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Scant Mention of Jewish Victims at Buchenwald Triggers a Protest

The Workmen’s Circle, a fraternal Jewish socialist organization, has lodged a protest with the East German government for its failure to record the numerous Jewish deaths at Buchenwald.

The group lodged the protest in response to an article in Saturday’s New York Times. The article reported that the East German memorial at the site of the camp “does not commemorate the victims for what they were, and it denies to the United States recognition for having liberated Buchenwald.”

“We are shocked and dismayed,” Dr. Barnett Zumoff and Motl Zelmanowicz, co-chairmen of the Public Affairs Committee of the Workmen’s Circle, wrote in a letter to Ambassador Siegfried Zackmann, chief United Nations delegate to the German Democratic Republic.

They asked for “immediate rectification” of the situation.

Only one tablet at the memorial mentions Jews: the 10,000 German and Austrian Jews brought to Buchenwald after Kristallnacht, Nov. 9, 1938.

Most of the 56,549 who died in Buchenwald were Jews.

The camp was liberated by the Fourth Armored Division of Gen. George Patton’s Third United States Army on April 11, 1945.

One man remembers it well: Nobel peace laureate Elie Wiesel, who was liberated there on that day nearly 44 years ago.

Wiesel said in a telephone interview that the Times article was the first acknowledgement he had that there was hardly any mention of Jews at Buchenwald. He now intends to visit the camp in the next few months.

“I would like to go back to see the truth,” he said. “I think we should respond with organized outrage.”

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