Scrapbookpages Blog

December 30, 2011

Mass graves and Memorials at Bergen-Belsen

I recently received an e-mail from someone who was looking for graves of British soldiers near the Bergen-Belsen Memorial Site.  I do not know of any British cemetery in the vicinity of the former Belsen camp, but I would not be surprised if there are British soldiers buried nearby.  The Bergen-Belsen concentration camp was in the middle of a war zone when it was voluntarily turned over to the British on April 15, 1945 because of the fear that the typhus epidemic in the camp would spread to the troops fighting in the area.

Memorial stone at entrance to Bergen-Belsen Memorial Site

On 15 April 1946, a monument was erected in honor of the 30,000 Jews who were murdered by the Nazis at Bergen-Belsen. 

The photo below shows a mass grave in the background and a memorial stone in honor of Chaim Herzog, the former president of Israel, on the right.

Jewish memorial at Bergen Belsen on the left, Chaim Hertzog memorial stone on the right, mass graves in background

Memorial Stone in honor of Chaim Hertzog at Bergen-Belsen

The photo above shows the Memorial stone for Chaim Herzog, the former president of Israel, who died April 17, 1997. This is an honorary stone; Herzog is not buried at Bergen-Belsen.  In the background is the Obelisk and Memorial Wall.

Chaim Herzog’s father was the Chief Rabbi of Ireland and later became the first Ashkenazi Rabbi of Israel. Chaim Herzog was present when Heinrich Himmler allegedly committed suicide after being captured by the British.

Monument to the 30,000 Jews murdered at Bergen-Belsen, House of Silence in the background

You can read about the House of Silence at Bergen-Belsen on my website here.

Back side of the Jewish monument at Bergen-Belsen

The back side of the Jewish Monument has an English translation of the words on the front:

Israel and the world shall remember thirty thousand Jews exterminated in the concentration camp of Bergen-Belsen at the hands of the murderous Nazis. EARTH CONCEAL NOT THE BLOOD SHED ON THEE!

First anniversary of Liberation 15th April 1946

Central Jewish Committee British Zone

There are numerous memorials at the site of the Bergen-Belsen camp.  The photo below shows an obelisk and wall in honor of the victims who died in the camp. This memorial was erected by the Germans in 1947 on the orders of the British military occupation government. In the foreground, you can see one of the mass graves, and two more mass graves in the background.

Obelisk put up by the Germans at Bergen-Belsen in 1947

The obelisk is surrounded by markers for significant dates: 1943 was the date that Bergen-Belsen became a detention camp for “exchange Jews.” 1940 was the date the camp first opened as a prisoner of war camp and 1945 was the date of liberation.

1943 at the Obelisk denotes the date Belsen became an exchange camp for Jews who wanted to go to Palestine

German memorial stone in honor of the victims of the Nazis

The words on the Memorial stone are

Politische Gegner des Nationalsozialismus
Juden
Sinti und Roma
Zeugen Jehovas
Homosexuelle
Opfer der Zerstörung des Rechts

The first mention on the stone in the photo above is the “Political opponents of National Socialism.”  Why so many political prisoners?  Most people think of Bergen-Belsen as a camp for Jews.  Bergen-Belsen was, in fact, an exchange camp for Jews from 1943 to December 1944 when it became a concentration camp. On April 8, 1945, thirty thousand prisoners arrived at Bergen-Belsen from other concentration camps. The Germans were following the Geneva Convention which says that prisoners must be evacuated from a war zone. Prisoners had been evacuated from other concentration camps in eastern Europe to Bergen-Belsen to get them out of the war zone.

Memorial stone in honor of a French resistance fighter

The memorial stone above is in honor of a member of the French resistance who fought the Nazis after France surrendered. He was probably among the 30,000 prisoners evacuated from a camp for political prisoners that was in the war zone.

German Memorial at Bergen-Belsen in honor of the Sinti (Gypsy) victims

After the British took over the Belsen camp, they put up the sign shown in the photo below.

Sign put up by the British at Bergen-Belsen

Words on the sign put up by the British at Belsen

Note that the sign says that the camp was “liberated” by the British.  That depends on how you define the word “liberated.”  If liberated means “voluntarily turned over to the enemy in order to save lives,” then Belsen was “liberated by the British.”

After Bergen-Belsen was turned over to the British in April 1945, there were 13,000 additional deaths. Note that there is no mention of how 13,000 prisoners managed to die AFTER the British took over.  The sign says that all the prisoners who died at Bergen-Belsen were “victims of the German New Order in Europe.”

