Why The Story My Dad Told Of Buchenwald Is Important

My brother in law, William Quick, has gone to great lengths to obstruct the release of my father’s story of Buchenwald to the public domain.  Although Bill has no relevant property rights to the collection of writings and inscribed photographs from the camp, he has gone so far as to harass the University of Washington with emails claiming I am mentally ill, demand all of my emails over several years using my state’s public disclosure act,  and claim that I have published child pornography on THE-Ave.US.  There is more, including hacking attacks on this website.
A more recent part of his attacks is to claim that there is something wrong with the posts here that discuss not just the history of slavery in his state, South Carolina, but the racism and celebration of the Confederacy that persist today in that state.  These attacks are pretty common on his website named “Steve Shit.”   (NOTE: Bill has recently deleted the site, however a cached copy can still be found here.)

Colonel James Chaplin Beecher, circa 1863.

WWII Schwartz Estate Memorabilia 167So, in answer to Bill Quick, maybe I can get him to read this wonderful essay, “Slavery’s Enduring Resonance” by NY Times writer Edward Ball.  Ball reminisces about events in his family that occurs 150 years ago this month, ” At the start of March 1865, a company of black Union soldiers from the 35th United States Colored Troops regiment rode up the oak allée of Limerick, one my family’s rice plantations north of Charleston, where 250 of our slaves lived and worked. At the head of the column was a white colonel named James Beecher, a brother of Harriet Beecher Stowe, the author of “Uncle Tom’s Cabin.”

The story goes on, in part filled in by the diaries kept by Colonel James Chaplin Beecher, the commanding officer of those troops. Ed Ball goes on to talk of his ancestor …”William Ball opened his front door to admit Colonel Beecher. The white officer and abolitionist had one demand: “I want to see all the people on this place, now, in front of the house.” The black village gathered — field hands, cooks, boatmen, hostlers, nurses, carpenters, mothers, seamstresses, children, old people — and Beecher yelled, “You are free as birds, you don’t have to work for these people anymore!  Many in the black village, according to a diary, danced and sang, while others fell to their knees and prayed. That night the scene gradually turned to one of drunkenness and music. The food stores were emptied, the china was smashed and a tent city went up on the lawn for the invaders — or liberators.”

The writer continues ” …  I imagine these scenes were similar to ones at the end of World War II in Europe, when American and Soviet armies arrived at the gates of the German camps in Central and Eastern Europe. In popular memory — in white memory — the plantations of the antebellum South were like a necklace of country clubs strewn across the land. In reality, they were a chain of work camps in which four million were imprisoned. Their inhabitants, slaves, were very much survivors, in the Holocaust sense of that word.”

Perhaps this will help Bill Quick understand why its so important, now less than three weeks from the 70th anniversary of the entry of my Dad with other American, that this part of the story be passed on to the public.

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