Scrapbookpages Blog

December 31, 2014

“unsuspecting British troops” found Bergen-Belsen in the Spring of 1945

Filed under: Germany, Holocaust, World War II — Tags: , , — furtherglory @ 2:12 pm

After visiting the Bergen-Belsen Memorial Site several years ago, I wrote about the camp on my website at http://www.scrapbookpages.com/BergenBelsen/ConcentrationCamp.html

Apparently, I was completely wrong in what I wrote on my website.  The YouTube video tells the truth about what really happened.

The video above starts off by saying that “unsuspecting British troops” found the Belsen camp on a “spring morning.”  It seems that the Germans had not made an agreement with the British to turn the camp over to them, as I reported on my website.

The early part of the video shows a photo of a fence, obviously taken at Auschwitz-Birkenau, which we are led to believe was taken at Belsen.  Then we see one of the fake guard towers that were put up by the Allies at Birkenau after the camp was no longer in operation.

At 1:23 minutes into the video, the true story the lies begin:  According to the video, the truth is that there were no negotiations between the Germans and the British to turn the camp over to the British.  No, what really happened is that a lone German soldier came out of the camp, and met the “unsuspecting” British troops, who knew nothing about the Belsen camp up to this point.

Photo of the children in Bergen-Belsen who came out to meet the British "liberators" of the camp

Children in Bergen-Belsen camp who came out to meet the British “liberators.”  (click on photo to enlarge)

This quote is from my website page about the Belsen camp, which was voluntarily turned over to the British:

The Bergen-Belsen concentration camp was voluntarily turned over to the Allied 21st Army Group, a combined British-Canadian unit, on April 15, 1945 by Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler, the man who was in charge of all the concentration camps. Bergen-Belsen was in the middle of the war zone where British and German troops were fighting in the last days of World War II and there was a danger that the typhus epidemic in the camp would spread to the troops on both sides.

[…]

Hungarian soldiers in the Germany Army, who had been sent to keep order while the camp was transferred to the British, were in fact shot by the British, according to British soldiers who participated in the liberation.

Negotiations for the transfer of the Bergen-Belsen camp to the British took several days. Then on the night of April 12, 1945, a cease-fire agreement was signed between the local German Military Commander and the British Chief of Staff, Brigadier General Taylor-Balfour, according to Eberhard Kolb in his book, “Bergen-Belsen from 1943 to 1945.”

An area of 48 square kilometers around Bergen-Belsen was declared a neutral zone. The neutral zone was 8 kilometers long and 6 kilometers wide. Until British troops could take over, the agreement specified that the camp would be guarded by a unit of Hungarian soldiers and soldiers from the German Wehrmacht (the regular army as opposed to the SS). They were assured that they would be allowed free return passage to the German lines within six days after the British arrived. The SS soldiers who made up the staff of the camp were to remain at their posts and carry on their duties until the British arrived to take over. There was no specific stipulation in the agreement about what their fate would be, according to Eberhard Kolb.

On the afternoon of Sunday, April 15th, British soldiers arrived at the German Army training garrison, next door to the concentration camp, and the transfer of the neutral territory of the Bergen-Belsen camp was made. A short time later, a group of British officers entered the concentration camp, which was right next to the garrison, although the distance by road was about 1.5 kilometers.

Hungarian soldiers in the Germany Army, who had been sent to keep order while the camp was transferred to the British, were in fact shot by the British, according to British soldiers who participated in the liberation.

Negotiations for the transfer of the Bergen-Belsen camp to the British took several days. Then on the night of April 12, 1945, a cease-fire agreement was signed between the local German Military Commander and the British Chief of Staff, Brigadier General Taylor-Balfour, according to Eberhard Kolb in his book, “Bergen-Belsen from 1943 to 1945.”

An area of 48 square kilometers around Bergen-Belsen was declared a neutral zone. The neutral zone was 8 kilometers long and 6 kilometers wide. Until British troops could take over, the agreement specified that the camp would be guarded by a unit of Hungarian soldiers and soldiers from the German Wehrmacht (the regular army as opposed to the SS). They were assured that they would be allowed free return passage to the German lines within six days after the British arrived. The SS soldiers who made up the staff of the camp were to remain at their posts and carry on their duties until the British arrived to take over. There was no specific stipulation in the agreement about what their fate would be, according to Eberhard Kolb.

On the afternoon of Sunday, April 15th, British soldiers arrived at the German Army training garrison, next door to the concentration camp, and the transfer of the neutral territory of the Bergen-Belsen camp was made. A short time later, a group of British officers entered the concentration camp, which was right next to the garrison, although the distance by road was about 1.5 kilometers.

According to Michael Berenbaum in his book “The World Must Know,” Commandant Josef Kramer greeted British officer Derrick Sington at the entrance to the camp, wearing a fresh uniform. Berenbaum wrote that Kramer expressed his desire for an orderly transition and his hopes of collaborating with British. He dealt with them as equals, one officer to another, even offering advice as to how to deal with the “unpleasant situation.” That same day, Commandant Kramer was arrested by the British; five months later he was brought before a British Military Tribunal as a war criminal.

On April 8, 1945, around 25,000 to 30,000 prisoners had arrived at Bergen-Belsen from other concentration camps in the Neuengamme area. On that date, there were over 60,000 prisoners in the camp and some had to be housed in the barracks of the adjacent Army Training Center. The Geneva Convention specified that civilian prisoners were to be evacuated from a war zone, and up until this time, the Nazi concentration camps had been either evacuated or abandoned as the war progressed. But because of the typhus epidemic, it was impossible to evacuate all the prisoners from Bergen-Belsen. The camp could not be abandoned for fear that the epidemic would spread to the soldiers of both sides.

At 2:13 minutes into the video, a British officer named Bob  Daniels tells what really happened when the British first arrived at Belsen.  Daniels saw “a desperate looking man [Commandant Joseph Kramer] “getting rid of reams of paper.”  According to Bob Daniels, there was “total fear among every single German there.  “They realized that we had arrived.”

The story about Joseph Kramer “getting rid of reams of paper” could be a reference to the number of deaths in the Belsen camp and the small number of death certificates.  I previously blogged about this at https://furtherglory.wordpress.com/2011/01/22/50000-deaths-at-bergen-belsen-but-only-6851-death-certificates-issued/

Later on, in the video, we learn that even while the camp was being liberated by the British, the Germans went on killing.  At 4:27 minutes into the video we learn that “even while the camp was being liberated, the Germans kept on killing the prisoners.”  At 4:40 minutes into the video, we learn that “the SS youth” [Hitlerjungend] were killing the prisoners, “shooting them in the balls, and the women in the crotch.”

Moving right along, we learn at 5:38 minutes, what kind of people were sent to Bergen-Belsen.  Belsen was NOT an  exchange camp for Jews.  No-Oh.  It was a camp for “Communists, trade unionists, homosexuals, priests and Jews”; it was “one of the earliest work camps set up in 1933.”  In other words, this video describes the Dachau camp, not Belsen.

The narrator goes on the say that Belsen had the words “Arbeit macht Frei” over the gate.  Belsen did not have this sign on the gate because it was NOT a “work camp,” but an EXCHANGE CAMP.  The words “exchange camp” are never spoken in  this video.

A couple of the photos in the video look like photos taken at the liberation of the Wöbbelin camp but are purported to be prisoners at Belsen.