cover image The Buchenwald Report

The Buchenwald Report

. Basic Books, $35 (424pp) ISBN 978-0-8133-1777-9

After Buchenwald was liberated by the U.S. Third Army, U.S. intelligence officers were dispatched there to gather testimony for future war-crimes trials. The wide variety of humanity whose voices are heard in this report--Jews, political prisoners, homosexuals, Jehovah's Witnesses, clergymen, Poles, Russians, slave laborers who worked outside the camp--collectively presents a detailed account of daily life at Buchenwald as well as specific methods of terror and control used by the SS guards, and conveys the power of ideology to distort human behavior. Much of the report concerns the catastrophic punishments administered for petty infractions, i.e., examples of individual sadism. The original German-language report was thought to have been lost, but the head of the U.S. interview team at Buchenwald, Albert Rosenberg, kept a copy, which is here edited and translated by Univ. of Texas historian Hackett. History Book Club featured selection; BOMC selection. (Apr.)