Featured Image: Entry at Bergen-Belsen Warning of Typhus, 1945.
14,000 Internees Die After British Occupation
April 15, 1945, after mutual negotiations with German Officers, British troops apparently “liberated” (by occupation) the Bergen-Belsen transit and sick camp.
The British troops who took over administration of the Belsen camp, three weeks before the official end of the war, were shocked by the many unburied corpses and dying inmates they encountered. Horrific photos and films of the camp’s emaciated corpses and mortally sick inmates, were quickly circulated around the western nations.
Within weeks, the British military occupation newspaper proclaimed to the world:
“The story of that greatest of all exhibitions of ‘man’s inhumanity to man’ which was Belsen Concentration Camp is known throughout the world.”
The narrative that accompanied the horrid imagery, was, as it is today, a gross distortion of the camp’s true history.
The world was aghast with the propaganda narration of the Glorious Allies, which accompanied the imagery expounded around the world. The first repeated imagery drilled into the eyes of naive westerners in their quiet, war-free lands, were initially from only two camps; Bergen-Belsen and Nordhausen – the latter a hospital camp, purely for the sick and, predominantly, did not accommodate Jews.
Unlike Bergen-Belsen, one hundred percent of the deaths at Nordhausen, in the imagery (left), in fact, died as a Direct Result of Allied aerial warfare; bombing the hospital camp and adjacent town full of innocent civilians, into rubble – 3/4 of the town was flattened, killing 8,800 people and 3 – 4,000 sick inmates in the hospital camp – April 3rd & 4th, 1945. Whereas, the Bergen-Belsen deaths were an Indirect Result of the same allied aerial warfare. However, the deaths at both camps (and all others), have been blamed on Evil Germans and their alleged systematic Extermination Policy, via allied war propaganda – the victors version of events!
Any atrocity propaganda disseminated by the allies thereafter, was accepted without question, as the stage of horror and German guilt had already been set in the minds of the unsuspecting public, by the misrepresentation of Belsen and Nordhausen. This also misdirected any attention away from questioning the war crimes, crimes against humanity and sadistic conduct of the allies, or, it colloquially justified it when discovered.
This version of events, was a successful attempt at ensuring that public opinion (published opinion) would naively accept that the sacrifice of their own sons and daughters, was worthy for a noble cause in the pursuit of world peace for humanity… a peace the war-mongering victors are still yet to find ever since, as they seek out and bomb one alleged Evil Enemy after another, in a whirl-wind of consecutive geopolitical aims.
The first camp in question, concerning the ghastly images that were captured by Allied photographers at Bergen-Belsen in mid-April 1945 – widely reproduced ever since – have greatly contributed to the camp’s reputation as a notorious systematic extermination center. However, in actuality, the dead of Bergen-Belsen were, above all, unfortunate victims of war and its turmoil. It can be verifiably argued that the effects created by the Allied destruction of the entire European theatre – through the terrorism of their ‘Obliteration Bombing‘ policy, created the very conditions that led to their deaths… war conditions, not Extermination Policy – as the British enacted and, with the joint-coordination of the U.S., systematically implemented in their genocidal campaign upon Germany.
Belsen served as a Transitional Camp, where more than 9,000 Jews with citizenship papers or passports for Latin American countries, entry visas for Palestine, or other documents making them eligible for emigration, arrived at Bergen-Belsen in late 1943 and 1944, from Poland, France, Holland and other parts of Europe. During the final months of the war, several groups of these emigre’s were transported from Axis-occupied Europe. German authorities transferred several hundred to neutral Switzerland and, at least one group of 222 Jewish internees was transferred from Belsen to British-Mandate Palestine.
Up until late 1944, conditions were generally better than in other camps. Marika Abrams, a Jewish woman from Hungary, was transferred from Auschwitz in 1944 and her testimony confirms the hygienic and routine conditions at Belsen, even that late in the war. Years later she recalled just her arrival at Belsen;
“…We were each given two blankets and a dish. There was fresh running water and latrines….The conditions were so superior to Auschwitz, we felt we were practically in a sanitarium.”
Inmates received three meals a day. Coffee and bread were served in the morning and evening, with cheese and sausage when available. The main mid-day meal consisted of one litre of vegetable stew and bread. Families also lived together, otherwise, in keeping with the morality of the day, men and women were housed in separate barracks and for their safety from other potentially dangerous inmates. This was not just ethical, but due to the NSDAP’s strict adherence to the Third Geneva Convention, which Germany was not only signatory to since 1929, but it was Ratified by Hitler in February 1934.
Part I: Article III
“Prisoners of war are entitled to respect for their persons and honour. Women shall be treated with all consideration due to their sex.”
