Thursday, 2 April 2020

Bergen Belsen

Last night I watched Jonathan Dimbleby’s ITV  film "Return to Belsen", about the Bergen Belsen concentration camp. His father, Richard Dimbleby, had been there at its liberation, reporting for BBC radio. My father was there too as one of the first Allied doctors to enter the 'camp'.


Dimbleby gave accounts of survivors and British squaddies who rarely spoke about what they had witnessed. One man, now in his 90s, had NEVER even told his own wife about his time in Bergen Belsen. My father too. All he ever told me was to confirm that the liberators overfed survivors which increased the death toll. I have written about this before.


This seems to me a moment to honour the victims of fascism there. In honouring them I need to be honest about who has been honouring them and working to ensure, in the words of the Spanish Republicans, ¡nopasarán!


They are the descendants of Auschwitz survivor Primo Levi, leader of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising, Marek Edelman and today people who as Jews, live and work in the tradition of The Bundists. One of these is my friend Merilyn Moos who, with Steve Cushion, has written a book on what it meant to be an anti-Nazi at the time of the Holocaust.  

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