Close to Home: Buchenwald

October 31, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

 

 

 

In times when German Neo-Nazi politicians are suggesting that the adjective "Völkisch" (a tainted Nazi vocabulary meaning racial/racial nationalism) be used in a positive manner, it´s time to once again point out that Germans were the bad and the ugly during their darkest years (1933 - 1945). Nazism, Neo-Nazism and Nationalism are something special and have to stay something special in Germany. To forever remember and point out what has happened during Hitler´s reign does not mean to feel guilty forever. It means that it´s necessary to never forget and to see to it that something like it never reoccurs.

Unfortunately the German language is also predestined for misuse. The weird German mentality, with it´s fondness for militaristic orderliness, has created a clinically ugly sub-language during the Prussian years which the Nazis have elevated into their monstrous and bizarre version of German. "Völkisch" is just one of many little examples of Nazi language-rape.

Weimar is a pretty small town where Goethe and Schiller, two of the masters of the German language, have lived. Their stories, essays and poems elevated the German language into the realm of drama and romance, but have also shown what a powerful tool language can be. Weimar is also home to other creative movements, amongst others the Bauhaus. All the more difficult to imagine that just a few miles away, sick and evil minds established a concentration camp just shortly after the Bauhaus was banned from Germany. Buchenwald was one of the largest labor and death camps on German soil. Not far from where Goethe, Schiller and Gropius have created bigger than life ideas, people were tortured and killed just because they didn´t fit into the "völkisch" Nazi concept.

 

 

 

 

 

The main gate leading into the camp. The gate building was also known as the bunker.

There were cells for solitary confinement.

 

 

 

 

 

Jedem Das Seine - Suum Cuique, meaning "to each his own" or "may all get their due". This phrase was particularly popular in times of Frederic the Great of Prussia, as his reign was considered to be the most tolerant time in any German state of the past 300 years. The classical philosophical phrase is another example of misuse by the Nazis.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The only large tree in the camp was an oak. The prisoners called the tree Goethe Oak, as Goethe loved to

roam this wooded area in his time.

 

 

 

 

 

The ovens in the crematory. A visitor left a stone with a sun painted on it.

 

 

 

The gas chamber in the crematory building.

 

 

 

 

 

Before and after - most buildings and barracks have been demolished

by the liberators, and later by East German authorities.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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