To me it is interesting that he received special treatment rather than immediate execution. He was considered extremely valuable perhaps as a hostage. Wondering any details about how and why he was treated differently than most other inmates there.

Wikipedia article mentioning special section Mind-boggling that such a man was not exempt from Nazi imprisonment; on the other hand, in his own land he was dragged from his automobile and almost beaten to death, saved by members of the proletariat who were fortunately nearby. (ibid)

  • 1
    I can remove "assume" -- former French PM is extremely valuable as a hostage without doubt. Wikipedia article mentions his being assigned to special section of Buchenwald which it is known resulted in better treatment than regular inmates.
    – Jeff
    Oct 13 '16 at 16:06

In fact, the Nazis kept a group of captured important political leaders in a special subcamp of Buchenwald, as sort of hostages, under relatively mild conditions.

For some reason I am unable now to find a single source with a full list of the VIP prisoners (I recall once having read such a webpage). Anyway, the subcamp was called "Fichtenhain Special Camp" and this google book has some valuable information on it.

This webpage is also useful. Here's the most relevant section:

Princess Mafalda was not the only politically important prisoner at Buchenwald. An area known as the Fichtenhain Special Camp and its adjacent isolation barrack located between the SS barracks and the Gustloff-Werk II also held a variety of men, women, and children who were not allowed to mingle with the general concentration camp population.

French politicians, especially, were “guests” of the Nazis at Buchenwald. Léon Blum, a Jew and the former premier of the French Popular Front government from 1936 to 1938, was imprisoned here after the French Free Zone was occupied by the Germans in November 1942, following the Allied invasion of North Africa. Other members of the French government held at KL Buchenwald included Édouard Daladier (prime minister in 1940); Georges Mandel (the last minister of the interior before the fall of France in 1940); and General Maurice Gamelin (commander in chief of French and British forces in 1940). Also incarcerated atop the Etterberg were Reserve Division General Andre Challe and his son; Professor Alfred Balachowsky, director of the Pasteur Institute; and a Mssr. Clin, director of the National Library of France.

Here also was kept Dr. Rudolph Breitscheid, former chairman of the German Social Democrat Party, and his wife. In the cellar of one of the SS troop barracks was a special row of cells known as the SS detention area, where the Protestant theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer was kept. Later evacuated to Flossenbürg, Bonhoeffer was hanged on April 9, 1945, just days before the camp was liberated.

KL Buchenwald did not discriminate when it came to the nationalities of its prisoners. Buchenwald also held as inmates Anton Falkenberg, head of the Copenhagen police; Petr Zenkl, the former mayor of Prague; British Wing Commander Forest Yeo-Thomas; and a former prime minister of Belgium, Paul-Emile Janson, who died at Buchenwald in 1944.

  • I did read that towards the end, the decision to murder Blum was made but not carried out. But it could well have happened -- Mandel was murdered and so was Blum's brother. I am sure the relatively mild conditions were nonetheless not quite like living at the Ritz.
    – Jeff
    Oct 12 '16 at 19:27
  • @Jeff Not at all like the Ritz. Still, better than what was being done to the "regular" prisoners in Buchenwald. Oct 12 '16 at 19:35

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