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Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Day 113 - "Who Dares Wins!

For those that were in better health the government found easy jobs like Commissionaires, cleaners of  "Wagon Lits" for the state transport catering service run by a privateer called "Peeters"who the had the tender forever!

Most of the time, I continued to persevere, always remembering the motto I had adopted, from the S.A.S.,  "Who Dares Wins".
Daniel and George just gave up on claiming their rights through government organizations : it had all been too much and it was all over for them.

I still wanted to lead an adventurous life and was thinking that with our money from the government we could venture out independently as entrepreneurs!  At a reasonable rate, we could obtain an army truck which we could then convert and use as a refrigerated fish truck for transporting fish to inland sites.  We could even get a three man trawler, the speediest in the harbor, which when permitted to do so would be ideal for trawling using two booms.

I mentioned the speediest in the small fishing fleet because during the war these small trawlers had been equipped with Skoda motors.  These motors were so powerful that insurance companies would not consider insuring them until, later on, when the laws had
been changed to allow fishing with two trawler nets on each side.

Daniel and George let it all go for the funfare with the girls - to whoop it up on their meager subsistence level.  After his demobilization, Barbaix, eventually became involved with the stock exchange and never got out of it, except for his general hobbies in electricity and who knows what!!!

I don't know how far all that carried him but it looks as if he led a life of leisure for the rest of his life.  He got married and settled; finding it too much trouble to get his car out of the garage to meet a friend from long ago................

Daniel started his career from jail contacts, this was after he had been imprisoned for emptying a couple of Army and Navy stores as an inside job, helped by and used by a British storekeeper

To be continued....

Monday, 25 June 2012

Day 112 - Conclusion!

"After a while, we had all returned, myself first, then soldier Barbaix and eventually Daniel from the East.  The only thing we could think about was enjoying ourselves but where was the money going to come from, that was the question.

I had just passed our Control Commission, which decided on who was a Political Prisoner and who was most certainly not!  Besides all this, of the ten thousand genuine survivors,  there were ninety thousand imposters: all this prolonged our agony with endless waiting. The whole process was embedded in red tape.  Then there was the battle of the government.  The one we had experienced during occupation and the one in exile.  All this had to be sorted out by the competing factions or eventually compromised on.

With the question of the King, they made short measurement.  Everybody agreed to it, that he should abdicate until his son was ready for the throne.  In the meantime, Prince Albert was his "Voogd".  In fact, it was a moral and symbolic decapitation of  the King himself.

There were a few Political Prisoners who held seats in the Senate and some also controlled newspapers, like Blum, for the People.  The rest was firmly united and organized in the Association for Political Prisoners.

Wherever we seemed to go; I remember seeing demonstrations in the capital which were organized to help speed up our cases so we could start our normal life again.  We now had to fill in lots of papers and were considered to be demobilised soldiers.

Not one of the survivors was really in a very healthy state of body and spirit afterwards and so we were considered to be invalids!!!!

All this was gradually achieved over a two year period.  Some didn't have very far to go, used up!!!!

To be continued .....

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Day 111 - Goethe Quote about Hope!

"I have about 10 more blogs/pages to complete from my Dad's war experiences.  My Dad, simply named his last chapter, 
 - "Conclusion"!

I began my Dad's memoir/blog talking about Goethe, the great German philosopher, who it is said, spent a lot of time sitting by a tree in what eventually became Buchenwald.  This spot now seems to me, a good place to put this quote:   

Those who hope for no other life are dead even for this.
JOHANN WOLFGANG VON GOETHE, Conversations with Goethe

Day 110 - Self-Imposed Amnesia!

I believe it is likely that people with the same type of  background and ideals would have been naturally attracted to each other and would have been looking out for similar beings!!"After the war, like myself, George and Daniel both went their own way to fight again for their existence"!

It seemed to me, that after their war experiences they both operated with a self-imposed state of amnesia.  Mostly, as a cover because few people would be able to understand or comprehend their plight and inner conflict. 

My opinion is, even if it has to take a lifetime to accomplish, one has to find the strength to overcome and persevere with ever changing world values!  Now, more and more,  I think I understand!  Gradually, everything is fitting together for me, like in a puzzle!  

During the war, people like my sponsors,  formed an integral chain  in trying to keep the Last Empire together by participating in patriotic actions.  Whether achieved secretly or officially or within the confines of the concentration camps themselves - it made no difference!  Each contribution was just as effective and contributed to the whole. 

