Remembering Auschwitz: 75 years since camp's liberation
In 1955 stationed at Minden, a group of us had to go to Hamburg army business, on the way back wè passed through the village Belsen Bergen, as it was lunch time we stopped at the local Gasthaus for ein bier und bratwurst, during a rather uncomfortable stop, the village name was mentioned and the immediate reply was we did not know what was going on etc. Àfter lunch we decided to go and take a look ... it was a beautiful day the birds were singing, we reached what must have been an entrance, went in and somehow it went cold, the birds stopped singing and there was a strange smell, it is all still in my memory. We left immediately and no one said a thing until we got back to MindenThe liberation of Belsen on April 15th, and especially the images and descriptions which appeared in the newspapers a few days later, made an immense impression on everyone, not least on me. I remember it so well and have never forgotten. For my parents and other grown-ups, I imagine that none of the evils which they had long suspected matched up at all to the reality when it finally hit them.
Eight months later, in December 1945 and long after it had been cleared up, my father saw the camp when he was in Northern Germany. He was photographed outside it. That image has been lost but this is the one he took of his comrade at the same time. The buildings behind the barbed wire are substantial. They are not at all temporary as one might expect from the contemporary newsreels and newspaper images: rather they are permanent and, as my father later noted in the photograph album, designed to be used for many generations to come.
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AlanThe post 66# by Bob is very interesting. I find photographs of those places - there were very many besides the more well known place names - quite distressing. To visit there would harrowing to say the least.