zondag 26 april 2015
70 years after liberation, hell on Earth of Bergen-Belsen remembered
Germany’s president paid tribute to Britain for liberating the Nazi concentration camp Bergen-Belsen 70 years ago and restoring “humanity” to the country, at a ceremony Sunday attended by approximately 2,000 people, including about 70 survivors, under gray, overcast skies and pouring rain.
More than 50,000 Jewish deportees from across Europe lost their lives at the camp in western Germany between 1941 and 1945, including the young Jewish diarist Anne Frank, in addition to 20,000 prisoners of war.
President Joachim Gauck said British forces who freed the starving camp prisoners led by example during the subsequent Allied occupation.
He quoted Major Ben Barnett, one of the first British officers to reach the camp that spring, remarking on the unspeakable sights he encountered.
“The things I saw completely defy description. There are no words in the English language which can give a true impression of the ghastly horrors of this camp,” Barnett said.
The speakers recalled that Bergen-Belsen was hell on Earth even compared with the horrific conditions of other camps such as Auschwitz, and expressed their gratitude toward the British troops who liberated them.
Bevrijding kamp Anne Frank herdacht
A memorial to Anne Frank and her sister Margot Frank is at Bergen-Belsen.