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Submitted by: David Hackett firstname.lastname@example.org As editor and translator of the _The Buchenwald Report_, reviewed on this list on October 13 by Harold Marcuse, I was pleased to see that despite lengthy criticisms and objections the reviewer ultimately welcomed the publication of this source and praised it as an "excellent teaching tool." However, I thought some of the criticisms he raised were both unwarranted and potentially misleading, and that in the spirit of scholarly dialogue that this list encourages, a detailed response ought to be offered. The general thrust of Marcuse's remarks is that the book should have been more scholarly, with a longer introduction, more footnotes, and a more complete index. Let me say that early in the publication process a decision was made to pitch this book to a general audience, including students in history classes. Size and length (180,000 words and 400 pages) became important issues, both from the point of view of reading length and the price charged at the bookstore. I was quite willing to make the necessary compromises to achieve these goals, because like the reviewer I too believed it would make an excellent teaching tool. Another important decision was not to omit any portions of the text, except for several lists of names, and in only a few places in Chapter 9 was the text slightly abridged (288f). Otherwise, the report is complete as originally submitted in 1945 by PWD-SHAEF, and does not, as the reviewer complains, contain only 70% of the reports. (The later figure refers to the degree of overlap with two similar collections held at the Buchenwald Archives.) With these goals in mind, it was necessary to exercise some restraint in the number of footnotes, as well as the length of the introduction, bibliography and index. In the index, it was decided not to list those whose names appeared only once or those for whom the accuracy of the name and its spelling could not be verified. Thus it is true that some of the authors of individual testimonies do not appear in the index. A second theme of the review is that Harold Marcuse repeatedly questions the scholarship involved in the text, without always having correct information himself. For example, in paragraph 7 he states his annoyance that Hackett "gives the wrong liberation dates for Mauthausen and Theresienstadt, even though he cites literature with the correct information." Well, I decided to check this information more closely. In the case of Mauthausen, I gave the date of May 8, taken exactly from Bridgman as cited, while Abzug gives May 5, but in fact the correct date is May 6. In the case of Theresienstadt I stated May 8, where Bridgman gives May 7, but in fact May 8, attested by numerous sources, is correct. (The most authoritative source on chronology now is the new publication of the US Holocaust Memorial Museum: _1945: The Year of Liberation_.) Similarly, he takes me to task for not discussing the fate of Otto Foerschner, later commandant at Dora, while repeatedly spelling the name Foerscher himself. He also asserts that the PWD report was not the first report on Buchenwald, that the first was an American report made on April 24, 1945. But I quoted that report in the Introduction (5), giving it a full citation (381fn6) and referring to it several other times, even though it is already well-known to readers of Robert Abzug's 1985 book. "The list goes on," as the reviewer says. Third, the reviewer accuses me of being unaware of the work by Lutz Niethammer et. al., _Der 'gesaeuberte' Antifaschismus: Die SED und die roten Kapos von Buchenwald_ (1994). Indeed, this was true; I did not see the book until after mine appeared. The final draft of _The Buchenwald Report_ was submitted in November 1993 and by the time Niethammer's book appeared, my book was already at the page proof stage. Indeed, as Niethammer points out in the Introduction, work on the book by a team of archivists and himself did not even begin until Easter 1994 (12-13) and the book was rushed into print within a matter of months by Akademie Verlag of Berlin. It is an extremely valuable piece of scholarship and reveals much about the Communist inmate leadership that I wish had been available at the time I was working on my book. To me, the most intriguing part of it is the discovery that the document they uncovered from the SED party archives, judging from the excerpt printed on 198-206, is indeed the same text as the Main Report in my edition of _The Buchenwald Report_. However, I might point out in the spirit of nit-picking, that the Niethammer volume is full of errors, perhaps due to the extreme haste with which it was prepared. For example, an easily verifiable piece of information-- the date of the turnover of Thuringia to the Soviets by the US-- July 4, 1945-- is incorrectly given as July 14 (335fn16); in other places simple proofreading errors are indicated by dates such as 19546 (340). That error occurs in a footnote where an American military government officer-- Richard Gutman is incorrectly identified as Harry Guthman (340fn27). Such things obviously do make one wonder about the accuracy of the rest of the information provided. As for the climate of controversy in Germany out of which the Niethammer volume appears, I am aware of the continuing controversies over the future role of the Buchenwald camp and museum and which aspects of its history are to be presented there. In 1993 I wrote a conference paper about the political (mis)uses of the Buchenwald monument by the GDR regime: "Buchenwald: Symbol and Metaphor for the Changing Political Culture of East Germany," to be published in _Studies in GDR Culture and Society_, 15/16 (Lanham, Md.: University Press of America, forthcoming). Finally, Marcuse's other main point is that I failed to discuss the role of the Communist leadership in the administration of the camp. Indeed, I did not devote a section of the Introduction to that topic, as I felt I had more important (and previously undocumented) matters about the origins of the report to cover. I also did not think that the fate of the Communists should take preeminence over the fates of the 54,000 prisoners of all categories-- Jews, Jehovah's Witnesses, gypsies, homosexuals, Dutch, French, Poles, and Russians (among others)-- who died at the Nazi camp. The role of the Communists in the camp is discussed in all the previous literature that has appeared on the camp since 1945, and by Kogon himself in his book. To this, I had little to add that was new. I certainly provided numerous hints in the Introduction that the role of the Communists was a significant issue-- which the reviewer himself did not miss-- and left it to the intelligent reader to make his or her own judgment about the ethical issues involved. Certainly, those ethical ambiguities emerge rather clearly from the passages dealing with the selection of prisoners for transfer or transport by the Labor Records Office. Indeed, the main reason these prisoners were used as sources for the report was that by guaranteeing their own longevity they were (in many cases) the witnesses with the most seniority, who could therefore reconstruct the history of the camp from its beginnings. Neither Kogon nor Baumeister, who played the key roles in writing the Main Report, were Communists, nor were many of the prisoners who provided Individual Reports, especially the Jewish prisoners who provide evidence of the Holocaust in Chapter 12. (Curiously, the reviewer has nothing to say about these latter reports in his lengthy review.) Obviously, as can be seen from what has been said above, the controversies will continue in the future over the role of Buchenwald concentration camp in history. There is an urgent need for accurate historical scholarship on its history, which I feel is only just beginning to emerge at the present time. If Harold Marcuse is working on a book in this area, I look forward to seeing it appear in the near future. In the meantime, I am working on a book myself that seeks to answer at least some of the unanswered questions posed in his review.