View Full Version : Belsen - 60 years on.

WE Branch Fanatic
15th Apr 2005, 09:26
It is sixty years since British troops liberated Belsen. The BBC has put this (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/in_depth/4445811.stm) on their website.

The world must not be allowed to forget.

15th Apr 2005, 10:48
I was attached to 32 Engineer regt at Hohne for 2yrs 1975-7.This is the camp that is only 2 miles from Belsen.The roundhaus which was the NAAFI shop was originally the gestapo HQ.I did visit the site and found it very quiet,it's true what they say about no birds sing there.Whether this is due to the high amount of lime in the soil...who knows.The sight of mounds with a plaque just saying 5000 torte or 7000 torte just seems to emphasise how little these lives meant to the perpertrators of this evil.
When drinking in the local bierhauses if you asked an old local if they knew what went on there,always there was denial.Even though the railhead was 5 miles away and they were force marched/run through the village to sort out the weakest apparently no one saw it.
An R.A. guy I knew in our married quarters block..his father was one of the first into the camp and when he came over he showed us where he found things.He said he still had nightmares.
The world should not forget and no matter what nationality you are you should not allow history lessons in schools to avoid this.If our next generations are to learn anything from man's inhumanity against his own kind this is the example to learn from.
Sorry if I could not put into words what I want/need to say.

15th Apr 2005, 10:56
The world should not forget and no matter what nationality you are you should not allow history lessons in schools to avoid this.If our next generations are to learn anything from man's inhumanity against his own kind this is the example to learn from.

I think you put that very well indeed.

Big Tudor
15th Apr 2005, 11:48
Eloquently put lasernigel . We used to deploy to a nearby site when I was in Germany (RAF). It was one of those places that I just felt I had to visit but couldn't explain why. The strangest thing I found was it was very, very quiet, but there was no sense of peace there, as if even Mother Earth was troubled by what had been enacted upon her.

My Grandfather died on Wednesday and I was explaining yesterday to my 8 yr old how Grandad had gone ashore on D-Day and what had happened.
"If I become world Emperor, I will ban war. What's the point of it", he said. It took a while for the tears to subside. :{

15th Apr 2005, 14:32
Forgetting political correctness for an instant, the fact is that humanity has not learned any lessons since. Witness events in Cambodia, Rwanda, Chad and the Balkans amongst others.

Perhaps it is merely humanity's over-powering desire to remove threatening elements (or elements considered to pose a threat) from their vicinity? What really happened to the Neanderthals anyway?!

To put things simplistically, consider this fable:

Once upon a time, there lived a great Prince who ruled over a wide domain in what is now part of India. He ruled with wisdom and kindness, his subjects prospered and nature abounded. But one night, a leopard crept into the palace and took away his 1st born child. The alert was sounded and every able-bodied man went out in search of the killer. What remained of the Prince's child were eventually located and the Prince ordered a beat. Eventually, the leopard was forced into the open where the Prince himself swiftly despatched it. In his bitter anguish, he decreed that any spotted carnivores in his domain were to be exterminated forthwith. Later that day, 2 leopard cubs found a short distance away were also despatched. In fact, the culprit was a leopardess and when skinning the feline, she was found to have an old Royal arrowhead implanted in her shoulder, something which would surely have impeded the animal's abilities to hunt its natural prey. The purpose of this tale is that while a single entity may have been responsible for untold grief, the retribution which follows often bears no resemblance to the misdeeds. And the underlying cause is often over-looked. Today as ever, the leopard never changes its spots. But the tiger is no better off. And the hyena laughs only rarely.

And what we have leftover are a whole multitude of better-off inhabitants of the 1st World. This is generally expressed by resentment if not outright hostility to the other, less-fortunate homo sapiens from other regions who come to seek their crust of bread.

When, if ever, the day comes that we all realise that, by the grace of God (or circumstances, if you prefer), "that could be me", then that'll be the day that the leopardess in the fable will finally feel free to rejoin her cubs in the everafter...