So, it was thus, we were all used, because we had something to give and the strength, faith and stability to fulfill things.........

My memoir, "To Each his Own",  is a tribute to the vindication of all survivors and an honorable memory to all absent brethren alike, who I hope, have not departed in vain........................

To be continued

Day 109 - Belgian Friends Reunited!

"I went back to ordinary living and fighting and competing for my everyday existence. I didn't accept any charity, I only accepted my lawful rights and earnings.  My status was recognized by Counter Intelligence and government departments.  

I passed the Commission, with flying colors and received, from the Prince Regent Albert, "The Distinguished Cross for Political Prisoners, with four stars.  Madame DeNile and Mister Van Alderwerelt eventually received recognition as well.  I saw both of them quite often as well as Antonio, who's family were well established in Brussels.

Daniel returned six months later, liberated at Gross-Strelitz by the Russians.  Daniel never received recognition as a political prisoner but that is entirely his own fault!  I tried my best to help him but when he had to face, "The Commission of Inquiry", he ran away!   Of course, there is a lot about this I do not understand but let bygones be bygones! 

George was, "another cup of tea", after many cumbersome adventures, he managed to get to England via Germany, Finland and Sweden.  Unlike us, his voyage by transport, was quite different.  He was bombed out of a wagon somewhere in Northern Germany but than made it to Hamburg by hitching lifts.

His papers had been burnt so he made himself out to be a, "Free Worker", which was voluntary, so, in this way, he was able to keep going until he found a suitable cargo ship that needed a deckhand.  From there he made it to Finland and then up to Uppsala, Sweden to load magnetic  ore.

Whilst there, it was "short work", to make himself scarce until it was time to sail with the supply barges.  He hid in the hold until his ship was out of sight.  He sailed to Stockholm, where he worked for the embassies on their "listening in" service and so on to England in one of those light, mosquito planes.  George came back home with, "The Invasion", but just seemed to want to forget!!!!

As in Daniel's case, I did all the groundwork for George in relation to convincing him and others of his  genuine, legal status as far as receiving official recognition for his war effort.  However, neither George nor Daniel pursued it and consequently, did not receive  any official recognition!  It is beyond me to understand .............!

To be continued ...  

Friday, 22 June 2012

Day 108 - Health aftermath - concentration camps!

"We now found temporary accommodation with my Aunt Helen such was her genuine hospitality until we found our own way about!  Antonio stayed on at my Aunt's house until his Dad and the others arrived from Buchenwald which was about a month after our arrival in Brussels.

Antonio's family had a wonderful reception, we couldn't get anywhere near them, the party was tremendous.  It happened on the old Town Square in front of the Town Hall.  My parents were informed, after my aunt had made me a bit more respectable to look at!.  Also, my grandmother was one of the family party and so our family reunion was complete in the best of traditions.  

My grandmother had been sure all along that I would survive and return to them all, how right she was.  In the meantime, my little brother had grown to a decent size.  After the party I stayed on in Brussels to arrange some of my affairs before moving on to the fresh salty air of the seaside.

We were very thin and emaciated, so the order of the day was be careful with food and our general condition! My English cousin who was in the Intelligence Corp (MI5 or 6!!) - he visited me in Ostend and didn't think I was going to make it to survive even at that point!  My grandmother's breed thought differently, being tough and strong and having a survivor mentality!

At this time, I was in the process of being rehabilitated and had to build up my body again to an acceptable level of health - it turned out I had a lot of false fat and water in my body that I had to get rid of  before becoming "normal" again!

The first week back in Ostend, I developed a very dangerous boil on the back of my neck, where I had been stabbed on that scary night in Block 52 at Buchenwald!!!!It was sheer agony and there was nothing anybody could do about it, it suddenly went after a week.

My ankle would give me trouble for a further five years until all the toxins had come out.  To my consternation it would bleed profusely, especially in the summer months.  My stomach would never rectify itself no matter how many doctors I consulted with!

I learned to live with what had become a very thin stomach lining with strong acids - my stomach gave me a good deal of discomfort for the rest of my life but I learned to cope with it!  My hand sometimes reacted to the weather but I was able to get on fairly comfortable with most things!

To be continued .....

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Day 107 - Finally, back in Brussels, Belgium!

"Soon we reached the old Rhine River which we crossed on a pontoon bridge which had been built very quickly!   From there, we caught a train to Luxembourg which would place us right back in Belgium territory.  

