Bergen-Belsen

Pricilla Madera

Overview

Bergen-Belsen was a nazi concentration camp. It was not a death camp but many people or prisoners died there during the camp. Located in the small towns of bergen and Belsen .It was originally a prisoner war camp but in 1943 parts of it started becoming a concentration camp. After the whole camp was given over to the SS it was built into three main components with were the:

"POW (prisoners of war) camp" which went on from 1940-Jan 1945.

The"residence camp" started around April 1943 to April 1945, it was composed of 4 sub camps.

The "prisoners camp" went on since 1943-April 194, also had many more sub camps.

Overall Bergen-Belsen consisted of Jews,POW's , political prisoners, roman gypsies, "asocial" criminals, Jehovah witnesses, and homosexuals.

How Bergen-Belsen became a concentration camp

The camp was first being ran by SS; Hauptsturmfűhrer Adolf Hass. But in 1944 Hass was replaced by SS; Hauptsturmfűhrer Josef Kramer. Kramer had past experience with concentration camp, he had been involved in concentration camps since 1934 and before Bergen Belsen Kramer was at Auschwitz-Birkenau. While he was in Bergen Belsen he was nicknamed; "beast" because of the way he would kill prisoner or let them starve. One guy who survived wrote “Kramer lost his calm. A strange gleam lurked in his small eyes, and he worked like a madman. I saw him throw himself at one unfortunate woman and with a single stroke of his truncheon shatter her skull.” In 1943 is when Bergen Belsen was officially a concentration camp. it was a camp mainly for Jews. The prisoners were sectioned off for their beliefs. This camp was not mainly forced labor but in 1944 the situation changed because other prisoners were transfored, there were around 7,300 prisoner transferred to Bergen-Belsen.

Living In Bergen-Belsen

During the camp, approximately 50,000 people died, including Anne Frank who kept a diary about everything she lived during the holocaust her sister Margot also died in that camp with her on March 1945. Most of the victims were Jews. During July 7, 1943 through September , 1943 the SS was transporting and transferring more and more Jews into the camp, because if this the SS decides to make more sections within the camp. From October 1943 through February 1944 the SS released 1,800 prisoner that were non Jews to Auschwitz. Jews with passports were transferred to different sections within the camp. Sanitation was not good at all, very few water faucets for the thousands of people imprisoned in the camp. With all the overcrowding there was so much lack of water, food, and shelter this led to many illnesses including typhus, tuberculosis, typhoid fever, and dysentery. Thousands of prisoners died during the first months of 1945 due to these diseases and illnesses. On April 15 1945 the camp was liberated but British forces found about 60,000 prisoners in the camp but most of them were seriously ill. Thousands of corpses lie all over the camp. More than 13,000 prisoners did not make it after being liberated because of their illness

Anne Frank In Bergen-Belsen

Anne and her sister Margot and her mother are in Auschwitz working for long hours adn carrying heavy things. anyone who was sick in that camp would be killed in the gas chambers. On October of 1944 Anne and Margot have to leave Auschwitz because the Nazis wanted to transfer every prisoner worker to Germany that were still able to work, her mother gets left behind and soon died of exhaustion and illness. At that time Anne and Margot were in Bergen-Belsen together. The conditions at Bergen-belsen become even worse. The sisters got horribly ill, Margot dies first in march 1945. Anne dies a few days later, the camp was liberated only a few weeks after.

Liberation

On April 15 1945, British troops liberate the German concentration camp, Bergen-Belsen. Inside the camp, the soldiers were horrified of all the rotting corpses they found and more starving people over crowding the dead ones. This camp was the first one to be liberated by the British. Huge graves were dug up to hold 5,000 corpses at a time. Brigadier Llewellyn Glyn-Hughes was in charge of cleaning up the camp, he put many workers to help. 28,00 out of the 38,500 in the camp died after and before liberation. The whole camp was burned down because of the typhus disease spreading. The last hut was burned down on May 21, 1945. On December 1945 the leader of the camp Josef Kramer was hanged beacuse he was found guilty at Luneberg of war crimes. The camp is now a landscaped park.