Bergen Belsen Concentration Camp

Discussion in 'WW2 General' started by DerAdlerIstGelandet, Mar 5, 2009.

  1. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
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    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.
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    The entrance to the memorial.
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    A view of the camp grounds, including mass graves. Some of them containing as many as 5000 bodies.
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    A mass grave site with 2000 bodies.
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    A mass grave site with 1000 bodies.
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    The main memorial.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    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.
    [​IMG]

    More mass graves.
    [​IMG]

    The symbolic grave for Anne Frank and Margot Frank.
    [​IMG]

    A Jewish Monument.
    [​IMG]
     
  2. pbfoot

    pbfoot Active Member

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    must be sobering to say the least
     
  3. SoD Stitch

    SoD Stitch Banned

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    :salute:

    It looks like the weather was appropriately gloomy when you visited . . . . .
     
  4. Torch

    Torch Well-Known Member

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    Been to Majdanek near Lublin Poland twice, very somber, drizzled both times. Ovens and gas chamber are all still there as are the buildings filled with displays of baby shoes,glasses, personal affects of the victims,very very sad indeed.
     
  5. Bill G.

    Bill G. Banned

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    I have been to Dachau. I know the overwhelming feeling of sadness that exists.

    Very Sad!

    And we must never forget either!

    Bill G.
     
  6. Hesekiel

    Hesekiel Member

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    At least for me as a german it´s very depressing to visit those locations..
    These are things which NEVER happen again... NEVER !!!
     
  7. Bill G.

    Bill G. Banned

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    I couldn't agree more!

    Bill G.
     
  8. evangilder

    evangilder "Shooter"
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    May we never forget what happened.
     
  9. mudpuppy

    mudpuppy Member

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    Thanks for the posting...and I pray that we heed these lessons from the past and leave our children a kinder world to raise a family.

    Derek
     
  10. Marcel

    Marcel Well-Known Member

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    I agree. I was there 10 years ago. Those stones with the death counts were chilling.
     
  11. Venganza

    Venganza Member

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    Just what I was thinking. A bright sunny day would have seemed incongrous with what went on there. It seems like there should always be a cloud above such places.

    Venganza
     
  12. Airframes

    Airframes Benevolens Magister

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    I was there in 1973, with a party from my Regiment whilst on exercise on the Soltau Training Area. Although it was October, the weather was fair and sunny. In the forest surrounding Bergen Belsen, birds sang, and wildlife skittered about. But not within the boundaries of the former camp. The whole place was still and quiet, and we all felt the sombre, cold feeling that seemed to surround the place. It's something I have never forgotten, and never will.
     
  13. seesul

    seesul Active Member

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    100% agree!

    Chris, before you leave Europe,you should visit Auschwitz...I couldn´t speak all the way back home, although I was there also 20 years ago for a first time...
    Check this http://www.ww2aircraft.net/forum/ww...sary-liberation-auschwitz-birkenau-11649.html
     
  14. RabidAlien

    RabidAlien Active Member

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    As a kid, I visited the Andersonville POW camp in Georgia (Civil War era)...just lookin at these pictures brings back the same goosebumps I had then. War is hell, as they say....but this, this was an atrocity.
     
  15. ToughOmbre

    ToughOmbre Active Member

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    Amen to that!

    TO
     
  16. Gnomey

    Gnomey World Travelling Doctor
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    Good pics Chris, very sobering.

    May we never forget.
     
  17. Captain Dunsel

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    We visited (although that is too pleasant a word for such sobering places) Dachau and Auschwitz when we were assigned to Germany in 89-92.

    What hit me and has stayed in my mind since then is that so many of the dead were turned in by their fellow citizens. Friends, neighbors, countrymen who turned them over to the government. It makes me wonder how hard it would be to do something like that here.

    CD
     
  18. Wayne Little

    Wayne Little Well-Known Member

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    Mmmm....thanks for sharing Chris....
     
  19. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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  20. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
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    Stirling01 I deleted your post.

    Why?

    Because I did not start this thread to get into an off topic discussion about the Palestinian and Israel conflict today! This was a thread that I started about the camps in WW2!

    Your post is completely off topic to the subject and would only start a flame war.

    Frankly I believe that was the reason you made your post. You had no other reason but to start a flame war.

    My thread was not started for that purpose! Do you understand?!


    You get off with warning here. You wanna discuss that ****, do it in your own thread!

    Syscom, sorry that I edited your post. I only wished to completely remove stirling's post.
     
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