We were now in Arlon and on our way back to Brussels.  From this point on, we were provided with plenty of good food, fresh fruit, vegetables and drinks.   We were refugees so were cleared by security as soon as possible - all of us with the inherent problems that go with being  a refugee!

At this point, a tall woman began airing her patriotic feelings  -  stating what we should do to the Boche.  In the first place, I do not like that name and secondly, calling all alike people after this infamous mass murderer is wrong!  Lastly, I do not believe we will go very far if we adopt such an attitude - if we do it will be proof that we haven't learned very much from all this!

A lot of people were now waiting around in hope and, more often than not in vain, for their loved ones to come back.  Revenge wouldn't bring them back either, but hope may do it - in a firm belief of a better world!

When arriving back home, some fanatics were still  dressed in their S.S. uniforms - which hurt to hear of such a thing - their little souls had been so badly indoctrinated that they couldn't change.  The maddened crowd would either lynch, drown them, or in some cases chop their heads off before the law could stop them.

We arrived in Brussels and our arrival back went unnoticed by all - nobody had expected us back like this!  A reception party has to be prepared in order to be successful!  In the first place, we were quite happy to be back - that was more important than anything else!

To be continued ..

Monday, 18 June 2012

Day 106 - All Roads lead to Belgium!

"After we had completed our report Elmer told us that we could now return to Buchenwald.  He knew that we would not return!  There is a saying, "All Roads Lead to Rome", well in our case now,   "All Roads led to Belgium".

From a convenient view point, Elmer must have watched and observed us going the other way instead of towards Buchenwald.  That was the last we saw of him and him of us!

We went straight to Erfurt and Eisenach instead of Lower Franconia.  We got rides on all sort of odd transports including an empty tank carrier which shook us up and day and always -  especially when traversing fields and at the same time trying to avoid bomb craters and pockets in the roads.

In the process, we eventually picked up two British Prisoners of War -  armed with a pistol.  Later, we picked up a sharp, thin fellow who seem to me to be disguised.  He was dressed as a Belgian,  wearing a beret -  like the ones seen in British films. 

The beret had the Belgian colors sewn into but we do not wear berets in the way he did!  "With my first cross questioning he fell into the bag completely", !!!??  he confessed to me that he could not deceive me and he was indeed - not a Belgian!

Furthermore, he was too perfectly supplied, he had with him a small, carefully prepared rat pack, which he gladly shared among us.  We eventually passed him over to an American Commandent bivouaced along the road.

Soon enough he had talked himself out of that one!!and the last we saw of him he was walking stealthily away across the fields.  He could have been a Nazi like Eichman!

Along the way we came across a huge, Texas Ranger with a big cigar in his mouth.  He was gesticulating wildly and directing all wagons and vehicles into a parking lot in a field.  By this time,  the oddest thing we had travelled by was a fire engine!  The fire engine carried quite a lot of us!

We were now at a crossroads.  We took the road for Frankfurt which had been heavily bombed and was now enveloped in ruins!  Just walls and chimneys were left standing upright.  The inhabitants probably asking themselves whether it had all been worthwhile.

To be continued .... 

along the road

Saturday, 16 June 2012

Day 105 - Eisleben - Martin Luther's birthplace!

"Elmer now took us to Eisleben, which is where Martin Luther was born.  Sporadic fighting was still going on around us, pockets of resistors were holding out and we could hear the distant thuds -   Elmer kept running back and forward to those places.

He now took us to an old farm house on the outskirts of town.  A typical old Saxon place with an old aunt in it.  Her daughter and some of her other relatives lived there as well.  In confidence now, she told us that her daughter's husband was a Nazi official.  This lady was very stuck on the Nazi culture or niche, as she called it, and she came up with a lot of excuses to justify their position. Antonio and myself told her where to get off!!!

We didn't waste any more time on the old aunt and now got on with the job that we were there to do.  Elmer had brought a typewriter with him.  In confidence, the old aunt sometimes talked to us and gave up some of her supplies while we were busy working on the report.

We were in a very historical house and I would not  have been  surprised if  Martin Luther had visited the house in a past era.  The atmosphere was perfect for it, old musty furniture, chandeliers and Dresden china all over the place!"

To be continued ...

Day 104 - The smell of burning flesh around Weimer!!

