In Photos: Inside the Nazis’ Bergen-Belsen Concentration Camp
The Bergen-Belsen concentration camp complex outside of Celle, Germany was the last place 50,000 people ever saw. It was where Anne Frank died along with her sister Margot Frank. Even after the camp’s liberation by Allied forces on April 15, 1945, 13,000 former prisoners were still too sick to recover and consequently died.
According to the Holocaust Encyclopedia by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, the German military established the site in 1940 and was so named for the two towns of Bergen and Belsen, of which the camp was south.
These bodies were killed just before the Nazis left the camp. They were Jews, Roma, and common law prisoners who opposed the Nazis. 1945.
Alongside the inmate are the female barracks at Bergen-Belsen. 1945.
Many of those pictured in this mass grave were women and children. 1945.
SS doctor Klein was accused of aiding in the deaths of thousands of men, women and children. He’s seen here speaking to a British film crew beside a mass grave soon after the camp’s liberation. A former prisoner confronts him as the cameras roll.
Bergen-Belsen was originally a P.O.W. camp for French and Belgian prisoners until 1943 when it was converted into a concentration camp for Jews with foreign passports who could be exchanged for imprisoned Germans abroad.
Roger Viollet/Getty Images
A snapshot of daily life in Bergen-Belsen’s men’s barracks. Prisoners were locked up, purposefully weakened, and starved.
The “Large Women’s Camp” had to be constructed in January 1945 to accommodate an influx of female prisoners. By March of 1945, there were 30,387 women held there.
Anne Frank and her sister Margot were interned at this camp. Both died here soon before the liberation, Anne just a month before.
Prisoners relied on any scraps of food they could find. Thousands died of starvation.
The crematorium at Bergen-Belsen which turned thousands of innocents into ash.
Galerie Bilderwelt/Getty Images
Ukranian prisoners look for abandoned valuables amongst the rubbish one month post-liberation. 1945.
George Rodger/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images
Forty-eight camp staffers were tried and 11 of them, including SS commandant Josef Kramer, the “Beast of Belsen,” were sentenced to death by a British military court.
LAPI/Roger Viollet/Getty Images