During the final months of the war, tens of thousands of refugees were evacuated west to Belsen from Auschwitz and other eastern camps, that were either deteriorating due to war conditions or were increasingly threatened by the advancing Jewish-Bolsheviks. German officials of the camps gave the internees the choice to stay or leave with them as they evacuated… a great majority voluntarily left with German officials, to avoid the encroaching Red Army, while those too sick to travel remained (pursuant to Part III: Article IX).
Belsen became severely overcrowded as the number of inmates increased from 15,000 in December 1944, to 42,000 at the beginning of March 1945, while it rapidly increased to more than 50,000, less than one month later… many bringing with them disease infested lice, due to the conditions of the war-torn east.
So catastrophic had conditions become during the final months of the war, that about a third of the prisoners evacuated to Belsen in February and March 1945, perished during the journey and were dead on arrival, as well as German officials… many also being shot up by Allied fighter planes, which strafed anything and anyone that moved, even trainloads full of people and camp supplies.
As order broke down across Europe during those chaotic final months of the war, regular deliveries of food and medicine to the camp stopped. Foraging trucks were sent out to scrounge up whatever supplies of bread, potatoes and turnips that were available in nearby towns, trying to evade Allied strafing during the task… often not returning.
Disease was kept under control by routinely disinfecting all new arrivals – pursuant to Part II: Article XIII of the Third Geneva Convention, in order to “Prevent Epidemics”. But in early February 1945, a large transport of infected Hungarian transports was admitted while the disinfection facility was out of order. As a result, typhus broke out and quickly spread beyond control.
Commandant Josef Kramer quarantined the camp in an effort to save lives, but SS Camp Administration headquarters in Berlin – unaware of how extreme conditions had become – insisted that Belsen be kept open to receive still more evacuees arriving from the East.
The worst killer was typhus, but typhoid fever and dysentery also claimed many lives. Aggravating the situation was a policy during the final months of transferring already sick inmates from other camps to Belsen, which was then officially designated a Sick or Convalescence Camp (Krankenlager). The sick women of Auschwitz, for example, were transferred to Belsen in three groups in November-December 1944.
[Disease being the cause of death, is confirmed by Dr. Charles Larson, leading Forensic Pathologist, Colonel of the U.S. Medical Corps, assigned to the Judge Advocate Generals Department and the only Forensic Pathologist in the entire European war theatre – see here]
When SS chief, Heinrich Himmler, learned of the typhus outbreak at Bergen-Belsen, he immediately issued an order to all appropriate officials requiring that;
“All medical means necessary to combat the epidemic should be employed… There can be no question of skimping either with doctors or medical supplies.”
[Above image: Removal of infested clothing, lice-infested hair removal and baths away from other internees, to help combat the Typhus Epidemic – Officers right]
However, the general breakdown of order that prevailed on Germany by this time, made it completely impossible to implement the command.
Kramer Reports a ‘Catastrophe’
In a March 1, 1945, letter to Gruppenfuhrer (General) Richard Glucks, head of the SS camp administration agency, Commandant Kramer reported in detail on the catastrophic situation that was amplifying in Bergen-Belsen, and pleaded for help:
[Right: Make-shift tents erected in desperate measures]
Supply: When I took over the camp, winter supplies for 1500 internees had been indented for; some had been received, but the greater part had not been delivered. This failure was due not only to difficulties of transport, but also to the fact that practically nothing is available in this area and all must be brought from outside the area …“If I had sufficient sleeping accommodation at my disposal, then the accommodation of the internees who have already arrived and of those still to come would appear more possible. In addition to this question a spotted fever and typhus epidemic has now begun, which increases in extent every day. The daily mortality rate, which was still in the region of 60-70 at the beginning of February, has in the meantime attained a daily average of 250-300 and will increase still further in view of the conditions which at present prevail.
For the last four days there has been no delivery [of food] from Hannover owing to interrupted communications, and I shall be compelled, if this state of affairs prevails till the end of the week, to fetch bread also by means of truck from Hannover. The trucks allotted to the local unit are in no way adequate for this work, and I am compelled to ask for at least three to four trucks and five to six trailers. When I once have here a means of towing, then I can send out the trailers into the surrounding area… The supply question must, without fail, be cleared up in the next few days. I ask you, Gruppenführer, for an allocation of transport…
State of Health: The incidence of disease is very high here in proportion to the number of internees. When you interviewed me on Dec. 1, 1944, at Oranienburg, you told me that Bergen-Belsen was to serve as a sick camp for all concentration camps in north Germany. The number of sick has greatly increased, particularly on account of the transports of internees that have arrived from the East in recent times – these transports have sometimes spent eight or fourteen days in open trucks…
The fight against spotted fever is made extremely difficult by the lack of means of disinfection. Due to constant use, the hot-air delousing machine is now in bad working order and sometimes fails for several days…
A catastrophe is taking place for which no one wishes to assume responsibility… Gruppenführer, I can assure you that from this end everything will be done to overcome the present crisis…
I am now asking you for your assistance as it lies in your power. In addition to the above-mentioned points I need here, before everything, accommodation facilities, beds, blankets, eating utensils – all for about 20,000 internees … I implore your help in overcoming this situation.”