''The world was well satisfied that justice had been done at the "Nuremburg Trials".  Personally, I lost respect for the process of justice after the Trials! It seemed to me that the money distributed was of most benefit to many of the most affluent victims!  

All I can say is that, "I have been in Auschwitz and Buchenwald.  My files have resided in Bonn, Brussels and The Pentagon and who knows where else!  Whitehall and maybe Moscow but the best place is nowhere!"

Antonio ánd I now descended into the forest and walked towards the old quarry and the open plain.  At the bottom of the hill we came across a funny haystack!  To me, it stuck out like a thorn in the middle of a field and on the wind we smelt petrol fumes and human flesh.  No doubt, the S.S. had been around at work, who else!!!

I looked at the haystack again and said to Antonio, "It seems to be a set-up, probably an ambush -  let's get out of here quickly before we get fried".  It was too early in the year for a haystack and also the flat facade on the front was facing the road towards us.  Besides all that I also felt like someone was starring and watching us!  Once behind the walls of a building we made a safe getaway.  Who wants to get shot at the last minute when the hostilities are over!

When we got back to what had been, Buchenwald concentration camp,  Elmer came to see us.  He announced that he had a mission arranged with the Commandent and that everything was in order for him to take us and start a report.  Antonio was a good hand at typing and I had all the information on Auschwitz and the extra's!

To be continued ...

Friday, 15 June 2012

Day 103 - Reality after being in Buchenwald!

Ëlmer now told us to stay close by and be available to complete a report.  In the meantime, we had a thorough walk around the camp and scrutinized everything very carefully!

Firstly, we came across two funny fellows throwing combat knives into a board.  They were standing at the bottom of where a watchtower had once stood and were very near to where I had once stood eating Beech nuts which was also close to where the S.A.S. had been shot!

We were unarmed as we had been asked to surrender all weapons to the new Camp Commandent from the U.S.A.  I said to Antonio,  "I think those two are former S.S. and it is better if we make a hasty retreat as they are not Americans at all"!  They hardly spoke to us!

Later on the British did find the S.S. member Koch, former Commandent of Buchenwald.  Apparently, he was hiding and disguised in a prisoner of war camp!  Ilse, Koch's wife was found to be pregnant and given amnesty.

So much for that!  No doubt, they were living it up somewhere after the war!  The leniency of our judicial system and courts have become our downfall and maybe what I don't know yet????!!!!!

We cannot change thinking; we certainly have not found a cure for the wrong doings of people all over the world!  To me, we seemed to have developed a kind of upside down psychology.

No matter how many books are written!

There is not, as far as I know, any real proof or truth in any of the new philosophies in relation to psychology.  This new "science" is certainly in a favored position in relation to acceptability and having the opportunity, at this moment in time, to do a lot of writing and analysis on the subject!

Until we can change our primitive minds and construction of our brains or psychological makeup - I cannot see how we can do anything about it at all. 

This is my theory on the subject based on  conclusions I have made after what I saw in Aushwitz and Buchenwald as well as from my other life experiences.  It is the only thing that seems to have any reality for me the rest is all humbug!!!

To be continued ..

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Day 102 - Continuation of the Buchenwald tour!

Disturbing content!!!

"There was a perfectly manufactured lift or elevator in good working condition which carried the executed ones up to the ovens and it had three powerful furnaces.  Everything worked so smoothly most of the time, without many interruptions.

The skull smashing mallet was laying nearby where they had dropped it.  Some evidence, for the victims, some of whom would have been partly alive after the prolonged slow suffocation on the strapping clamps or hooks - a last order would be given if there were kicking stupors!

There was the whipping block, the ashes and partly burned bones and bodies everywhere!  Unearthing a mass grave near the Bismarck Tower was enough evidence as to what happened to the transports which never got off...........!!!!!

All these places were opened and even Germans were made to have a good look and do the digging back in or carrying the corpses'.

I never saw Janeck and many others again, only Antonio, his Dad and Jose Dewever and a few others.  I figured that 1,200 to 1,600 of my transport had vanished as only two hundred had survived!!"

You can think that it was about the same for the other transports.  The health of the few who survived, like myself, left much to be desired.  A good many of the survivors died shortly after being liberated, others were handicapped and invalided.

We weren't given too much food when we first arrived, weaned like babies I should say, food was another hazard for our delapidated bodies.  Some people were worse off than others of course.

