Buchenwald’s Second LifenEven in an age oiglasnost, hardly anyone troubles tonrecall that when the Soviet Union occupied EastnGermany in 1945 it kept two Nazi concentration camps innfull use for nearly five years, till February 1950, and at theirnold task of death.nSoviet Buchenwald comes as a surprise, and that surprisenis perhaps a tribute to the power of propaganda in generalnand of Soviet censorship in particular. Imagine the outcry ifnany Western nation had kept a single Nazi camp in use, fornmore than a few weeks — an American Dachau, perhaps, orna British Belsen; picture the indignation it would arouse innthe Western world, the shame Western man to this daynwould be called upon to feel, the anguish of the survivorsnand the friends of the dead. Censorship works, it is worthnremembering, and not least the state censorship of thensocialist world. If it does not kill the truth, it can certainlynsmother it for years. When I stood in Buchenwald campnrecently, on a lecturing visit to East Germany, I had tonevoke not one killing field but two: a Nazi camp that lastednfor eight years, from 1937 till its liberation by Americanntroops in the spring of 1945; and the camp the Soviets rannthere — one of about a dozen they maintained in thenconquered German lands — after certain territories the RednArmy had not liberated were handed over by Alliednagreement.nSuch a visit is doubly sobering. Buchenwald stands innthick woods on a hilltop in East Germany some’four milesnabove Weimar, an idyllic little town set in the ThuringiannGeorge Watson is a fellow of St. John’s College,nCambridge, and author of Politics & Literature innModern Britain and The Idea of Liberalism (bothnMacmillan).n16/CHRONICLESnby George Watsonnnnhills where Goethe’s house, and Schiller’s, are still shown toneager tourists. The camp is invisible from below, and alwaysnwas, being densely surrounded by trees, except that thenSoviets in 1958 built a tall stone bell tower to commemoratentheir dead. It was not, to speak relatively in Nazi terms, andeath camp. Of the quarter of a million prisoners held therenover eight years — men and women of many nationalities —nabout a quarter are thought to have died, or some 65,000.nFor two years, from April 1943, their number includednLeon Blum, a former French premier held as hostage innisolation and in superior conditions with his third wife,nJanot, who heroically volunteered to join him there fromnParis and married him in the camp. Even on a warmnsummer day the place seems bleak and sunless, as ifnconscious of its own infamy, though visitors are a normalnand daily event, including parties of schoolchildren. Outsidenthe wire, nowadays, there is even a hotel among the trees.nWhat remains of the camp, in its third life, is a perimeternfence, once electrified, which still stands entire surroundingnmany acres of waste ground — concrete posts about 12 feetnhigh carrying miles of barbed wire. The gateway, too, is stillnin place, with its ironwork lettering “Jedem das Seine” — toneach his own; so is the railhead just outside the gate, built bynforced labor during the war. But only the administrativenblock still stands as a building, apart from the guardhouse,nand it is now used as an exhibition center. The rest calls fornsome imagination. The parliamentary delegation thatnWinston Ghurchill sent as prime minister in April 1945nspeaks in its report of verminous huts without windows,nfour-tiered with bunks, and only recently holding 80,000nprisoners. This is where Use Koch, wife of the Nazincommandant, collected articles made of human skin, includingna famous lampshade. This is where survivors, halfn