Scrapbookpages Blog

June 27, 2015

The British version of what happened at Bergen Belsen

I am blogging today about a news article, which I read this morning on the Internet: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/queen-elizabeth-II/11701738/The-survivor-and-the-liberator-Two-tales-of-the-horror-at-Bergen-Belsen.html

The news article begins with this quote:

The survivor and the liberator: Two tales of the horror at Bergen-Belsen
As The Queen visits 70 years on, the notorious Nazi concentration camp is still in the minds of Captain Eric Brown and Rudi Oppenheimer

Captain Eric Brown was a British soldier, who was apparently in charge of the Belsen camp, after the camp was VOLUNTARILY turned over to the British because there was a typhus epidemic in the camp.

This quote is from the news article:

Begin quote

For Captain Eric Brown, it is the stench of Bergen-Belsen that remains with him 70 years on.

Capt Brown, 96, was already a legendary Royal Navy test pilot in 1945, and was at an airfield near Hanover assessing captured German aircraft the day before Belsen was liberated by [being voluntarily turned over to] the British.

Fluent in German, he [Captain Brown] was asked if he could spare just one day to help interrogate the commandant of the camp, SS Hauptsturmfuhrer Josef Kramer, and his assistant Irma Grese, both of whom were later hanged for war crimes.

He [Captain Brown] said: “When we arrived the camp guards were all lined up and they were handed over to us and in we went. While the brigadier went to find Kramer and Grese, I had a wander round. [Kramer and Grese had met the British at the gate into the camp and had volunteered their help. They had been immediately arrested and thrown into the camp prison.]

End quote

Joseph Kramer was immeditely arrested after he met the British at the gate and offered is help

Joseph Kramer was immediately arrested after he met the British at the gate and offered his help

Sign at the gate into Bergen Belsen warned that there was a typhus epidemic

Sign at the gate into Bergen Belsen warned that there was a typhus epidemic

The quote from the article continues with this statement by Eric Brown:

Begin quote

Then I went to the interrogation. Kramer was a stocky chap, he looked like a bully boy. He had come from Auschwitz, where his job had been to separate new arrivals into the ones that were to be worked to death and the ones that went straight to the gas chambers. [and you thought that it was Dr. Josef Mengele who decided who would be worked to death and who would die in the chamber.]

“I asked him [Kramer] if he would do it again if he had his time over again, and to my astonishment he said yes. [Did Kramer mean that he would serve his country, if he had to do it over again, or did he mean that he would send Jews to the gas chamber at Bergen-Belsen if he had it to do over again.]

“Irma Grese was probably the worst human being I have ever encountered. She also worked at Auschwitz and I asked her the same question I had asked Kramer. She refused to answer, but I kept asking it, and after I’d asked her four or five times she suddenly leapt to her feet, cried “Heil Hitler!” sat down and refused to answer any more questions.” [Bad Irma! She refused to incriminate herself.]

End quote

Josef Kramer looked like a

Josef Kramer looked like a “bully boy” but was probably not a bully

Irma Grese after she was capured by the British when she volunteered to help

Irma Grese after she was captured by the British when she volunteered to help

Few people would challenge a man who looked like Josef Kramer. I strongly suspect that he was not a “bully boy.”

On my scrapbookpages website, I wrote extensively about Bergen-Belsen.  On this page, I wrote about the camp being turned over to the British: http://www.scrapbookpages.com/BergenBelsen/BergenBelsen05.html