Elmer Luchterhand, Antonio, myself and another prisoner had our photo taken at the gate of the watchtower with "Yedem das Seine",
for Walter Poller's book called, "Medical Block Buchenwald".

We stood there like two bookends, with Antonio and Elmer hiding behind the two in front.  Walter Poller had been a former German inmate of Buchenwald and he was one of the first people back in the camp after liberation.

To be continued ....

Day 101 - The Control Commission!

"Before liberation, Antonia and I had once been assigned for commando work in the environs of some aristocratic type people.

The French President and his wife were staying in a villa retreat in our environs.  I do not know what happened to them or the other Russian aristocrats who were in the area, they just went back like us I suppose!

We had to show an American Sergeant around who was in charge of the "Control Commission".  His name was Elmer Luchterhand and he became a proper friend, S/Sgt. H.Q.Co., Inf. E.T.O. U.S.A. Army.

While going around the camp we all looked into the oven which now held the charred remnants of what had once been people!

We also saw the horrible little hobby of Ilse Koch, the wife of the Commandent, and also the shrunken heads.  Diverse masks representing the different races - looking like partly shrunken heads staring at you from the wall.

One in particular, took my attention and I recognized it, it was of a tall Cameronian I had seen in Fort du-Ha or Caserne Boudet.

Different dissected human parts were preserved in jars for multiple experiments, it was there for all the believers and non believers alike to gaze at!

It still should be there to look at but I heard lately that evidence is gradually disappearing!  Madam Tussards  had nothing on this, it was the real thing and a mind boggling experience for us all!

The hooks in the crematoriums were all covered up, about fifty of them, freshly cemented in, all the evidence destroyed on the surface!

We then proceeded to another crematorium between here and the kitchen, with bigger foundations which was under construction.  They had, indeed, great plans for the thousand years Reich, ambitious, continuous and of a lasting kind!

To be continued ...

Monday, 11 June 2012

Day 100 - Skeletons moving around at Buchenwald!!

"When I looked at our squadron and their weapons it was an impressive crowd and a Farewell to Arms.  Luckily, except for a few skirmishes most of the battle was over now. 

Later we found out that when released, those big grenades, with their sticky ends moved by a strong spring more often than not exploded with a big rush!  The operator was supposed to sit in a fox hole and then pop up and manage the grenade!  They were a forerunner to the bazooka.

Now, some of the Germans went straight back to their old homes, weapons and all were taken.  Nothing was heard, everything was under control and orderly.  Big sprees of revenge didn't occur beyond what one would normally expect in such circumstances.  Talks with the townspeople took place on a grand scale.

The only news that was of any importance to us now was discovered by the Americans.  Apparently, before liberation an S.S. platoon had been on its way to burn us out with flame throwers and with a scissor grip!! was intercepted just in time! The intention had been to trap us inside and then set fire to every block with their hellish flame throwers.

If they had started with the flame throwers we would have been ready with our few weapons.  After suffering at the hands of our cruel captors for so long, many of us, would have tremendously welcomed a battle.

Instead, we were told food would come first and that first aid would be made available and that everybody would receive relief at the same time.  Lastly, we were informed that, after scrutiny, we would be given proper identity papers and eventually repatriated.

Delegations from the Red Cross and others now arrived at the camp which was laid open for general public inspection.  Nobody could understand the evidence bared to their eyes!  It was beyond normal reasoning and moral decency!

The skeletons of dying people were still moving around for everybody to see.  The mass graves were opened up and the yard at the crematorium was made available for everybody to see the pile of the dead who were still there!  The sites people now had to witness were incomprehensible to most.............................!"

To be continued ......


Sunday, 10 June 2012

Day 99 - The LIberation of Buchenwald!

The following is from the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum Web Site.

The Liberation of Buchenwald
As Soviet forces swept through Poland, the Germans evacuated thousands of concentration camp prisoners from German-occupied areas under threat. After long, brutal marches, more than 10,000 weak and exhausted prisoners from Auschwitz and Gross-Rosen, most of them Jews, arrived in Buchenwald in January 1945.
In early April 1945, as US forces approached the camp, the Germans began to evacuate some 28,000 prisoners from the main camp and an additional several thousand prisoners from the subcamps of Buchenwald. About a third of these prisoners died from exhaustion en route or shortly after arrival, or were shot by the SS. The underground resistance organization in Buchenwald, whose members held key administrative posts in the camp, saved many lives. They obstructed Nazi orders and delayed the evacuation.
On April 11, 1945, in expectation of liberation, starved and emaciated prisoners stormed the watchtowers, seizing control of the camp. Later that afternoon, US forces entered Buchenwald. Soldiers from the 6th Armored Division, part of the Third Army, found more than 21,000 people in the camp. Between July 1937 and April 1945, the SS imprisoned some 250,000 persons from all countries of Europe in Buchenwald. Exact mortality figures for the Buchenwald site can only be estimated, as camp authorities never registered a significant number of the prisoners. The SS murdered at least 56,000 male prisoners in the Buchenwald camp system, some 11,000 of them Jews.

