Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Ghost Zoo--Buchenwald Weimar, Germany

In 1938, Camp Commander Karl Koch had a zoo built in the direct vicinity of the entrance area to the inmates’ camp. It was financed with “donations” extorted from the inmates themselves. The highlight of the “Buchenwald Zoological Garden”, as it was officially designated, was a bear pit with four brown bears and 5 monkeys.  There was also an elaborate falconry in another area outside the camp where the SS kept birds of prey.   As stated in a command-staff order, the zoo was intended as a means of offering the SS men “distraction and amusement”.  The zoo was accessible not only to the SS and their families but also to civilian workers from Weimar employed in the factories in the camp vicinity. SS postcards advertised for the zoo. 

From Scrapbookpages:

The camp guidebook contains the following order by Commandant Koch, concerning the animals at Buchenwald:
Commanders's Order No. 56 dated 8th September 1938 (Extract)

1. Buchenwald zoological gardens has been created in order to provide diversion and entertainment for the men in their leisure time and to show them the beauty and peculiarities of various animals which they will hardly be able to meet and observe in the wild.
But we must also expect the visitor to be reasonable and fond of animals enough to refrain from anything that might not be good for the animals, cause harm to them or even compromise their health and habits. (...) In the meantime, I again received reports saying that SS men have tied the deer's horns to the fence and cut them loose only after a long while. Furthermore, it has been found that deer have been lured to the fence and tinfoil put in the mouth. In the future, I will find out the perpetrators of such loutish acts and have them reported to the SS Commander in Chief in order to have them punished for cruelty to animals.

The Camp Commandant of Buchenwald Concentration Camp
signed by Koch


'Along the lines of spending upwards of a million dollars to rescue "one" elephant while half the world's children are starving:'

Although Buchenwald was technically not an extermination camp, it was a site of an extraordinary number of deaths.  A primary cause of death was illness due to harsh camp conditions, with starvation most prevalent.  Malnourished and suffering from disease, many were literally "worked to death" under the Vernichtung durch Arbeit policy(extermination through labor).   Many inmates died as a result of  human experimentation, but as we see above the good Commandant Koch made damn sure the deer were not tormented or treated harshly!!!!!!!

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