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Camp Buchenwald

Camp Buchenwald

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Table of Contents

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Camp Buchenwald .................................................................................................................1 Camp Buchenwald .................................................................................................................2

Outline I. Introduction II. Information A. Camp Buchenwald B. Elie Wiesel III. Conclusion

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Junhee Cho Ms. Murphy English- P3 26 April 2013

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Camp Buchenwald During the Holocaust many concentration camps were set up in order to hold or kill all the prisoners of the Nazis. Camp Buchenwald was the largest camp that was made in Germany. It was built in Ettersberg, Germany, near Weimar around 1935 to 1937. The camp had around 100 sub-camps and was persistently watched over by the Schutzstaffel or the S.S, who were guards or soldiers of the Nazis. Unlike other camps, that said Arbeit Macht Frei or Labor makes free on its gate, Buchenwald read Jedem das Seine, or To Each his Own. Buchenwald had a purpose of holding specific people, slave labor and medical testing. Horrible things occurred in the camps until its liberation. Each concentration camp built in World War II had its own purpose such as executing people or forcing them to work. Camp Buchenwald was built in order to imprison political prisoners of Germany such as German Communists and Social Democrats. They first started about by capturing just male prisoners in July 1937. Later on they also began to imprison women in late 1943 to early 1944. Not long after, the S.S. started to bring in Jews after the Kristallnacht, which occurred on November 9, 1938. It was a dramatic exhibition of hatred (Blashfield, 49) Kristallnacht, which means Night of Broken Glass, was named after the shards of shattered glass that lined German streets in the wake of the pogrombroken glass from the windows of synagogues, homes, and Jewish-owned businesses plundered and destroyed during 2
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Cho 6 the violence. (Kristallnacht) Soon, more and more people joined: German and Austrian gypsies, Jehovahs Witnesses, prisoners from war and etc. This led Buchenwald to have 51 different nationalities in just one camp.

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United States of America In order to guard such a big camp with a population over 250,000, the S.S. set up many defense systems. Surrounding the camp, there were electric barbed-wire fences to keep the prisoners from trying to escape. Even if a prisoner was lucky enough to get past the fence, there were watchtowers with machine guns at each post to spot any escapees. Either way, whether it was staying in the camp or trying to escape, it was certain death. Buchenwald was not an extermination camp as the camps in occupied Poland. Rather, its main purpose was slave labor. (Buchenwald Concentration Camp) Buchenwald was a forced labor camp, which meant that the prisoners were often worked to death. Along with several other forced labor camps, many Jews were sent to these camps to work as slaves. (Chrisp, 41) 2

Most of the things that the prisoners did were work for German war industries. One

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example of an industry that Buchenwald supported was the Deutsche-Ausrstungs-Werke or DAW, which is translated into German Equipment Works. Another example of a war industry that Buchenwald supported was munitions for the Gustloff business that built in March 1943. Although labor was the major part and purpose of Buchenwald, they still had special selections that occurred in other camps. The S.S. chose the weakest of the prisoners such as the disabled or the old, and prepared them for killing by using euthanasia or gassing them in chambers. This was also known as Operation 14f13. Besides euthanasia, the S.S. doctors also killed the prisoners by injecting phenol, a deadly chemical, into the bodies of the prisoners. But, using these chemicals werent the only way they killed the people; they also shot prisoners in stables, or hung them in the crematorium. After a person died, his or her body of was brought to the crematorium and burned there. Forced labor and execution may have been cruel, but what the Nazis did next was worse. A group of physicians began human experimentation in Block 64 in 1941. They started to test out vaccines for deadly diseases such as typhus, typhoid, cholera, and diphtheria. They also began to experiment with medicine, the human immunization system and sterilization. But one Dutch medical practitioner did something of the extremes. Dr. Carl Vaernet wanted to cure homosexuality and he started testing his theories on the prisoners. He tried to use hormonal transplants on people and tried to see how that would cure homosexuality. In his experiments, he inserted a capsule which released the male hormone testosterone (Homosexuals) inside the body of the homosexual.

Cho 8 All these unfortunate things continued on until the time of liberation. When the S.S.

heard of the Allies coming in to liberate the camp, they evacuated prisoners and took them on a death march out of Buchenwald. Almost 30,000 prisoners are forced on death marches away from the advancing American forces. (Death Marches) During the death march, most people froze to death and those who were tired were shot. Many of the prisoners lost their lives during the march. But, on April 10th, 1945, as the S.S. prepared to lead the remaining prisoners out of the camo, the resistance army postponed the march out of the camp. The camp had an active and organized resistance mo

