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Prisoner of Hitler and Stalin

Margarete Buber-Neumann

Margarete Buber-Neumann saw the Hell and vouched for it.  After her deportation both in soviet and nazi concentration camps, he told the world the horror of totalitarianism.

Born in 1901 in Potsdam, in the family of the famous German Jewish philosopher Martin Buber, Margarete serves in the communist youth where she knows her husband-to-be, Heinz Neumann, a Komintern executive and a Reichstag representative. When Hitler becomes Chancellor, the couple escapes in Switzerland and then in URSS.

In 1937 her husband disappears without trace. In 1938 she was arrested as “individual socially dangerous”. She was sentenced to five years of forced labor and moved in the huge lager of Karaganda, in Kazakihstan.

On 23 August 1939 URSS and Germany sign Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact. As an act of friendship with Berlin, Stalin gives Hitler and his Gestapo a thousand communist and Jews prisoners. In 1940 Margarete is deported to Ravensbrück, "women’s Hell", as this lager near Berlin was called.

In 1945, when the Red Army arrived, the woman escaped and went in Sweden. In Stockholm, after her work, she writes her report of internment, that is published in Swedish and then in Europe and USA with the title of Prisoner of Hitler and Stalin.

In some States, for example France, the diffusion of the book faces ideological and cultural obstacles. In Paris the report of the imprisonment under Stalin and that one in the nazi lager are published in two different volumes...with 40 years of distance. At that time not everybody admitted that Buber-Neumann wrote that “the death for starve willfully inflicted on a son of an Ukranian kulako is the same of the death for starving of a Jewish child of the Warsaw ghetto from the Nazis”.

Pierre Rigoulot told that her vision was “heretical” in a time in which communist parties were strong and Moscow was celebrate as the winner against Hitler. Margarete was accused to be “lier, Trotskyist, Nazi or, worse than this, an American spy!”. “Just a thing was sure: there could not be lager in communist States”.

18 January 2013

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