Wisconsin Survivors of the Holocaust
5. Concentration Camps & Forced Labor
The walking dead
Fourteen-year-old Henry Golde arrived at Buchenwald in 1943 between the periods he worked in forced labor camps
Listen to audio
"When I got to Buchenwald, there was no work whatsoever.
The only time that the Germans would come into camp was to count the people. And they did that twice a day.
You died of boredom.
And you seen people and that's the first place that I've seen the walking dead. And you'd ask yourself, 'What were the walking dead?'
They were the people that were dead, they looked like skeletons, but apparently, their body didn't lie down yet. Their minds were gone. They wandered around blindly. They actually were dead, but they still walked around.
Buchenwald was worse, as far as I'm concerned, than any other work camp because at least when you were working you might forget a little bit about all the other troubles like food, hunger, and cold, and so on.
When you're not doing anything, you might die from boredom. And you think more of the things that are essential to survive, and that's why a lot of people died."
Golde Interview, Tape 3, Side 2
Transcript page 52 (PDF, 471 KB)