Bergen-Belsen was liberated by British troops on April 15, 1945. The soldiers who liberated the concentration camp were unprepared for what they witnessed.
In the last several months of WWII, the camp’s already scant resources were stretched further as waves of new prisoners were sent from camps closer to the war front. Overcrowding, terrible conditions, and a lack of food and water led to outbreaks of disease. Approximately 50,000 people died in the Bergen-Belsen camp complex, among them Anne Frank.
The Museum’s collection contains photos of the liberation of Bergen-Belsen. A few of these are shared in the slideshow below.
Liberation of Bergen-Belsen, inmates and British soldiers. Gift of Mathy Doval Mezey.
A female Bergen-Belsen prisoner is being loaded into a truck on a stretcher as soldiers around her stand watch. One wears a Red Cross armband.
Gift of Citrus County B'nai B'rith.
"A British soldier meets an English man who is an inmate [of Bergen-Belsen]. He is Louis Boneguer, born in London. He dropped by parachute in 1941, to work in the interior of Germany for the British, but was caught and interned in this camp." (British Army caption)
Gift of Mathy Doval Mezey
Adolf Weinberger (later Allen Weinberg) was born in Orlova, Czechoslovakia in 1926. The family was rounded up spring 1944 and sent to the Ungvar Ghetto; from there they were deported to Birkenau. From Auschwitz, Adolf was transferred to several other camps, finally escaping from a death march just before liberation. He spent time in the Bergen-Belsen DP camp, where he was active in the Zionist movement.
In this photo, the sign in English refers to 10,000 unburied dead found at Bergen-Belsen and another 13,000 who died after liberation, victims of the German "new order" in Europe.
Gift of Bruce Weinberg, Yaffa Eliach Collection donated by the Center for Holocaust Studies