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Great Britian & the Holocaust: Testimony of a Bergen-Belsen Survivor

(May 1945)

Bergen-Belsen was one of the first concentration camps to be liberated by Allied troops when the British capture it in April 1945. The guards were taken prisoner in these camps and the prisoners were interviewed as witnesses in war crimes trials.

The following source is the testimony of a survivor from the Bergen-Belsen camp. The survivor, a woman, was giving evidence to British officials so that they could prepare cases to prosecute Nazi war criminals.

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Text of Testimony:

1. I am 27 years old and have been in concentration camps since October 1942. My only crime was being a Jew. My husband died in a concentration camp with me on 10th January 1944. I came to Belsen about January 1945

6. There was in the Camp a girl we knew as Stenia who was a prisoner and acted as Chief of the Camp among the prisoners. She was friendly with all the SS women and especially with Volkenrath [the Nazi in charge of the Women’s section at Belsen camp]. She was, I think, about 27 years of age, although it is difficult to tell ages in camp, very tall, slender and dark haired. She was suffering, I think, from T.B. About the beginning of April she drank something that made her ill but said that she had been poisoned by cakes sent from the kitchen. As a result the chief woman cook, her sister and a kitchen hand were shot. They disappeared and their dresses were sent back to their room which was the custom when women were shot.

7. The chief of the kitchen at No.1 Camp was a man whose name, I think was Traur. In the last week before the English came I saw three women ask him for drinking water which was very short in the Camp. They were in a very weak condition, I myself saw him take them one by one and drown them in a large sort of stone tank near the kitchen. They were too weak to resist and he was strong...

Sources: British National Archives