Bergen-Belsen was a Nazi concentration camp in northwestern Germany, southwest of the town of Bergen.
In April 1943, the SS(Secret Police- police that Hitler put directly under him) took over part of the Bergen-Belsen POW(Prisoner of War)camp and established a concentration camp for Jewish hostages. These prisoners were to be exchanged for Germans interned abroad
From spring 1944, the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp also served as a camp for prisoners from other camps who were no longer able to work.
From August 1944, female prisoners from Auschwitz were transported to Bergen-Belsen to be transferred to other concentration camps as slave labourers.
From October 1944, Bergen-Belsen became the destination for evacuation transports from concentration camps near the front lines.
On 15 April 1945, 55,000 prisoners were liberated by British troops.
More than 50,000 prisoners had died in Bergen-Belsen due to the insufficient food and medical care and the inhuman treatment they received at the hands of the SS.
Belsen Memorial http://www.scrapbookpages.com/bergenbelsen/BergenBelsen01.html
This was what a survivor said when British armies liberated people in the Bergen Belsen camp : Belsen was in the beginning bearable and we had bunks to sleep on, and a small amount of soup and bread. But as the camp got fuller, our group and many others were given barracks to hold about seven hundred lying on the floor without blankets and without food or anything. It was a pitiful scene as the camp was attacked by lice and most of the people had typhus . Many people talk about Auschwitz -- it was a horrible camp. But Belsen, no words can describe it ... From my experience and suffering, Belsen was the worst.
• Belsen's most famous inmate was doubtless Anne Frank, who had been evacuated from Auschwitz in late October 1944. She and her sister succumbed to typhus in March 1945, three or four weeks before liberation.
Institute for Historical Review
• POW Camp – Concentrated camp
Bergen Belsen was originally established as a POW camp but then it was later turned into a concentration camp. A Prisoner of War camp was a place that captured soldiers from the other side were kept. A concentration camp was where civilians that were considered dangerous or undesirable were kept to isolate them from the rest of the population. POW camps were inspected by the Red Cross and the rules were set by the Geneva Convention. Concentration camps had no rules on the treatment of the people there and millions were killed in them.
Read more: http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_is_the_difference_between_a_POW_camp_and_a_Concentration_camp#ixzz1H0zL3koc
• Bergen Belsen was the first death camp entered by Western allies.
So here’s an interview of a 1995 Bergen Belsen camp, Fela Warschau Describes the Liberation by British forces at Bergen-Belsen.
We got weaker every day because there was nothing to eat. Finally, the last day when we had nothing, I could barely drag myself. I said to my sister, "I'm going into the barrack, and I'm going to lie down and just die in there. I do not want to die and people should just step over me like others do."
. They followed me. We all lie down there and just almost said goodbye to life. One of our friends --she was even younger than I was, the youngest --she was always searching, trying to find a way. So she said she has to take the last look outside and see what's going on.
. When she came back she said to me, "There's something funny going out there. People are running all over the place" and it's, it's unusual. It's not what usually happen. And I told her to just lay down and die in peace. She must be hallucinating. She insisted, so my sister walked out with her. When my sister came back, I don't know with what strength she came back, grabbed me by my arm, and she says, "Get up, get up. Guess what, everybody's running, and the gates are open.
. There's a man sitting, is it a tank or whatever" --we couldn't distinguish at that time one thing from the other-- "he is speaking through a loudspeaker. His words are being translated. I think we were liberated." When I got up and walked outside, my eyes couldn't comprehend. It just didn't register. It's unbelievable. I couldn't believe this was really true, so I said to my sister that she has to grab me by my arm and do something physical so I realize I am really alive and we were liberated. It was the English army that liberated us.
• Camp officials even traded important prisoners, including Jews, in exchange for money from different governments.
• The worst killer was typhus, a severe disease that claimed many lives.
• Death rate: 300 a day
Peter Coombs, British soldier, May 4, 1945 letter to his wife after liberation of Bergen-Belsen.
"The fact is that all these were once clean-living and sane and certainly not the type to do harm to the Nazis. They are Jews and are dying now at the rate of three hundred a day. They must die and nothing can save them - their end is inescapable, they are too far gone now to be brought back to life. I saw their corpses lying near their hovels, for they crawl or totter out into the sunlight to die. I watched them make their last feeble journeys, and even as I watched they died."
• Women guards in Bergen Belsen concentration camps were extremely obnoxious. One of the youngest woman guards there even go around slapping women for no reason and she punished them by cancelling their bread and meals. So basically her job was to bully everyone. (This was surprising for me cause it’s so unreasonable and I just can’t understand why they would do stuff like that)
These are the women guards, as you can see they were well-fed some were even overweight
• There were more than 60,000 inmates- dead and alive- found at Bergen- Belsen when it was liberated by the British in April 1945. Many victims died because of severe starvation and illness.
This is a picture of emaciated bodies of dead prisoners at the Bergen-Belsen horror camp http://www.scrapbookpages.com/bergenbelsen/OldPhotos/EmaciatedBodies.jpg
This is what the place look like now. It had became a memorial place called Bergen-
Belsen Memorial http://www.scrapbookpages.com/bergenbelsen/BergenBelsen01.html
These were the children that were still alive at the Bergen Belsen Liberation.
Two things that we still want to know
• The British Army first used concentration camps against the Boers of South Africa during the Boer War. And they were the country who liberated the concentration camp and the Bergen Belsen was the fist one that was freed.
• Were there any reasons or standards for Hitler to believe in German Superiority? The Nazi’s had solders that were not Germans Hitler had soldiers originated from Africa, Arab and Asia. Did Hitler actually care about the German Superiority?
Relating to real life
Foot and mouth disease is a infectious disease that affects animals. The virus causes a high fever for 2 or 3 days followed by blisters inside the mouth and on the feet that may rapture and cause lameness. Foot and mouth disease of livestock broke out on November in Korea last year. People buried the pigs alive because they have disease on them. And this is one of example that we can relate it into holocaust. Because when we think of the food pyramid, we consider ourselves being on the top and so did Hitler in concentration camps (Nazi). We killed pigs and cows like Hitler tortured Jews. People in Korea had to killed them by euthanasia before the disease spreads but instead what the Korean did was burying them underground when they were still alive. So basically we are causing harms to ourself by doing that.
In conclusion, Bergen Belsen was the most horrifying concentration camp. Many people died and suffer severely from that and for the survivors, this was probably the worst experience they've had and it will definitely affect them in their lifetime.
We could never undenstand why and what made hitler and Nazi to do stuff like that, because it is obviously wrong.