I still have about another 10 or 20 blogs to do before I finish my Dad's memoir and then I am probably going to add his manuscript on the war in Zimbabwe - we lived there too during the terrorist war!

I also have another blog that I have been running parallel to this called: Buchenwald's Belgian Daughter - it is at or .com!

Day 98 - The U.S. 6th!! Army was on the way!

"'The remnants of a small rebellion of Danish Police, started in Copenhagen, were dying like flies.  They were unused to the severe hardships and the extreme conditions which the rest of us had gradually adapted to while in Buchenwald.

At the last minute, red cross packets  had been sent for them.  As much as possible, these packages had been divided and distributed to everybody, on an international basis.  So, the chances for all turned out to be more or less equal!  

I had an advantage because of  one of my former commandos in which I had access to the animal food from the pig's trough.  This  had help supplement my diet and the meager supply of food.  

All that we could do now was sit and wait for the last orders.  We were ready for action.  The tension was growing!  At last, on April 11th, we heard the tanks crawling up the hill.  Also, flying overhead that morning and clearly visible we had seen spotter planes.

The U.S. Sixth Army was on it's way!Not sure if is was the Sixth or the 8th - there may have been a typo when originally typed!!

The watchtowers gradually turning their machine guns on the advancing army and assault troops - who were coming steadily and stealthily up with the tanks.

When they were near enough and the sporadic firing had started that was the moment we had all waited for.  At a quick tempo and on a signal, every block stormed out and was organized by the already prepared Commanders.

I had Commander Blum of Brussels as my leader:  "You and you, there you go".  No doubt or shaking of your heads was tolerated.  He now told the slackers to stay behind - speaking directly to a lawyer!

It was four o'clock in the afternoon.  The ones that didn't go for the fighting had to pass the arms to us.  White flags were put up in the blocks to avoid confusion and mistakes by the fighting forces.

I was given two German stick grenades and told how to use them, putting them in my belt.  Knives, pistols and a few rifles - that's all we had!  Now, everybody can observe why we hadn't broken out before - what we had was negligible!

While the Americans were battling in front we charged like mad bulls at the fence.  It only took a few grenades to get a gap in the fence and cut the electricity flow. 

From our positions, we were now throwing grenades into the watchtowers.  In a hurry, we then had to make for the S.S. arsenals -  that's where the weapons were; in no time we were armed from head to toe, a formidable little army to account to.

The die hard S.S. were killed where we found them, no chance was taken, in their fox holes.  In all, we took two hundred prisoners by ourselves, which was not a bad show.  We were able to hand them over to the Americans almost intact! Here and there an individual bit the dust of course, that was understood.  

I found my tormentor from my beating incident! Dead already, in a fox hole, fighting until the end.  He had chosen his own way out and not otherwise!

During the past day, President Roosevelt had died and we made a last farewell ceremony in arms, as a solemn tribute to him and what it all stood for, the final victory!"

To be continued .....

Saturday, 9 June 2012

Day 97

For any new readers of my dad's memoir -  I started blogging late December 2011 and I have been blogging on an ongoing basis.   Day 96 is the 96th blog of 97 blogs to date.

Day 1 is the introduction - I guess it is quite confusing when your first log on to this blog - although my daughter said that most people know a blog is in reverse order or backwards.

 Sorry if it is confusing! I am still a rookie blogger and have not had time to make it more professional!  

The purpose really was just to get my dad's story from the concentration camp out there!  He would have been very happy if you liked how he wrote!

Friday, 8 June 2012

Day 96 - Quelle Courage Louis and Antonio!

June 8, 2012

"An S.S. was looking straight down the ranks at us now as a Jewish prisoner moved along and put himself in between Antonio and I.  He was pushed by the others and would have fallen out at the end and been shot by the S.S. if it were not for us covering him.

