Buchenwald. A trembling testimony by Buchenwald and Ravensbrück camp inmate Jean Fonteyne - published about a month after the liberation of the camp by the Allies, in Brussels - May 20, 1945. Accompanied by photographs of horrific scenes of tortured prisoners in Buchenwald, and of the bodies of the perished. Dutch. The first and rare edition, which was published immediately upon liberation by Nouvelle Revue Belgique, and was about a year ahead of the famous edition published in France.
The author was arrested by the Gestapo in Brussels on July 6, 1943. After spending nine and a half months in the Breendonk torture camp, he was transferred to Buchenwald on May 8, 1944. He was liberated by the U.S. Army on April 11, 1945. Following repeated requests from members of the Belgian community that were with him in the camp to write his story, he published his experiences in the camps in the post-war camp newspaper in parts, for two weeks between April 23 and May 4. About two weeks later, the entire testimony was published in the book before us. One of the earliest publications of a prisoner in the camps, published less than a month after his release.
The author succinctly describes what his eyes saw in Buchenwald during the long period he spent there as a prisoner, and the various ways in which the Nazis abused the prisoners. The first part of the testimony he gave consists of many paragraphs that begin with the word "I saw, " in which the author describes many horrific events that he saw with his own eyes in the camp, which were in fact a daily occurrence: "I saw how Germans forced Jews to crawl on their stomachs for hours, standing in the middle like horse trainers and whipping them, they stabbed the victims again and again... I witnessed an endless game in which the SS threw chunks of earth using a prisoner's head as a target after covering him with a bucket... I saw them forcing prisoners to bend for hours with their arms outstretched... I saw how they trampled bodies and heads, and how they crushed faces into the dust... I saw and felt how heavy carts that we pushed with difficulty, hundreds of meters, in places where the effort was particularly difficult, they threw sand in our eyes... I saw how with a knife he slit the ear of one of my friends... I saw prisoners of all ages being taken out of the bunker hanging by their hands with their arms tied behind their backs... The Nazis did all these things, not out of an anger attack, but always in the cold, calmly, with the intention of precisely damaging the parts of the body where the pain was most severe and lasted longer, and in the face of the prisoner's tortured face, they rejoiced with joy... I saw them laughing at the execution of our comrades... On one occasion after the execution of a Jew who was dear to his friends, they forced them to sing while laughing...".
Jean details the exact number of prisoners who arrived in Buchenwald and were murdered there, the structure of the camp and the manner in which the prisoners were employed in forced labor, the various methods of starvation used by the Nazis against the prisoners, and the desperate attempts of the prisoners to obtain food, the different types of prisoners in the camp and the badges of shame with which they were marked, the different types of punishments the Nazis punished prisoners who tried to escape, the difficult mental state of the prisoners, etc. Towards the end of his remarks, he describes the days of liberation, and how many prisoners who did not have the strength died during the liberation days themselves, as well as the residents of Weimar who were forced to come to the camp to see with their own eyes what their people had done, he tells how they passed between barracks where hundreds of dying prisoners lay shouting in terror: "Where is my wife? Where are my children? Why were my brothers burned?... Some residents had tears in their eyes, others fainted, but the American soldiers picked them up and forced them to continue patrolling the camp to the sound of some prisoners shouting: 'We endured all this for ten years!, you can see this for an hour...".
Fonteyne's testimony was widely publicized with the publication of the second edition in France titled: Buchenwald Choses Vue - "Buchenwald The appearance of things", during the months when the world was already aware of the Nazi atrocities in the camps. Before us the first and rare Belgian edition that was published as stated during the weeks of liberation on simple paper, while there were still prisoners in the camp. Extremely rare. Does not appear in the World Cat Library catalog.
60 p. 19 cm. Light stains on the cover. Good condition.