The words on the stone at the entrance into the Bergen-Belsen Memorial Site give the dates that this area was used as a prison camp, first for Prisoners of War in 1940, then as an exchange camp in 1943, and then for sick prisoners in 1944.
It was not until December 2, 1944 that Bergen-Belsen became a concentration camp.
A news story about the Queen Elizabeth’s visit to Bergen-Belsen begins with this quote:
Bergen-Belsen was the only concentration camp to be liberated by the British, who arrived on April 15, 1945, to scenes that shocked the world thanks to the accounts of BBC war reporter Richard Dimbleby.
Oops! What the news article failed to mention is that the Germans had sent a man to contact the British, who were fighting on the battlefield nearby. The Germans came to beg the British to come to the camp because a typhus epidemic at the camp were out of control. The Germans asked the British to take over because they were losing the war and they could not handle the epidemic.
Yet, every article about Bergen-Belsen that you will ever read, and including every article that you won’t read, tells you that the British broke down the gates into the Belsen camp and saved the inmates in the nick of time before the Germans could kill them all.
The woman on the far right, in the photo above, is Anita Lasker-Wallfisch. I have written two previous blog posts about Anita Lasker-Wallfisch. https://furtherglory.wordpress.com/tag/anita-lasker-wallfisch/
This quote is from the news article:
Anita Lasker-Wallfisch a Jew born in Breslau in what is now Poland, was arrested by the Gestapo in 1942 because she was travelling with forged papers.
After spells in prison and in Auschwitz, she arrived in Belsen in October 1944.
Asked what it was like to live in Belsen, she said: “It was more like dying there, not living there.
“There was nothing, it was the end, there was no food, nothing. The only reason anyone survived was because the British came in time.
“When the British came it was a miracle, we thought we were dreaming, suddenly we heard an English voice.”
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 Brtish Zone”
My photo above shows the Jewish Monument, which was erected on the first anniversary of the camp liberation, 15 April 1946.
In the background is a modern building where visitors can spend time quietly reflecting on the tragedy which occurred in this spot.
The words on a note left in the House of Silence say: “It was horrible what was done to the people. Remember it. Peace is the only thing what I wish.”
The photo above shows a memorial stone for Chaim Herzog, president of Israel, who died April 17, 1997.
This is an honorary stone; Herzog is not buried at Bergen-Belsen. As a young intelligence officer from Palestine, serving in the British Army, Herzog was with the British troops that took over Bergen-Belsen.
His father was the Chief Rabbi of Ireland and later became the first Ashkenazi Rabbi of Israel. Herzog was present when Heinrich Himmler allegedly committed suicide after being captured by the British.
The news article did not mention whether the Queen paid her respects to Herzog.
The obelisk and wall in honor of the victims, shown in the photo above, was erected 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.
Queen Elizabeth paid homage to the British victims who are honored on the stone shown in the photo above.
The photo below shows her placing flowers at the British memorial at the obelisk.
I think that the Jews might complain that the Queen did not bow low enough to them on her trip to Belsen.