I have recently been researching material in the archives of the Belsen Memorial, Germany, and have been invited to attend the commemorative events that will be held on 26 April to mark the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Bergen-Belsen.
My connection with Belsen history is through my father, a British doctor, who while working for the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Association became Medical Superintendent of the hospital at the Belsen Displaced Persons camp in September 1945. This camp was housed in a huge German army ‘kaserne’ (barracks) a couple of kilometres from the site of the concentration camp. Since the departure of the DPs in 1950 it has been a British army base.
Visiting the site of both the concentration camp and the Displaced Persons camp a few months ago, I was intrigued by the multi-layered story of this place. With the British Army due to leave Höhne Base in the middle of this year, this milestone coincides with the 70th anniversary of the events that brought the British to Belsen.