These are not the words of a man purportedly keeping to so-called “Extermination Policy” rather, humane ethics and International Law. Kramer did everything in his power to reduce suffering and prevent death among the inmates, even appealing to the hard-pressed German army;
“I don’t know what else to do,” he told high-ranking army officers.
“I have reached the limit. Masses of people are dying. The drinking water supply has broken down. A trainload of food was destroyed by low-flying [Allied] war planes. Something must be done immediately.”
Working together with both Commandant Kramer and chief inmate representative Kuestermeier, Colonel Hanns Schmidt responded by arranging for the local volunteer fire department to provide water. He also saw to it that food supplies were brought to the camp from abandoned rail cars. Schmidt later recalled in regards to Kramer;
“…He worked with great dedication to improve conditions in the camp. For example, he rounded up horse drawn vehicles to bring food to the camp from rail cars that had been shot up.”
Kramer later explained to incredulous British military interrogators: “I was swamped…”
“The camp was not really inefficient before you [British and American forces] crossed the Rhine. There was running water, regular meals of a kind – I had to accept what food I was given for the camp and distribute it the best way I could. But then they suddenly began to send me trainloads of new evacuees from all over Germany. It was impossible to cope with them. I appealed for more staff, more food. I was told that this was impossible. I had to carry on with what I had.
Then as a last straw, the Allies bombed the electric plant that pumped our water. Loads of food were unable to reach the camp because of the Allied fighters. Then things really got out of hand. During the last six weeks I have been helpless. I did not even have sufficient staff to bury the dead, let alone segregate the sick… I tried to get medicines and food for the inmates and I failed. I was swamped. I may have been hated, but I was doing my duty.”
Kramer’s clear conscience is also suggested by the fact that he made no effort to save his life by fleeing, but instead calmly awaited and negotiated with British forces, naively confident of decent treatment.
Nor does this reconcile with the ‘Systematic German Killing Machine’ which we are told of, where Germans went to great lengths to conceal mass murder by burning bodies and documents of internees, as with Auschwitz – the purported proof being pivotal on, non-existent evidence?
When the Belsen Camp was eventually taken over by the Allies, he later stated, “I was quite satisfied that I had done all I possibly could, under the circumstances, to remedy the conditions in the camp.”
Right: Officers of the British 2nd Army and two Officers of the Wehrmacht, negotiate the agreement regarding the transfer of the neutral territory of the Belsen camp to the British Army, 12th April, 1945. Subsequently the 11th Armoured Division occupied the camp, 15 April, 1945. As British forces approached Bergen-Belsen, German authorities sought to turn over the camp to the British, so that it would not become a combat zone spreading disease and endangering the inmates further, or anybody else in the vicinity.
Two German officers presented themselves before the British outposts and explained that there were 9,000 sick in the camp and that all sanitation had failed. They proposed that the British should occupy the camp at once, as the responsibility was an international issue in the interests of health. In return for the delay caused by the truce, the Germans offered to surrender intact the bridges over the river Aller. After consideration, the British senior officer rejected the German proposals, saying it was necessary that the British should occupy an area of ten kilometers around the camp in order to be sure of keeping their troops and lines of communication away from the disease. After some time, it was peacefully transferred, with an agreement that “both British and German troops will make every effort to avoid battle in the area.”
Despite the obvious situation and conditions Bergen-Belsen was suffering, Commandant Kramer, who was vilified in the British and American press as “The Beast of Belsen” and “The Monster of Belsen,” was put on trial and then executed, along with chief physician, Dr. Fritz Klein, Irma Grese and other camp officials.
At his trial, Kramer’s defense attorney, Major T.C.M. Winwood, predicted:
“When the curtain finally rings down on this stage Josef Kramer will, in my submission, stand forth not as ‘The Beast of Belsen’ but as ‘The Scapegoat of Belsen’.”
In an “act of revenge,” the British [so-called] liberators, expelled the civilian German residents of the nearby town of Bergen, and then permitted camp inmates to loot the houses and buildings. Much of the town was also set on fire.
The obvious Typhus fear spreading Europe – as the Allies barbarous aerial campaign creating the diseased conditions – intensified, signs, posters and flyers were posted wherever possible, warning in concentrated areas.
HOWEVER, when the British took control of the camp, the new Allied administrators proved no more capable of mastering the chaos than the Germans had, despite all their assistance with quarantine teams, man power, hygiene and medical supplies, while not being hindered by war-planes, supplies and transports, as the German administration were.
