Nazis simply marched the Jews from one camp to another as a means of killing them. What an inefficient way to accomplish a genocide!

As we all know, the Nazis had a plan to kill all the Jews. That’s what genocide means.  But they fooled around and didn’t get their plan accomplished before they started losing the war, so in the final days, they had to resort to marching the Jews to death.

But the Communist underground saved 900 boys at Buchenwald from being marched to death. A Communist prisoner told the boys not to report to the Appellplatz (roll call place) and none of them did.  They were saved from being “marched to death.”

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.