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February 22, 2012

What really happened at Bergen-Belsen? Can you say “typhus”?

Filed under: Germany, Holocaust, World War II — Tags: , , — furtherglory @ 9:30 am

Graph shows the number of deaths at Bergen-Belsen in the last 5 months of World War II

The photo above shows a graph that was displayed at Bergen-Belsen around fifty years ago. It shows that there were 350 deaths at Bergen-Belsen in December 1944; 800 to 1000 deaths in January 1945; 6,000 to 7,000 deaths in February 1945; 18,168 deaths in March 1945 and 18,365 deaths in April 1945.  What caused the number of deaths at Bergen-Belsen to increase so dramatically in the last months of World War II?  Daniel Jonah Goldhagen famously  wrote in his best-selling book entitled Hitler’s Willing Executioners: “Finally, the fidelity of the Germans to their genocidal enterprise was so great as seeming to defy comprehension. Their world was disintegrating around them, yet they persisted in genocidal killing until the end.”

I eagerly read Goldhagen’s boring book when it first came out in 1996.  I recall that he wrote that the so-called “death marches” out of the camps were done for the purpose of killing the Jews, but in his 468 page book, the word typhus is never mentioned. Bergen-Belsen was briefly mentioned on only one page.  (If books are ever burned in Germany again, his stupid book will be the first one to be thrown into the fire.)

Today, survivors of Bergen-Belsen, like Eva Olsson, go around telling innocent 10-year-old schoolchildren in American and Canada that there was a gas chamber at Bergen-Belsen and that children were burned alive when the Germans ran out of pellets for the gas chamber.  I previously blogged about Eva Olsson here.  Olsson herself had typhus while she was at Bergen-Belsen.  As most people in the world know, Anne Frank and her sister Margo both died of typhus in the camp.

Poster in the Bergen-Belsen museum in 2002 shows the burning of the camp

I took the photo above in the Bergen-Belsen museum in May 2002; it shows the British liberators of the camp burning down all the buildings in the camp, as this was the only way to stop the typhus epidemic in the camp.

You can read more about Bergen-Belsen here.

A Documentation Center and an exhibition on the history of the camp was first opened at Bergen-Belsen in 1966. A new permanent exhibition was opened in April 1990.

The photo below shows the Bergen-Belsen museum as it looked in 2002 when I visited the Memorial Site.  I did not see the graph shown in the photo above in the museum in May 2002.  On October 28, 2007, a new museum, devoted to the survivors, opened at Bergen-Belsen.

My photo of the Bergen-Belsen museum in May 2002

A survivor of Bergen-Belsen who was sick when the British liberated the camp

The photo above, which I took at the old Bergen-Belsen museum in 2002, shows a sick woman who is in the “Typhoid barracks.” Typhoid is usually spread by drinking contaminated water.  The water pump at Bergen-Belsen had been destroyed when the Allies bombed the camp near the end of the war. The British liberators pumped water out of a creek for the survivors when they took over the camp.

A poster in the Dachau Museum shows a survivor of Bergen-Belsen

I took the photo above inside the Dachau Museum in May 2003.  It shows a photo of a prisoner at Bergen-Belsen and the caption above the photo reads: “The murder of those unfit for work.”  I haven’t been back to Dachau since May 2007, so I don’t know if they are still showing this misleading photo to gullible American tourists. (There were no selections at either Dachau or Bergen-Belsen; prisoners who were unfit for work were not murdered at either of these camps.)

Photo of dying prisoner was taken at Bergen-Belsen, but shown at Dachau

The death statistics at Dachau were similar to those at Bergen Belsen because both camps had a typhus epidemic near the end of World War II.   Paul Berben, a prisoner in the camp, wrote a book entitled Dachau, the Official History 1933 – 1945, in which he stated that 2,888 prisoners had died at Dachau in January 1945; 3,977 prisoners had died in February; 3,668 had died in March and 2,625 had died in April, for a total of 13,158 in the first four months of 1945.

There were 31,951 deaths at the main Dachau camp during the 12 years that the camp was in existence, according to a report made by the International Tracing Service at Arolson, Germany in 1977. The Tracing Service is part of the International Red Cross. This report was based on death records meticulously kept by the Nazis.

The increase in the number of deaths at Dachau, in the last 4 months that the camp was in operation, was due to a typhus epidemic which got started in December 1944 when prisoners were “death marched” out of the camps in the East and brought to Germany.  Unfortunately, typhus was also brought from the camps in the East to Bergen-Belsen.


  1. If we take the original number of 43,673 and deduct 36,523, the number of people, who died in March-April alone, the number of death at Bergen-Belsen will be 7,150. This is pretty close to the Bad Arolsen official record of 6,851. The numbers are making sense now. The most of the people, who died in the last months of the war, were evacuees from other camps. Bergen-Belsen was surrendered to British on April 15, 1945. I am wondering, how many inmates have died after that date. Were there any death in May and June?

    Comment by Gasan — February 25, 2012 @ 8:49 am

    • According to information given at the Bergen-Belsen Memorial Site, there were 13,000 deaths after the camp was taken over by the British.

      Comment by furtherglory — February 25, 2012 @ 2:40 pm

  2. Further Glory,
    The chart you have presented shows the total number of death at least 43,673 in just five months. The official report completed at Office of Special Registry in Bad Arolsen, Germany shows only 6,851 as was 12/31/1983.

    Comment by Gasan — February 24, 2012 @ 6:43 pm

    • The number 6,851 is the number of DEATH CERTIFICATES. The prisoners were dying so fast in the epidemic that the staff couldn’t keep up with the records. There were 30,000 prisoners who arrived in the last few days before the camp was turned over to the British; these were prisoners who had been evacuated from other camps that were in the war zone. Finally, Bergen-Belsen itself was in the war zone and the camp had to be turned over to British soldiers who were fighting in the area. The mass graves at the camp show that there are more than 6,851 bodies buried there. Each of the mass graves has from 4,000 to 6,000 bodies.

      Comment by furtherglory — February 25, 2012 @ 8:18 am

  3. I ask that you stop misleading truth seekers with the eliewieselconstheworld site.

    It’s truly an embarrassment to revisionists.

    Elie Wiesel wrote the (fictional) book by Elie Wiesel.

    A site that denies this simple, indisputable fact, by a person who thinks Jews did 9/11 and believes Jews stole the identity of whites, who are the real Jews of the Bible is an embarrassment to revisionists who use the scientific method.

    Comment by Holocaust Denier — February 23, 2012 @ 2:28 am

    • You are commenting in the wrong place and addressing your comment to the wrong person. I am not the author of the “eliewieselconstheworld site.”

      Comment by furtherglory — February 23, 2012 @ 6:40 am

      • No, I am addressing this to you. Why promote a site that makes revisionists look that stupid?

        To deny that Elie Wiesel IS Elie Wiesel? That’s some psychadelic stuff.

        Comment by Holocaust Denier — February 24, 2012 @ 1:46 am

  4. “The photo above shows a graph that was displayed at Bergen-Belsen around fifty years ago.”

    Where did you get the photo from?

    Comment by The Black Rabbit of Inlé — February 22, 2012 @ 3:24 pm

    • A person who says that he visited the Bergen-Belsen Memorial Site “50 years ago” took a photo of this display which he says was in the museum at that time; he recently sent it to me in e-mail and gave me permission to use it. There were around 13,000 people who died at Bergen-Belsen AFTER the camp was “liberated.”

      Comment by furtherglory — February 23, 2012 @ 6:34 am

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