Naftali Fürst
Deported from Bratislava with his brother

Schmuel Fürst was born in Bratislava (Slovakia) on 20 February 1931, his brother Naftali on 18 December 1932. The brothers came from a Jewish family. In 1942, they were sent to a forced labor camp in Sered.

In early November 1944, the entire family was deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau, where the brothers were separated from their parents. The SS evacuated Auschwitz in January 1945, and 13-year-old Naftali Fürst and his 14-year-old brother were driven on a death march to the Buchenwald Concentration Camp. For days, the two traveled in sub-zero temperatures, first on foot, then in an open cattle car. After arriving at Buchenwald, they were placed in Children’s Block 66 in the Little Camp.

Severely ill, Naftali witnessed the liberation of the camp on 11 April 1945. The day before, the SS had sent his brother on a death march that would last for weeks. It was not until 9 May, when he was near death, that he was liberated. In the summer of 1945, the brothers and parents reunited in Bratislava. They later emigrated to Israel.

Naftali Fürst (left) together with his brother Schmuel, 1941.

The two brothers lived with their parents in Bratislava (Slovakia) until 1942.

(private property)

Naftali Fürst in the Little Camp at the Buchenwald Concentration Camp, 16 April 1945.

After arriving at Buchenwald, Naftali Fürst fell seriously ill and was sent to the infirmary. Shortly after liberation, American war correspondents photographed the emaciated prisoners in the Little Camp. Naftali Fürst recognized himself in this photo.

(Photo: Harry Miller, Buchenwald Memorial)

Naftali Fürst (first row standing, 5th from left) with other children and teenagers after the liberation of Buchenwald, April 1945.

(Photo: Gérard Raphaël Algoet, Buchenwald Memorial)

"Seventy-five years ago, I was a twelve-year-old boy who was liberated in the Buchenwald Concentration Camp. I came from Auschwitz - after a death march and a transport in an open wagon in -25° weather. It was January 23, 1945. I am grateful for my great good fortune. I thank all the brave men for liberating 21,000 prisoners who were only skin and bones, including about 900 children."

From Naftali Fürst's speech commemorating the 75th anniversary of the liberation, 11 April 2020.

(Buchenwald Memorial)

"Alone in the world, without parents, without my brother, without family". Interview with Naftali Fürst about the Buchenwald liberation in April 1945 and the reunion with his family in Bratislava, 26 January 2021.

At first, Naftali Fürst believed that his brother and parents had not survived. In the summer of 1945, the four met again in Bratislava.

(Buchenwald Memorial)


Naftali Fürst. A Family from Bratislava (audio)