The sign that was put up by the British said that there were 10,000 unburied bodies at Bergen-Belsen.  Where are the photos of the 10,000 bodies?

Unburied bodies found by the British at Bergen-Belsen

British soldiers used bull dozers to shove bodies into mass graves

Bergen-Belsen was the only camp that was liberated by the British.  Do you think they might have exaggerated a bit about what they found in the camp?

British soldier looking at sign at Bergen-Belsen that warns about the typhus epidemic

10 Comments

  1. Hi There. You seem to know a lot about Bergen Belsen and about what remains there. My mother who was liberated from Bergen Belsen recently passed away. She always told a story about walking outside the gates of Bergen Belsen(or perhaps a hospital) after liberation and finding the grave or marker of her mother. I am interested to find out if there are such graves or markers remaining and if so, how I can find out if my grandmothers is still there. Would love to know anything you can to help. Many thanks

    Comment by Bernie Good — April 4, 2017 @ 9:29 am

  2. Someone said “I hope these sites are bombed to oblivion one day”, I disagree. It is history that should not be forgotten. We should never forget.

    In years to come people should know how lucky we are and if
    wasn’t for the war this activity may never have been stopped.Of course in years to come if there is
    no evidence left. People will deny it ever happened!

    Comment by NIgel — March 5, 2012 @ 7:52 am

    • It was “skeptic” who wrote that the “memorials” at Bergen-Belsen should be bombed, not that the “site” should be bombed. There is nothing left of the “site” of the Bergen-Belsen camp because it had to be burned down to stop the typhus epidemic. The history of Bergen-Belsen has unfortunately been forgotten. It has been turned into a “death camp” and some of the survivors are now out on the lecture circuit telling 5th graders that there was a gas chamber at Bergen-Belsen and that children were burned alive in the cremations ovens. When I visited Bergen-Belsen, I was the only person there who was not a German citizen. The only people there were young German students who are being indoctrinated in worship of the Jews. They were not being educated in the true history of Bergen-Belsen, which was an exchange camp. They were not being told about the typhus epidemic in the camp.

      Comment by furtherglory — March 5, 2012 @ 9:34 am

  3. I am sorry for offtopic, but i don´t know how to report errors, I tried to send an email, but no response so far so I place it here.

    There is an error with photo of gas chamber at the end of this article
    http://www.scrapbookpages.com/auschwitzscrapbook/history/articles/Liberation3.html

    This photo is mirrored, the entrance on the right actually lead to oven room, try to flip it and everything will be ok. The door in background is also in wrong mirrored direction.

    The same error on USHMM
    http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/media_ph.php?ModuleId=10005220&MediaId=670

    No way this photo is from January 1945 after liberation, according to officials, the entrance to oven room was pierced through the wall after the war propably in 1947. Also, the walls which divided alleged gas chamber to four separate rooms were torn down as well after the war in later years. This photo is not from liberation, is clearly from much later years, when the alleged chamber was converted for museum purposes.

    It looks like another false information from USHMM.

    Here is an interview with Elie Wiesel dated March 18 1945
    http://www.scrapbookpages.com/Buchenwald/Atrocities3A.html

    Other sources date this interview to 1985, which is supported by the fact, that Buchenwald was liberated on April 11 1945, so almost a month after the interview took place. And also not completely sure, but this Elie Wiesel was unknown until 50´s or 60´s

    Sorry for offtopic and thanks for your great work with providing other with lot of information.

    Comment by Bob — December 31, 2011 @ 8:20 am

    • You are correct that the date is wrong on the page about Buchenwald Atrocities. I have changed the date to 1985, and I will upload the change as soon as I can. Thanks for catching this typographical error. With regard to the black and white photo, that requires a long explanation, so I will write a new post about it.

      Comment by furtherglory — December 31, 2011 @ 8:44 am

  4. I hope all these memorials will be bombed to oblivion someday.

    Comment by Skeptic — December 30, 2011 @ 4:48 pm

  5. “Although Bergen-Belsen had no gas chambers, thousands were gassed in improvised shower rooms.”

    – The New Encyclopædia Britannica (2002), Volume 6. Page 981
    http://winstonsmithministryoftruth.blogspot.com/2011/11/encyclopdia-britannica-says-1000s.html

    Comment by Black Rabbit — December 30, 2011 @ 4:36 pm


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