Stalag XIC (311) and KZ Bergen-Belsen, A History From 1935
In its 10 year existence under National Socialist control Bergen-Belsen was used to house construction workers, Prisoners of War, exchange prisoners and finally evacuees from Concentration Camps across Europe. Approximately 70000 of the prisoners interned there died, mainly through neglect of the administration, their graphic images unleashed upon the world when the British Army liberated the camp on 15 April 1945.
Unlike other camps such as Auschwitz, Dachau, Buchenwald etc there is very little remaining of the original structures, most of them either burnt to the ground in May 1945 or destroyed/sold off in the early 1950's. Any visitor to the Gedenkstätte therefore has to rely upon their own imagination and interpretation of available information in order to picture the camp and events in their mind.
With the introduction of the internet many information sources for Bergen-Belsen have sprung up, many of which provide a valuable contribution although there are some that provide inaccurate and often twisted versions of events, in turn affecting visitors preconceptions. The Gedenkstätte itself has gone a long way to address this issue opening a new and much improved Documentation Centre in late October 2007.
In turn I have provided a supplement to this mountain of information by presenting a mainly visual, sometimes graphic account from my research over the years. Although a well read enthusiast, I am neither an academic nor historian. All material used has been positively identified as that from Bergen-Belsen (unless otherwise stated) and photographs have not been 'selectively' cropped, manipulated, added to or digitally amended other than to provide clarity for the viewer.
Finally, my view on this historical event is entirely non-ideological, my sole motivator being my firm belief in 'information not shared is lost'.
WARNING: This site contains graphic imagery that may be deemed offensive by some viewers.