Communists in concentration camps

Paddy Apling e.c.apling at
Tue Aug 19 02:56:05 MDT 2003

Jacob Levich wrote 19 August 2003 02:37:
> Can anyone answer this query from a friend?
> jake

> >Incidentally, I once read a review in the Nation (this was perhaps 10
> >years ago) of a book by a German communist survivor of a concentration
> >camp. He described how the communists organised themselves in
> the camp. It
> >seemed very interesting. Have you heard of it? I think the title had the
> >word "resist" in it.

Pehaps the book is "Naked Among Wolves" by Bruno Apitz (Seven Seas Books,
1960); German edition "Nacht unter Wölfen", 1968), which I have recently
re-read, and from which I copy below the paragraphs from the outside pages:

The author lived its story, one of the most compelling to come out of the
concentration camps.  Yet is does not remain a tale of bestiality and
terror, for its theme is a paean sung to the courage of mankind... It is the
story of one group of prisoners in Buchenwald who try to save a small child.
Truth, trenchantly depicted, and a tale written with unabating intensity,
make this an unforgettable novel, a rare blend of fictiona and fact.

About the author:
Bruno Apitz, son of a German worker, was imprisoned by the Nazis upon
Hitler;s advent to power  Three years later he was sent to Buchenwald
concentration camp as a slave laborer used to build up the camp.  In 1945,
he leftit with the last inmates, having been the camp's prisoner throughout
the wholeof its existence.  He returned to normal life by taking up work
inthe cultural field as a newspaper editor and as a theater director. He was
also an officialin various cultural organisations.  n 1950 he joined the
DEFA Film Company as a writer.  But tugging at him, demanding to be written
was the story of the child, a story he had lived in the concentration camp.
A sabbatical year was spent writing his novel.  In 1958, it won the National
Prize awarded by the Government of the German Democratic Republic.  Mr.
Apitz has also written the film version of his now jstly famous book.

About the book:
Europe 1945....East and West,acros the scarred terrain march the armies that
have started in Normandy and Stalingrad, that now drive before them the rags
of Hitler's might....The news trickles fromt he secret radio in Buchenwald
Concentration Camp - the starved, battered and tortured inmates take hope.
In these final weeks, when personal survival is the key feeling in every
breast, a small child is smuggled intot he camp.  To save his life becomes a
cause to a group of prisoners who brave terror, torture and death in their
effort to keep the child alive.  Not all of them survive; but all who are
touched by the struggle to save him regain somethingprecious which they
thought twelve years of concentration camp had killed - the ability to
laugh, to weep and to feel.  Here is an unforgettavle story that will keep
your pulses pounding.

NFHS Member #5594
Mailto:E.C.Apling at

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