On my way up to the North Sea last weekend, me and my wife made a stop at the Bergen Belsen Concentration Camp. All I can say is it was a very somber experience. I have been to Dachau, but Dachau does not put the same lasting impression that Bergen Belsen does. It is such a tragedy to mankind what happened here and in all the other camps. Some history of the camp. The camp was first set up in 1940 as a POW camp Stalag XI-C. 600 French and Belgian POW's were the first to be sent here. With the start of Operation Barbarossa, Russian POW's were also sent to the camp. Between 1940 and 1942, 18,000 Russian POW's died at Bergen Belsen from hunger and disease. In 1942 it officially became a concentration camp and Jews as well Homosexuals, Gypsies and Political Prisoners were sent to Bergen Belsen. The number of prisoners held at the camp increased from 15,257 in December 1944 to 60,000 in April 1945. There were no gas chambers in Bergen-Belsen, since the mass executions took place in the camps further east. Nevertheless, an estimated 50,000 Jews, Czechs, Poles, anti-Nazi Christians, homosexuals, and Roma and Sinti (Gypsies) died in the camp. Among them were Czech painter and writer Josef Čapek (est. April 1945), as well as Amsterdam residents Anne Frank (who died of typhus) and her sister Margot, who died there in March 1945. The average life expectancy of an inmate was nine months. The camp was liberated by British and Canadian forces on April 15, 1945. Between 1940 and 1945, aprox 100,000 inmates died here. An estimated 50,000 of them were Russian POW's and the other half were Jews, Gypsies, Anti Nazis. 35,000 of them are estimated to have died from Typhus. The British forces put the SS staff on trial after the war. The Belsen Trial was one of several trials for war crimes and crimes against humanity that the Allied occupation forces conducted against former officials and functionaries of Nazi Germany after the end of World War II. Of those that were found guilty: * Josef Kramer (SS Commander of Camp), Fritz Klein, Peter Weingartner, Franz Hössler, Juana Bormann, Irma Grese, Elisabeth Volkenrath, Karl Francioh, Anchor Pichen, Franz Stofel, and Wilhelm Dorr were sentenced to death by hanging. * Erich Zoddel was sentenced to lifetime imprisonment. * Deputy wardress Herta Ehlert, Otto Calesson, Heinrich Schreirer, kapo Helena Kopper, and Vladislaw Ostrovski were sentenced to 15 years imprisonment. * Kapo Hildegard Lobauer, and guards Ilse Forster, Herta Bothe, Irene Haschke, Gertrud Sauer, Johanne Roth, Anna Hempel, Stanislawa Starotska, and Antoni Aurdzieg were sentenced to 10 years imprisonment. * Gertrude Fiest, and Medislaw Burgraf were sentenced to 5 years, Frieda Walter to 3 years, and Hilde Lisiewitz to one year. The executions took place on December 13, 1945. Some pictures that I took: The entrance to the documentation center. The entrance to the memorial. A view of the camp grounds, including mass graves. Some of them containing as many as 5000 bodies. A mass grave site with 2000 bodies. A mass grave site with 1000 bodies. The main memorial. This cross was erected by Polish survivors in 16 April 1945 just one day after the liberation. It is the original cross from 16 April 1945 and is made of birchwood. More mass graves. The symbolic grave for Anne Frank and Margot Frank. A Jewish Monument.