15th Apr 2005, 14:34
Well done for starting the thread WE. Thanks to the others for sharing your thoughts. Was in tears this morning listening to an old dutch lady talking about her experiences as a kid in Belsen.

We must not forget!

Loose rivets
16th Apr 2005, 05:47
I recently had transcribed all my old 8mm films onto DVD. A charming old gent did the first photographic process, and I sat in a room full of projectors and cameras while he reminisced about taking film of the first airborne refueling and radar runs etc..

He suddenly pointed to a huge old projector. "That was the officers projector in Belsen.". Just staring at it caused a horrible feeling to the pit of my stomach.

The thought of men being entertained by this actual machine while all that was going on yards away was numbing. I would not have wanted that in my house however significant a collector's item it was.

Bern Oulli
16th Apr 2005, 07:47
Years ago in a previous incarnation, I was a C.O. (clerical officer) in the Judge Advocate general's Office in London. This was in the mid '60s. I was given the task, via a request from the Israeli government, of sifting through the archives for mention of a Nazi bloke they had caught. The JAG archives were full of the Nuremburg trial stuff, and reams of other evidence that was never made public. It took me weeks and I had some very sleepless nights I can tell you. If you take the worst excesses that you have heard of and double it, you won't come close to the depths of depravity some people sank to.
I agree, we must not forget AND we must not fail to learn.

Oh, and by the way, I found the evidence which helped to hang the [email protected], 21 years after the war. Better late than never for such "people".

Pinky the pilot
16th Apr 2005, 10:56
My late Father was Barossa Valley South Australia born and raised and like all of his generation from there a fluent German speaker, indeed it was the only language spoken in the household.
He served in the RAAF from '41 to May '45 as a pilot. He only arrived home in late '46 and never spoke to anyone about why he took so long to get home. Except very late one night when he and I had drank the best part of a full bottle of Chivas Regal he briefly hinted at having been offered 'an interpreters job' for a brief period somewhere in Europe.
All I really know is that if ever anyone mentioned that The Holocaust never happened he became very quiet and coldly angry!

Usual signature deleted; somewhat irrelevant.

16th Apr 2005, 12:42
you should not allow history lessons in schools to avoid this.
We covered it in our final year at school. The history teacher said at the begining:

"If anyone of you thinks or pretends that this is an amusing topic you will be expelled from this school. Do you understand? This is probably the most important lesson about human evil you will ever hear"

.....or words to that effect.

Never had history lessons commanded such a attention.


Boss Raptor
16th Apr 2005, 16:15
Having visited Auschwitz, Dachau, Terezin camps and Melnik ghetto/transit camp over the years...I found it is true that no animals appear to stay or birds sing...

I think that the actual scene is now somewhat peaceful and not in itself disturbing other than you appreciate how preconcieved and 'mechanical' the set up was/is...however what is very apparent is that being there magnifies and animates everything you already know that did happen before...it comes to life and does hit you with the true sense of appauling reality...

The sad part is this is still going on across the world in various (although possibly not to the same degree) places and has never really ceased...

Man's ability (and desire) to be cruel to others will never unfortunately disappear although maybe it can/will be contained...to hand someone power, the power of life or death, to control another persons very existance/destiny is a very real and cruel addictive drug which at the time can give great satisfaction and pleasure...whilst the strong willed and egotistical madmen of our world can manipulate the other members of a population into doing their evil with their morality diverted by psychopathic ferver then we can and will see it again...and again...and again...

16th Apr 2005, 22:37
The really sad and frustrating thing is that we (as a society) pretend that this is all just history, whilst ignoring or condoning the attitudes that caused it. Unfounded persecution of any group for any "reason" is utterly abhorent, yet remains a favourite tool of politicians of all shades.

Personally, whenever I read or think of the holocaust I find it hard to hold back the tears. Like now.