The few remaining survivors of Nazi concentration camp Bergen-Belsen share their stories in BBC2’s harrowing documentary Belsen: Our Story
From 1943 to 1945, more than 52,000 people, including Anne Frank and her sister, Margot, perished at Nazi concentration camp Bergen-Belsen, as we see in BBC2 documentary Belsen: Our Story.
Belsen was initially believed to be one of the ‘better’ camps, as there were no gas chambers to perform mass murder.
But overcrowding and lack of food meant many starved to death while others succumbed to typhus, tuberculosis or dysentery.
In this harrowing one-off, survivors share their stories and revisit the site (British troops burned Belsen to the ground when they liberated it in 1945).
‘We arrived in the bitterly cold winter and it was crowded, smelly and very unpleasant,’ recalls Peter Lantos, who was five years old when he arrived at the camp.
‘My mother had a nervous breakdown, while my father died of starvation a month before Belsen was liberated.
‘He may be in one of the mass graves, I don’t know.’
‘It was like something out of hell,’ says Mala Tribich (pictured top), who was 14 when she arrived.
‘I still remember the smell, which was horrific.
‘It wasn’t just the smell of human excreta; it was of bodies, of burning, of everything mixed up.’
More than 70 years later, Mala and Peter both return to Belsen, where grassy meadows now hide mass burial sites.
‘It’s not easy to come back,’ says Mala.
‘It’s still emotionally very real, but it’s important because the victims should never be forgotten.’
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