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The Truth About the Buchenwald Concentration Camp' - Early Testimony of a Buchenwald Camp Inmate who stayed there throughout all the war years

Opening price: $200

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01.29.2024 07:00am

Die Wahrheit uber das konzentrationslager Buchenwald - "The Truth about the Buchenwald Concentration Camp" by Werner A. Beckert, published by Verlag antifaschistischen Schrifttums, Beckert, Weimar [1945]. A factual report by a senior political prisoner of Hitler's Gestapo, about the Buchenwald-Weimar concentration camp. Detailed and harsh testimony about the horrors of the Nazis and the methods of murdering Jews in the camp. The booklet is accompanied by maps and diagrams of the camp and the crematorium, as well as 53 black and white photos of the camp’s horrors, Buchenwald survivors, and more, including rare photos published here for the first time. Rare. German.

Werner spent one of the longest periods of any prisoner in the Nazi death camps in Buchenwald, from September 12, 1938 until April 11, 1945, after already being held in Dachau camp for about a year prior. On the first page is a portrait photo of Werner A. Beckert in prisoner uniform with his prisoner number 986. Werner, who witnessed the Buchenwald horrors throughout the years of its operation by the Nazis, describes the camp’s atrocities in detail: how already in the first months after the camp opened the death rate was high, and how the prisoners themselves were forced to build the camp crematorium. Initially there were two large ovens for burning in each of which three corpses were burned, later 10-12 corpses were burned simultaneously in these two ovens. He goes on to describe the abuse by the SS men of prisoners working in the camp quarry in harsh heat, storms and heavy rain, and how prisoners who tried to escape were shot, as well as the speed with which sturdy prisoners became emaciated beyond recognition within a few months. "I witnessed this abuse for months, and saw these horrific scenes, the horror, every day".

Among other things, Werner exposes the process of extermination of Jews in the camp. He describes an incident in which 400 Dutch Jews were brought to the camp, and soon transferred to the Gusen quarry where they were shot to death. He also describes a 'special torture method' applied specifically to the Jewish prisoners from the Mauthausen camp – the Jews were loaded with heavy stones and forced to climb 100 steps in the quarry, many prisoners collapsed while climbing the stairs, the stones they held slipped out of their hands and hit others, sending them tumbling to their deaths. Werner adds a description of another form of abuse of Jews in the same quarry: two Jews were forced to duel at the top of the quarry, the one who succeeded in pushing the other down was kept alive. If the Jews refused to take part in this 'duel', both were killed. He continues describing severe abuse of Jews while mentioning their names and many details of each incident he witnessed. He also tells of transports of Jewish women and children to Auschwitz and Bergen Belsen, and of transports of Jews who arrived at Buchenwald from the Compiègne camp in France, etc.

Among other things, Werner describes a horrible event in which 34 captured English and Canadian pilots were executed in 1944, after which medical anatomical experiments were conducted on their corpses. Towards the end of the testimony he provides numerical details of how many prisoners remained in the camp when it was captured by American forces, as well as the number of corpses, elderly and children that were left there, and how when the first Allied tanks were spotted, the prisoners armed themselves and directed General Patton to the camp entrance, the SS commanders of the camp did not fire even one shot, and concludes with the wish that these events be engraved and documented for for future generations.

The second part of the book contains many important pages with photos depicting forced laborers at work in the camp quarry (taken by the Nazis themselves), emaciated prisoners lying on bunks in a barracks in the "small camp”, horrific scenes of corpses of those murdered in the camp, the crematorium and torture facilities, as well as photos of survivors at the memorial ceremony held in the liberated camp in May 1945. The opening of the booklet features a photo of Beckert himself.

63 [1] p. Very good condition.

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134. The Truth About the Buchenwald Concentration Camp' - Early Testimony of a Buchenwald Camp Inmate who stayed there throughout all the war years