Belsen-April 1945. 618 Government Military Detachment

Discussion in 'The Holocaust' started by alan8376, Sep 12, 2009.

  1. Deacs

    Deacs Well i am from Cumbria. Patron

    cheers Rob will look into that will have a chat with Lee who is doing my grandas war diarys at the moment
     
  2. Jonathan Ball

    Jonathan Ball It's a way of life.

    Johnathan
    I would imagine units were told not to write any reports on their time at the camp because of the situation there.
    My fathers Arty Regt spent some time on guard duties there,but there is just a couple of lines in the diary saying what Bty Troops were on duty, nothing else.

    Thanks Rob. In reading the reports (WO222/545) that is very much the impression we got. The strange thing is that the cover of the report states it was to be closed until 1972. As knowledge of the camp would have been pretty common throughout XXX Corps I just don't see what use there was in surpressing even the most basic information?
     
  3. PsyWar.Org

    PsyWar.Org Archive monkey

    Thanks Rob. In reading the reports (WO222/545) that is very much the impression we got. The strange thing is that the cover of the report states it was to be closed until 1972. As knowledge of the camp would have been pretty common throughout XXX Corps I just don't see what use there was in surpressing even the most basic information?

    Jonathan, WWII files were originally closed for 100 years but in 1972 it was decided to release the bulk of them.

    On many of the front covers of war diaries, for example, is a sticker saying something like "CLOSED UNTIL 2045" with a rubber-stamped cross through it.

    A typical example attached.

    Lee
     

    Attached Files:

  4. Jonathan Ball

    Jonathan Ball It's a way of life.

    Thanks Lee. Again the forum teaches me something I didn't know before! :)

    I was just wondering that if the files were to be closed as originally planned for 100 years then why go to the trouble of omitting details such as Belsen from reports that were as detailed as the ones I have mentioned? As Rob said most of XXX Corps would have been aware of the existence of the camp so it was hardly a secret.
     
  5. sapper

    sapper WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    DO NOT be surprised at the omissions in army reports. My experience is that men were moved all over the place as and when needed
     
  6. Hitchlock

    Hitchlock Junior Member

    My late Father, Ernest Nixon, was with the 6th Guards Tank Brigade which liberated the Bergen-Belsen camp. He had to bulldoze bodies into a pit using his tank with a large blade attached to the front. I believe my Father had influenza at the time and his duties were turned over to another guardsman.
    . bodies of of their victims .
    Sorry to have to disillusion you but you have been misinformed.
    My Father who died on 17th of March this year kept very silent about this part of his war service.
    The first troops into Belsen,who actually 'liberated' it were those of 1st Batallion The Herefords and the 1st-4th King's Shropshire Light Infantry. The remaining German guards surrendered without a fight, were taken prisoner and not surprisingly,the sight and smell of 13000 gas chamber victims left unburied and decomposing would have beeen incomprehensible to the ordinary soldier.


    leaving the
     
  7. birkenhead339

    birkenhead339 Junior Member

    Hi Folks
    I am also researching my Uncle who passed away in 2007. He was one of the first RAMC into Belsen and was also a prosecuting witness at the Nuremberg war trails. He never spoke about his time in the war and I have only just read this. Any info would be great
    Tributes paid to former teacher - Local - Blackpool Gazette
     
  8. Son of POW-Escaper

    Son of POW-Escaper Senior Member

    Hi Alan,

    A very good friend of mine is the daughter of Peter Rowsell, who was there when Belsen was liberated. Sadly, he died about 2 months ago, but she has all of the photos he took at Belsen, and they are pretty horrific. Peter was a medical student who was drafted before he completed his degree. At Belsen, he was tasked with trying to save as many as possible.

    I'd be happy to act as an intermediary (I doubt she'd be willing to answer questions from a stranger), if you're interested.

    Marc
     
  9. Rav4

    Rav4 Senior Member

    [​IMG]

    Uploaded with ImageShack.us

    A photo I took in 1951. Not sure if I got all the inscriptions correct.

    “Israel and the World
    ??? Thousand Jews
    Exterminated in the concentration camp
    of Bergen Belsen
    at the hands of the murderous Nazis

    Earth conceal not the blood
    shed on thee!

    First Anniversary of the Liberation
    15th. April 1946
    1140 Nissan 57061

    Central Jewish Committee
    British Zone.”

    I couldn’t make how many thousands in line two.
     
  10. Jonathan Ball

    Jonathan Ball It's a way of life.

  11. Son of POW-Escaper

    Son of POW-Escaper Senior Member

    I make out the inscription on the monument as Thirty Thousand.

    Marc
     
  12. princesstinkerbell

    princesstinkerbell Junior Member

    Hi,

    My Grandad served in Germany in WW2 from June 1944 as far as I am aware. He sadly died two days after I was born in 1990 so I did not get the chance to ask him questions. All I know of his time is that he helped liberate the concentration camp Bergen-Belsen. When he was demobbed in 1948 the form is stamped with HQ British Army of the Rhine, no other information was given. His name was Sergeant Dennis Duffy, he was English and he was 18 in 1944. If anyone has any information about him at all it would be really helpful to me as I would like to know everything about his time there. My family members do not know much as he didn't speak of what happened if at all possible. I know he was infantry, have any of you heard of him?

    Thank you.
     
  13. 51highland

    51highland Very Senior Member

    Seemed appropriate to put this video link here rather than Memorials thread, but a mod can move it if needs be. My thanks to our Ron Goldstein for suggesting HATIKVA as a soundtrack. Hope its not too haunting.

    [​IMG]
     
    CL1 likes this.
  14. Ron Goldstein

    Ron Goldstein WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran Patron

    Richard

    May I rather thank you for making this most moving and very professional video.

    With all best wishes

    Ron
     
  15. Wills

    Wills Very Senior Member

  16. [​IMG]Before the war my Grandfather was a commercial artist. During the war he was part of the liberation of Belsen as part of the Durham 113th Royal Artillery. My grandfather produced all the signs for the camp, including these by the entrance and in addition, marker signs indicating the position and numbers of those in mass graves.

    Similar to other veterans he never said anything else about the camp.
     
  17. The first two photos are mine, but here is a clearer googled image:
    [​IMG]
     
  18. Marco

    Marco Senior Member

    Rav4,

    In comparison to your 1951 photo here is one from 2011.

    Regards,

    Marco
     

    Attached Files:

  19. Rav4

    Rav4 Senior Member

    Rav4,

    In comparison to your 1951 photo here is one from 2011.

    Regards,

    Marco

    Thanks for the post. I found the video by highland very moving.
     
  20. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Here is the units war diary held at Kew

    WO 171/8035 618 Det. Relief Detachment (Military Government Detachments) 1945 Jan.- Dec.
     

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