Cho 9 vement, many of whose members held key administrative posts in camp. (Buchenwald, library.gatech.edu) A siren wailed and all the prisoners went back to their blocks. The evacuation was pushed to the next day. Then on April 11, 1945, three hours before the liberation of Buchenwald, the resistance movement attacked the S.S. when they began to evacuate the prisoners. By the time the Third Army general of the United States, George Patton, came to free the camp, there were only a half-dozen S.S. watchtower guards to man the camp. (Uses of the past: Versions of Buchenwald) As for the people, General Patton stated that they hardly even resembled breathing mummies. (Rodden, Memories from Hell) There were only 21,00 people left alive at the time of the liberation. In total, About 57,000 of the prisoners were murdered by the Nazis or died from starvation and disease.(World Encyclopedia: Buchenwald, 663) To this day, the clock at Buchenwald remains at 3:15 PM, the time of liberation. Although many people died at Buchenwald, some prisoners were lucky enough to survive. The famous writer and the Nobel Peace Prize winner, Elie Wiesel, was a survivor of Buchenwald. His book Night outlines the story of his life in Buchenwald. Eliezer or Elie Wiesel was captured and taken away to Auschwitz then Buchenwald when he was only sixteen years old. In his book Night, he quoted, Never shall I forget that night, the first night in camp, which has turned my life into one long night, seven times cursed and seven times sealed. (34) His mother and youngest sister were murdered. And he watched as his father died of starvation and diseases cause by overwork and inhumane conditions. (Pace) After being set free, Elie Wiesel worked for world peace and set up the Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity. He dedicated his life to ensuring that none of us forget what happened to the Jews. (Elie Wiesel Bio) Eventually in 1986, he won the Nobel Peace Prize. 2

Looking at the survivors, the prisoners and even the Nazis of the Holocaust can

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teach us a great lesson for us, the future generations. People cannot, and should not treat others in this horrifying manner. Within it, you can see the medical testing, the labor, the killings and just the plain cruelty of the Nazi soldiers. We can actually feel this pain just by studying the Camp Buchenwald. Buchenwald will always serve a reminder of the Holocaust.

Works Cited Blashfield, Jean F. Germany. New York: Children's, 2003. Print. Enchantment of the World. Second Series. "Buchenwald." Buchenwald. Web. 10 Mar. 2013. <http://www.library.gatech.edu/holocaust/buchendes.htm>. "Buchenwald. Holocaust History. United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Web. 10 Mar. 2013. <http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.php?ModuleId=10005198>. Buchenwald. World Encyclopedia. 2001 ed. "Buchenwald Concentration Camp." Center for Holocaust & Genocide Studies : University of Minnesota. University of Minnesota. Web. 10 Mar. 2013. <http://www.chgs.umn.edu/museum/memorials/buchenwald/>. Chrisp, Peter. World War II: Fighting for Freedom : The Story of the Conflict That Changed the World, 1939-1945. New York: Scholastic, 2010. Print. Death Marches. Holocaust History. United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Web. 22 April 2013. < http://www.ushmm.org/outreach/en/article.php?ModuleId=10007734> 2

"Elie Wiesel Bio." Elie Wiesel Bio. Web. 17 Mar. 2013. <http://xroads.virginia.edu/~cap/holo/eliebio.htm>.

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Homosexuals: Victims of the Nazi Era. Holocaust History. United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Web. 25 April 2013 <http://www.ushmm.org/education/resource/hms/homosx.php> Kristallnacht: A Nationwide Pogrom, November 9-10, 1938. Holocaust History. United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Web. 23 April 2013. <http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.php?ModuleId=10005201> Pace, Audra. Elie Wiesel, Witness. Middle Search Plus. Read. 2009. EBSCOhost. Seoul, Korea. Web. 2 April 2013 <http://web.ebscohost.com/ehost/detail?sid=90548c98-ad46-46329996-a37b25540ae5%40sessionmgr110&vid=1&hid=125&bdata=JnNpdGU9Z Whvc3QtbGl2ZQ%3d%3d#db=mih&AN=36657519> Rodden, John. Memories from hell.: MAS Ultra - School Edition. America. 1995. EBSCOhost. Seoul, Korea. 2 Web. 20 Mar. 2013. <http://web.ebscohost.com/ehost/detail?vid=9&sid=400916f6-3df8-4082-8756eb39975bff09%40sessionmgr104&hid=14&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZQ%3d%3 d#db=ulh&AN=9505021253> Rodden, John. Uses of the past: Versions of Buchenwald. MAS Ultra - School Edition. Christian Century. 1995. EBSCOhost. Seoul, Korea. 2 April 2013 <http://web.ebscohost.com/ehost/detail?sid=b90af235-02b7-4eb1-bfb6a91ecd21e06d%40sessionmgr15&vid=1&hid=14&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZQ %3d%3d#db=ulh&AN=9505095098> 2

Wiesel, Elie. Night. United States: Hill and Wang, 2006. Print.

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