Pleading he looked at Antonia and I - I'll never forget all this!
Antonio was Jewish too but that was not known! We would have been shot had they found him in between us!

Not a word was said and the danger passed missing a potential victim.  The retrieved man (my dad's exact words - the wrong word but that is how he put it!) just looked at us and stayed with us for a while to disappear later!

After the S.S. had their numbers right they went out and we had another reprieve: we then descended to our blocks determined not to get up anymore, that was it, whatever was to come, this was the finale, them or us!

The ones left were the survivors and fighters left among us, the weak ones and the unfortunate ones had been sorted out but we were a pack of skeletons, an army of the walking dead.

In the evening, we stood watching the fighting now developing in the valley below.  What a spectacle that was, guns blazing, spitting fire and brimstone, it was like a land and sea battle combined.  People were still dying around us en masse.  

I just about had eaten up all the little tidbits I had saved for such an emergency ................

To be continued

Day 95 - Waiting for the U.S. 8th army at Buchenwald!

Today's Date: June 8, 2012

"Toward the end we were kept in the camp and all commando's were now stopped.  I had a last outing to Weimer and found myself a bit further away from the camp than normal and came across a bombed out police station with adjoining stores.

The bombing had really shaken the house to pieces, it was full of Masonic regalia and trinkets.  This explained a lot to me, right up to the end it had been a secret masonic type house.

It turned out that a lot of our German connections had been ancient members of this organization, mostly in the police department.  The Belgians that had helped me turned out to be masons as well. 

So, the people who helped me were not all communists as some people would have liked to have made out. 

My own inclinations were very much the same after the war!!

Many of the Germans went into hiding by mixing with us and trying to prepare a place of refuge for themselves.  Richard Thalman, they were after him soon enough and just the same got him near the end.

When transports were assembled now the personal roll calls ceased, no more time for that, that is what we had waited for our time was coming.....................

The Russian guard went first, voluntarily, with the idea to jump their guard in unison, on one signal, they did just that successfully and got away with it.  At such close range, there was no way the guards could take evasive action and shoot all of us.  To accomplish such action you had to have the right people with you which I had realized all along. They offset some death transports which received the worst of it!

Instead of seeing it out with us, Wing Commander Yeo Thomas, rushed ahead which nearly cost him his life.  Later on he was picked up by an American advanced column from the many dead and dying..

The camp commandent was begging us to get out  - promising nice carriages, food etc.  Now we could smile a bit at last!
We knew we had to refuse and stand up but not before they tried to make a last attempt to get us out with all the force they had left!

Suddenly, on the loud speakers we heard a croaking voice speaking quickly and saying, Schnell!!!  Schnell!!! All to the assembly place all blocks out.  This was seven days before the eleventh of April, 1945.

No more food had come and we knew the Americans were not far off, the 8th army but not near enough yet.  Old S.S. now came storming down from the tower, their pistols in their hands, shooting wildly around them.

They were screaming, Jews first and anybody who was too slow or anybody who ran back down to hide was shot at; so we had to walk very slowly up to the hated square. Their forces were very much diminished now and that was the last show which was spread out to the most dangerous proportions. 

Together with Antonio, we carried his Dad out between us.  We were trailing along a bit too long for our own good with the old man.  He told us to let him go!  Regardless, we insisted on taking him out.  Now and then I glanced at the murdering going on!

Eventually, we joined the ranks to be counted for the last time!!!!

To be continued

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Day 94 - Dispirited Prisoners! at Buchenwald!

"Also, present with me at that moment were two very frightened people from a little town in Belgium.  A town mayor and his helper, batsman I should say!  The batman was always trying to do things for the mayor instead of helping himself.

After an opulent beginning in life the mayor was now old and  starving - he failed to survive to the end of the war.  The servant died in Belgium, shortly after the end of the world, broken hearted and dispirited.  Those two were an inseparable pair.  They worked in the camp incessantly - not daring to look up from their work for a minute!

I have witnessed a pair of twins who came into the camp on adjoining transports suffer the same fate!  They both died in quarantine - dispirited and broken hearted!........

To be continued .....

Sunday, 3 June 2012

Day 93 - The big bulk of the hangman was always near!

"On the occasions where something was going to happen, the big bulk of the hangman was always close by - like the evil sighting of a banshee.  On one occasion, I was not too far away from the shootings and executions.   I was in the presence of a small German criminal notary.  We were now nibbling on some of the the much looked for triangle nuts under some trees growing in the area.

