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Liberation of Belsen, 15 April 1945

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Elizabethofseasons Report 14 Apr 2013 23:24

Dear All


British troops liberated the concentration camp Bergen-Belsen, Germany
on 15 April 1945.

What they saw there can only be described as "man's inhumanity to man".

Those who had survived, men, women and children were so ill, that many perished shortly after the liberation from disease.

On 21 April, a mass evacuation of the camp began.

British medical students responded to an appeal from the Ministry of Health
to go to Germany and help. Great efforts were made to try and save as many people as possible.

Photographs and a film were taken at the camp and published so that the whole world would learn of the atrocities that had taken place.

Today the camp and surrounding land has been turned into a landscaped park.


This note was found. The author is unknown:

"I believe in the sun even when it's not shining,

I believe in love even when I don't feel it,

And I believe in God even when He is silent."

Never, ever to forget.

Take gentle care
Sincere wishes

Karen in the desert

Karen in the desert Report 15 Apr 2013 11:17

Thank you Elizabeth for posting this.

Such a huge part of our recent history. Millions perished through torture, starvation and desease. Pitiful as it is to think about, it is real, it did happen, and we should never forget that.
I firmly believe future generations should have this part of history included in their education.

It is a common myth that those people liberated from the camps all went home at the end of the war.
Many people were in no state to travel. Many of them had no home, and many did not have a home country to which they could return, since countries' political boundaries had changed. DP's (Displaced Persons) had to be again put into camps and were still being found a 'home country' up to and into the early 1950's .

RIP all those who perished.



AnnCardiff Report 15 Apr 2013 11:21

one of my mother's brothers was in one of the regiments that entered Belsen on that first day - as has been said, he found it absolutely horrifying - he's in his nineties now, no doubt the memories re still with him

I liked the fact that the allies made all the local residents walk through to see the carnage


Merlin Report 15 Apr 2013 14:00

My late Uncle Fred saw it too, he could never get over the sights there and the smell,he said "It was a Living Hell" Ann, I think they made them work in there as well .**M**.


AnnCardiff Report 15 Apr 2013 14:03

good - they reckoned they had no idea what was going on - as if!!!!


martynsue Report 15 Apr 2013 14:39

my FIL was one of the first into the camp,he never spoke about what he saw and he died in the 1980s taking that awful memory with him to the grave.


GoldenGirl1 Report 15 Apr 2013 14:51




George_of_Westbury Report 15 Apr 2013 14:53

Whilst i was in the Army in 1954 i visited the Belsen/Bergen camp location, even then it was very disturbing place.

In those days there were just markers indicating the pits where bodies were buried, not sure if that's changed since, but there were memorial stones with inscriptions, in fact i do have photos of those memorial stones.

I'm still not sure if the locals knew of the existence of these camps and what was done there.

A place i will never forget,



Elizabethofseasons Report 15 Apr 2013 23:12

Dear Karen, Ann, Merlin, Martyn, Golden Girl and George


Thank you very much for sharing your memories and thoughts.

Appreciated so much.

Take gentle care
Sincere wishes

Karen in the desert

Karen in the desert Report 16 Apr 2013 09:24

A sad reflection of today's society, perhaps, that there has been little interest in, or response to, this thread. :-0


LilyL Report 16 Apr 2013 10:44

I agree up to a point George of Westbury. I think the locals must have had knowledge of the Camp, but I also think that it would have been a brave person who questioned or queried them!! Undoubtedly it would have meant extreme retribution both for the person and their family/extended family/friends. such was the tyrany of the state, and for what purpose? as it would have made absolutely no difference whatsoever! So I don't think that the local people can be entirely blamed for doing a massive 'double think'. Having watched Pan### last night, and the obvious terror that the' state' inflicts on the population.......! Easy for us to criticise, we are and were in the safety and freedom of dear old England.....As I said, it would have taken a brave person, and would I have been that brave person? Honestly. hand on heart, I'm not sure that I would!


RolloTheRed Report 16 Apr 2013 10:59

All of the immediate relatives of my OH's mother died in these camps.

My uncle was one of the army soldiers who witnessed the desolation. He said that they had no idea what they were going to encounter. They were very angry and this accounted for some of the extremely brutal fighting over the closing weeks of ww2.

The extermination camps were established well before the outbreak of ww2 (e.g. Buchenwald 1937 ) and the British government knew full well what was going on. However every conceivable obstacle was placed in the way of those trying to escape and those trying to help them.

Whatever the justifications for ww2 never let it be said that saving the lives of six million lives was one of them.

Mr Gove talks about reforming British history lessons making sure that all our children know about such reformers as the Duke of Wellington and John of Gaunt. There is to be no mention of far away places of which we know little such as Buchenwald, Auschwitz, Ravensbrook, Katowicz, Belsen or a tad nearer Oradour-sur-Glane (France). It would look bad for Lord Halifax and the Daily Mail.

"Glorified and sanctified be God’s great name throughout the world which He has created according to His will. May He establish His kingdom in your lifetime and during your days, and within the life of the entire House of Israel, speedily and soon; and say, Amen.

May His great name be blessed forever and to all eternity.

Blessed and praised, glorified and exalted, extolled and honored, adored and lauded be the name of the Holy One, blessed be He, beyond all the blessings and hymns, praises and consolations that are ever spoken in the world; and say, Amen.

May there be abundant peace from heaven, and life, for us

and for all Israel; and say, Amen.

He who creates peace in His celestial heights, may He create peace for us and for all Israel; and say, Amen"

( the Kaddish prayer for the dead ).


LilyL Report 16 Apr 2013 20:14

As you say Karen, there has been very little reaction to this post which is a great shame, as it could have been an interesting conversation. But there we go, it's all a long time ago now, and the world has moved on and most people involved one way or the other are now extremely old or dead. I suppose it is all now just regarded as 'history' and not particularly interesting - pity.


AnnCardiff Report 16 Apr 2013 20:34

should never ever be forgotten


McB Report 16 Apr 2013 20:46

My dad was one of the first in to Belson at the end, he would cry at any mention of it right up to his death in 1991. he could never talk about it