The notorious Bergen-Belsen camp where – according to Court Historians – purportedly 50,000 – 100,000 inmates (although a maximum of 60,000 ever passed through) were supposedly murdered – it was actually, about 7,000 inmates who died during the period when the camp existed under German administration, from 1943 to 1945.
However, they died in the final months of the war as a result of disease and malnutrition – consequences of the allied carpet bombings and fighter planes shooting up everything that moved on road or rail, which had completely disrupted normal deliveries of medical supplies and food – not to mention creating the very conditions where the killer diseases thrived and exploded into epidemic proportions.
This was an expected catastrophe the Allies would have been quite well aware of, not only through their intercepts of German record transmissions (such as Josef Kramer’s to Gruppenfuhrer Richard Glucks, above) and all communications decoding of and by the Enigma machine, but also through their own historical experience of thousands dying from epidemic diseases in American concentration camps during their Civil War, thousands dying in the British concentration camps during the Boer War, the thousands of Philippino’s who died in American concentration camps during their Genocide of 3 million Philippino’s and, every war since then – WITHOUT EXCEPTION! – where war-time diseases had always claimed more lives than those lost in combat. In fact, the Typhus Epidemic from WWI had not been completely over-come by the onset of WWII and had actually been exasperated by the activities of the war.
In this instance, the Allies intentionally played on this expected suffering of war-time diseases, in the pursuit of a political narrative, amplifying it with more easily distributed, internationally coordinated, means of photographic sharing and publishing, than what was ever available before.
The ‘Human Laundry’ was created in a former barracks. There were 20 cleansing stations where internees were treated with delousing powder and their infected skin scrubbed clean. Units were brought in with protective sanitary clothing to deal with the sick and the dead, all German nurses and treating women were given white headdresses to prevent the spread of lice and, British Officers continued to treat those suspected to be not yet infected…
…despite this highly organised attempt at combating the war time disease, almost 14,000 internees died at Bergen-Belsen in the months following the British Occupation… twice as many than under German Administration!
The Memorial Sign that stands at Bergen-Belsen, attests to the post-British-occupation deaths, but somehow, they are still attributed to alleged ‘German Atrocities’?
Unless of course, the “Evil Germans” had effectively trained the typhus-ridden lice to ignore British command and to continue killing in their absence?
A further measure in attempt to overcome the Typhus Epidemic, was to destroy a certain number of the urine, dysentery and Typhus ridden barracks, by setting them on fire. Claimed now by the latter-day ‘Exterminationists’ that it was a poignant ceremony to delete the memory of purported ‘German Atrocities’ – a therapeutic exercise?
However, this narrative does not reconcile with the desperation for accommodations for the internees, or the fact that the majority of the facilities were still utilised and left untouched after British occupation.
From 1945 until 1950, when it was finally shut down, the British maintained Belsen as a camp for ‘Displaced Persons’ (DP’s). It mostly continued as a sick and transitional camp for emigrants, no differently than it had under German administration, but now, they were mostly directed to Palestine.
During this period it achieved new notoriety as a major European black market center. Many Jewish-Partisans who made their way to Belsen, used it as a place for organising training for the Jewish-insurgency in Palestine, the illegal smuggling to Palestine (Aliyah-Bet) and, using much of the unlimited U.S. Occupation Marks (courtesy of U.S. tax payers) and $3.7 billion UNRRA funding, for Zionist purposes. The “Uncrowned King” of Belsen’s 10,000 Jews was Yossl (Josef) Rosensaft, who amassed tremendous profits from the illegal trading in arms, art and diamonds – looted from the Germans – and, from Jewish sponsors. Rosensaft had been interned in various camps, including Auschwitz (more miraculous survival stories no doubt) before arriving at Belsen in early April 1945… He now turned his attention to demonising the British, who not only “Liberated” the camp he conducted his criminal business from, but who were the Mandate Government of Palestine… the very land the Jews sought to usurp for a ‘Jewish State’ without British oversight and, agitated against a restricted ‘Reservation’ as proferred by some NSDAP members.
With all his opining and rousing for a Jewish State in Palestine, Rosensaft decided to not live in Occupied Palestine himself, but lived and traveled between Switzerland, America and London, dying at the latter, leaving great debts for the ‘acquisition’ of the art and other unearned lavishness.
Just as the Germans had finished the same losing battle against Jewish-guerrilla warfare predominantly in the east, the English then had to turn their attention to British-Mandate Palestine and, fight a terrorist war there, against Jews themselves… which they also lost and, so too, are the Palestinians.
A Life-Saving warning Sign from German Camps:
“One Louse = Your Death”
N. Jones is a Writer, Researcher, Historian and Literary Critic.