The butcher hangman, now appeared, as if from no-where and told us to be quiet just before we heard shots!  He was stroking his black moustache in consternation now and had a look of deep concentration. It appeared to be a matter of the most serene ritual for him!

Who was he after all???It seemed to me to be a bit more than just a job for this man - why was he always appearing, as if from nowhere, at these moments!  Was he like a counterpart of a Fiddler on the Roof - softening the impact of tragedy????

I was sorry for the fellows when I heard the rattling, short bursts,  in quick succession, all was over them at the moment -  the bravest...............

I hoped, somehow, that my nearness would be of some help to them in their last moments -  as there was no priest amongst us!!!............

To be continued ........

Day 92 - Weimer at the Xroad of the German Retreat!

"Maybe from then on we were safer in the camp!  Mob violence was now occurring and we might encounter retreating troops or be attacked by S.S. squardrons on revenge raids,  if we ventured out of the camp boundaries!

Weimer became the crossroads of the German retreat and that is why I think the planes were concentrating on this area.  I also think that the two S.S. men, with the Volkswagon,  that I had noticed the previous day, just before the bombing, were planting something near the fence to attract attention.

I don't know what! Possiblly, something to guide the planes to a particular target.  Again, they were more likely S.O.S. then S.S. - surely they were infiltrators!  I was so convinced of it that it made me confident that the camp would be saved. 

I was thinker lesser and lesser of excaping now than before.! It wouldn't have been wise all things considered.  On the other hand, I thought, never underestimate the strength of the S.S. or their capabilities!

On the night of the twentieth to the twenty first, I felt very disturbed again !
I knew something horrible was going on, my senses were acute all the time!  I was sitting in the dining hall, talking to the nightwatchman,  While we we talking inside, the old S.S., known as, "The Hangman", crept in - we knew him by this name due to his patrols within our barracks.

At this point, he warned us not to risk ourselves that night by going outside for any reason at all!  It was the night of the horrible executions, in the cellar of the crematorium, of all the German families and plotters.  Wholesome German families and the accomplices were actually being murdered there by the S.S. for treason against Hitler.

This proved to me that they still had enough power to do what they liked and mete out their vile retribution according to blood curdling tortures.  So much the more reason for us to beware and to be ready at all times!

Wing Commandent Yeo Thomas and a contingent of a dozen British with twenty three or more French and Belgians, all S.A.S., Special Air Services.  They had come in to Buchenwald about the same time as the German families.  Most of the service men were from, The Channel Island", and fully bilingual.  Recent radio broadcasts had made it clear that they were all considered to be terrorists and agents.

I remember when they had appeared, it was  near to the end of August 1944, just after the bombing of Guzloff.  They were brought in quickly on the advance after the landings and also when Antonio appeared on the scene.

After the war!!!The film made in honor of, Wing Commander Yeo Thomas,  "Sentenced to Die", from the same book as the "White Rabbit" was shown only once and for a selected audience and then destroyed.  A  fifty thousand pound epic, Kenneth Moore was the actor who played,  Wing Commander Yeo Thomas.   Why was it abandoned? I believe because it was going to be shown around the Commonwealth then.

During the last days of Buchenwald, similar to Pompei, things followed each other in rapid succession - from the shooting of the S.A.S. inmates to the murdering of the rebellious few German plotters and their families.

To be continued ...


Saturday, 2 June 2012

Day 91 - War and Confusion!

"We now looked upon the body of an outstretched S.S., who had been killed by a concrete slab,  jettisoned right onto his chest.  He couldn't have been more dead.  We carefully put him onto a stretcher and by alternately changing the pole bearers we carried his body away from the disaster zone.  Taking his body out of the disaster area would help safeguard us against further complications!

Further along, we eventually caught up with our guards, who were headed for the village and close to a ravine.  They asked, ""what are you carrying there?" We told them and they said, "Throw him into the ravine and good riddance".

From the ravine, civilians started appearing now in bunches.  On meeting us and the guards they looked a bit worried.  For a few moments they looked back and forward from us to the officers and eventually,  in confidence,  they said,   "You don't look like terrorists at all, the Nazi's made us believe all that crap!

We now helped them get over the last steep edge, giving them a hand to pull themselves up and out.  We were now taken back in trucks that were provided for us, all the way back to the camp.....................!

To be continued