Language selection


Closer to Freedom

Heroes Remember

There was a professor from the University of Paris in Buchenwald. He was a doctor, he was a prisoner. And he found out about me being in the infirmary and he came in with a great big syringe at a great risk to himself, he stuck it in my back and sucked out fluid. So that's another thing that saved my life, The other thing that saved my life, there was a young Dutch lad, who was, some of the boys, some of the people in Buchenwald, were there long enough that they had attained a position, not of authority but they would work in the records or handing out clothes, this kid worked on the record department so he said to me one day the only thing I can do is take your name off the work list because I had to go out and work in the quarry which would have been a death sentence for me. And it was a death sentence for anybody who worked in the quarry and the ones who were sent there were mainly the Jewish people and the Russian people because you went in the quarry, you smashed rocks, you had to carry big boulders up and down the hill until you collapsed. The guards had dogs that would sick onto you. They forced people up and down the hill, pushing a big cart. If you collapsed they shot you, it was a death sentence and I was sent, I worked in the quarry one day and this young lad, this Dutch lad took my name off the list of people that had to work in the quarry and he was another one who saved my life because if I had stayed there, I'd have died. I never would have survived! Somehow, somehow the German Air Force who was our enemy in combat but strictly comrade-in-arms found out there was 166 allied airmen in Buchenwald. Two of our boys died in Buchenwald and were cremated and so their bodies are still there and they have never, ever been officially recognized as airmen of being in Buchenwald - Anyway, that's another story. Anyway the German Air Force snuck these 156 allied airmen because twelve of us were left behind, eleven of us were left behind, snuck them out and took them to a place called Stalag Luft III which was a prisoner of war camp run by the German Air Force. So the enemy, our enemy who was German Air Force and maybe even shot some of us down, saved our lives, saved their lives and I never got out of Buchenwald until the 28th of November 1944, and so we were all, well they found out after they got out that five days later we would all have been hung on the meat hooks below the crematorium by stringing piano wire around our necks and hanging them on these meat hooks. We would have all been strangled to death. That was the orders that came down from Buchenwald. That was the orders that was on our records. We were never, ever to leave Buchenwald alive!

Mr. Carter-Edwards credits a doctor who treated him at camp and a young Dutch record keeper who kept his name off a list for quarry duty with ultimately saving his life.

Ed Carter-Edwards

Edward (Ed) Carter-Edwards was born on April 2, 1923, in Montréal, Quebec, and was raised in Hamilton, Ontario. He enlisted in August 1942, and then joined 427 (Lion) Squadron, 6 Royal Canadian Air Force Group, in Leeming, England. He was a wireless operator air gunner and completed 21 successful missions in a Halifax bomber. On his 22nd mission, Mr. Carter-Edwards was shot down near Paris. He was betrayed to the Gestapo by a collaborator, threatened with execution and forced into the Fresnes prison, near Paris. He spent five weeks in the prison in 1944 followed by a five-day trip in a French cattle car to the notorious Buchenwald concentration camp. He was there for three and a half months as one of 26 Canadians - 168 allied airmen in all. He was forced to participate in two death marches shortly before the end of the war. Once released from service and safely back home, Mr. Carter-Edwards returned to Hamilton and worked at the appliance manufacturer Westinghouse. He was married in 1946, and he and his wife raised three children.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
June 25, 2012
Person Interviewed:
Ed Carter-Edwards
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
Bomber Command
Air Force
4th Medium Artillery Regiment
Wireless Air Gunner

Copyright / Permission to Reproduce

Related Videos

Date modified: