If Anyone Would Have Told Us In 1945 That Certain Battles We Would Have To Fight Again, I Wouldn’t Have Believed It

I don’t think I have to tell anyone who Elie Wiesel is, but for those who don’t know him, I’ll provide a brief overview.

Elie Wiesel was born in Sighet (in Transylvania, now a part of Romania, but part of Hungary between 1940 and 1945) on 30 September 1928 and grew up in a Chassidic (and thus Orthodox Jewish) family.

After the Nazis had occupied Hungary in 1944, the Wiesel family was deported to the Auschwitz extermination camp. Elie Wiesel’s mother and younger sister were murdered in the gas chamber there. In 1945, Elie and his father were sent on to Buchenwald, where his father died of starvation and dysentery. Seventeen-year-old Elie was still alive when American soldiers opened the camp.

Elie is the 7th on the 2 row of bunkbeds, I believe

After World War II, Wiesel became a journalist, prolific author, professor, and human rights activist. He was a Distinguished Professor of Judaic Studies at the City University of New York (1972–1976). In 1976, he became the Andrew W. Mellon Professor in the Humanities at Boston University, where he also held the title of University Professor. During the 1982–83 academic year, Wiesel was the first Henry Luce Visiting Scholar in the Humanities and Social Thought at Yale University.

For any further information on Elie Wiesel, I will give you an assignment. We live in an era where nearly any information you want to get is at the reach of your fingertips. Do some research on Elie Wiesel on the internet or go into a library and find one of his books.

The title of this post is a quote from Elie Wiesel of an interview he had with Georg Klein, a fellow Holocaust survivor, in 1986. The clip below is appropriately titled “The world is not learning anything.”

It shames me to admit that Elie was so right, the world isn’t learning from its mistakes and history.

On this day, his birthday, I hope we all pause for a moment and contemplate what world we want to live in. Do we want hate to rule once more? Or do we want love to conquer? I know what I want.

Leaving you with some of Elie’s quotes:
The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference. The opposite of art is not ugliness, it’s indifference. The opposite of faith is not heresy, it’s indifference. And the opposite of life is not death, it’s indifference.

Human suffering anywhere concerns men and women everywhere.

We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. Sometimes we must interfere. When human lives are endangered, when human dignity is in jeopardy, national borders and sensitivities become irrelevant. Wherever men and women are persecuted because of their race, religion, or political views, that place must—at that moment—become the centre of the universe.







I could do a blog on any of the 44,000 Nazi concentration camps. Yes you are reading that right, there were about 44,000 concentration camps. Some were extermination camps, some were labour camps and there were transit camps. Regardless what their designation was, the ultimate aim was the annihilation of those deemed subhuman by the Nazis, be they Jews, Roma, Jehovah Witness, gay, political prisoners or disabled.

As the title suggests this blog is about Buchenwald ,one of the first camps, which was built in Germany itself. The majority of the other camps were built in eastern Europe.

Rather then writing too much about it, I will post some pictures. Some are graphic. I usually try to avoid graphic pictures but sometimes it is necessary to show the horrors.

Dutch Jews wearing prison uniforms marked with a yellow star and the letter “N”, for Netherlands, stand at attention during a roll call at the Buchenwald concentration camp. On February 28, 1941, 389 Jewish prisoners from Amsterdam and Rotterdam, many of them working class longshoremen, arrived in Buchenwald. All were immediately sent to work in the quarry and on construction projects, which led many to soon fall ill from exhaustion, exposure, and poor diet. Regardless of the deaths, camp leaders still considered the liquidation of the Dutch Jews to be proceeding too slowly and ordered the camp doctor, Eisele, to close the infirmary to Dutch Jews, expelling the bedridden or killing them by lethal injection.

Senator Alben W. Barkley of Kentucky, a member of a congressional committee investigating Nazi atrocities, views the evidence at first hand at Buchenwald concentration camp.

On the main gate, the motto Jedem das Seine (English: “To each his own”), was inscribed. The SS interpreted this to mean the “master race” had a right to humiliate and destroy others. It was designed by Buchenwald prisoner and Bauhaus architect Franz Ehrlich, who used a Bauhaus typeface for it, even though Bauhaus was seen as degenerate art by the National Socialists and was prohibited. This defiance however went unnoticed by the SS.

A trailer with corpses

Nazis ran out of coal and were unable to cremate bodies of the dead at camp just before it was liberated and just left the corpses pile up.

These are slave laborers in the Buchenwald concentration camp, many had died from malnutrition when U.S. troops of the 80th Division entered the camp. The very ill man lying at the back on the lower bunk is Max Hamburger, who had TBC and severe malnutrition. He recovered and became a psychiatrist in the Netherlands. Second row, seventh from left is Elie Wiesel. Photograph taken 5 days after liberation.


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