Vasile Dan

1925 (Oradea, Romania)


"I was never devout. And since the camp, I have not believed in God ... I can’t say that God is a good smiling person with a white beard ... He has a lot of problems with these five billion people."

Vasile Dan (Làszlò Deutsch) was born in Oradea, Romania on 9 September 1925. He wanted to become a paediatrician but in the part of northern Romania that was occupied by Hungary, Jews were not allowed to study medicine.

In April 1944, following the German invasion in Hungary, he was arrested by Hungarian police and deported to Auschwitz. On 6 June, he was taken to Buchenwald and was transferred to the subcamp of the Brabag AG in Magdeburg three weeks later. There he worked in bunker construction and rubble clearing. In February 1945 he was taken back to Buchenwald, to the Little Camp, from which he was freed in April.

In July 1945, Vasile Dan returned to Romania and studied medicine at the university in Cluj-Napoca. In 1948, he left university because he fell seriously ill with TB, a consequence of his internment in the concentration camp. He started training at a theatre academy. By 1949, he was assistant producer at the national theatre in Cluj, and from 1955 on, director and producer in chief of the Cluj-Napoca puppet theatre. He staged plays in Hungarian and Romanian for children and adults, plays from classical literature and fairy tales as well as comedies. These performances were subject to massive censorship by the state. In 1980, Dan took the position of director with a Dutch company in Bucharest. After the revolution in Romania in 1989, he returned to Cluj and became a manager for a German-Romanian firm and for American groups (foreign trade). Vasile Dan is the secretary of Memento, the Romanian Association of Survivors of Buchenwald Concentration Camp.