About Richard Daughtry
Henry F. Tonn
In response to Bewildering Stories’ expression of interest, the author tells about the narrator of “An Afternoon at Buchenwald,” in issue 417, and about his impromptu exercise in recording oral history.
Richard Daughtry retired at age 62 after a career in sales and opened a used bookstore in Wilmington, North Carolina. I used to buy books there and also sit around for hours chatting with him about sports and about his experiences in the Second World War.
When he finally sold his bookstore and, concurrently, I became a writer, I decided to tape an interview with him concerning his excursion to Buchenwald during the waning months of the war. Afterward, I checked the facts of his account on the Internet and then wrote the story up and sought a publisher.
Mr. Daughtry recently had a further recollection of that visitation which he had literally forgotten for sixty-five years. It concerned something called "The Killing Room" at Buchenwald, where the guards put prisoners on meat hooks attached to the walls and watched them bleed to death in horrible agony. Mr. Daughtry recalled the room being covered with blood when he visited it, and his guide broke down and cried as he related the purpose of the room.
Again, I checked the Internet for verification of this story and found a picture and description of the room. His memory of this place is apparently correct. He was quite tearful while he related the story to me.
At present, we have no plans to do further taped interviews, although he has other interesting war stories to tell, some of them quite humorous.
Richard Daughtry lives in total retirement now in Wilmington, N.C. with his wife, Lucy. He recently celebrated his ninetieth birthday.
Copyright © 2011 by Henry F. Tonn