10 April 1940
King of Norway calls on all Norwegians to fight the invading Germans
Belgian army cancels all leave
The Lampasas Daily Leader (Lampasas, Tex.), Vol. 37, No. 31, Ed. 1 Thursday, April 11, 1940
Daily newspaper from Lampasas, Texas that includes local, state, and national news along with advertising.
four pages : ill. page 18 x 13 in. Digitized from 35 mm. microfilm.
Creator: Unknown. April 11, 1940.
This newspaper is part of the collection entitled: Lampasas Area Newspaper Collection and was provided by the Lampasas Public Library to The Portal to Texas History, a digital repository hosted by the UNT Libraries. More information about this issue can be viewed below.
People and organizations associated with either the creation of this newspaper or its content.
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Lampasas Public Library
Founded in 1901 in the home of a resident, the Lampasas Public Library continued to grow over the years. Today it occupies a dedicated library building at 201 S. Main Street and serves some 7,400 cardholders.
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- Main Title: The Lampasas Daily Leader (Lampasas, Tex.), Vol. 37, No. 31, Ed. 1 Thursday, April 11, 1940
- Serial Title:The Lampasas Daily Leader
- Added Title: The Lampasas Leader
Daily newspaper from Lampasas, Texas that includes local, state, and national news along with advertising.
four pages : ill. page 18 x 13 in.
Digitized from 35 mm. microfilm.
Published every day except Sunday.
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University of North Texas Libraries Browse Structure
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- Library of Congress Control Number: sn86064222
- OCLC: 13698485 | External Link
- Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metapth1285934
- Volume: 37
- Issue: 31
- Edition: 1
This issue is part of the following collections of related materials.
Lampasas Area Newspaper Collection
Lampasas is located on the Sulphur Creek, at the junction of U.S. highways 183, 281, and 190, in south central Lampasas County. This collection features issues of The Lampasas Leader.
Tocker Foundation Grant
Collections funded by the Tocker Foundation, which distributes funds principally for the support, encouragement, and assistance to small rural libraries in Texas.
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Under the Sea
On April 11, 1900, the U.S. Navy acquired its first submarine, designed by Irish immigrant John P. Holland. Propelled by gasoline while on the surface and by electricity when submerged, the Holland served as a model for modern submarine design. By the eve of World War I, the Holland and Holland-inspired vessels were a part of large naval fleets throughout the world.
The Holland Submarine, Paterson, Passaic County, NJ. Nathaniel R. Ewan, photographer, July 17, 1936. Historic American Buildings Survey/Historic American Engineering Record/Historic American Landscapes Survey. Prints & Photographs Division
Proposals for underwater boats date back to the late 1500s. The first submarine actually constructed was probably a vessel created and tested in the early seventeenth century by Dutch inventor Cornelis Drebbel. Over the next two centuries, various inventors continued to work out design problems.
Submarines became more common in the nineteenth century, with a period of intense development occurring at the end of the century as nations strived to establish their sea power. A submersible craft, the Turtle was used briefly during the American Revolution. In the early years of the nineteenth century, U.S. inventor Robert Fulton also experimented with submarine designs.
Submarines were used in the United States in both the War of 1812 and the Civil War, but it was not until World War I that submarines became accepted military vessels.
The Detroit News Timely Topics. Uncle Sam’s Largest Submarine. Pacific and Atlantic Photos, Inc., photographer, [between 1915-1930]. Detroit Publishing Company. Prints & Photographs Division
The First Submarine to Sink a Battleship
Horace Lawson Hunley (1823-63) of New Orleans was one of the developers of the Confederate submarine known as the H.L. Hunley. Four feet wide and about forty feet long, with a hull height of four feet and three inches, the H.L. Hunley was the first sub to sink a ship in battle.
Monitor Map…with Map on Large Scale of the Harbor of Charleston. Boston: Louis Prang and Company, c1863. Civil War Maps. Geography & Map Division
Was April 11, 1954 the Most Boring Day in History?
Next time you hear a friend complain that "today was the most boring day in history," you can tell them to prove it.
A Cambridge scientist has developed a computer program to calculate the most lackluster day since 1900, the Telegraph reports.
The verdict? April 11, 1954.
Events included a general election in Belgium and the birth of Turkish academic Abdullah Atalar. The cover of the New York Post was two cops attending a conference on juvenile delinquency.
William Tunstall-Pedoe's program, called True Knowledge, uses algorithms to sort 300 million facts about people, places and events and is designed to be a new way of surfing the Internet.
"The irony is, though, that - having done the calculation - the day is interesting for being exceptionally boring," Tunstall-Pedoe told the Telegraph. "Unless, that is, you are Abdullah Atalar."
Tunstall-Pedoe told the Toronto Star that calculating the most exciting day was more difficult.
"The most exciting day is much harder," he said. "After all, you've got two world wars, assassinations, nuclear bombs, men landing on the moon. It's far easier to calculate the least eventful day. How would you compare the moon landings with Pearl Harbor?"
1940 New York census records are now searchable by name
NEW YORK — Americans are in for a cyber-surprise on Wednesday: They'll be able to plug family names into an online 1940 U.S. census and come up with details about the lives of New Yorkers — from Joe DiMaggio and Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy to their own relatives.
Starting after midnight, it will no longer be essential to provide exact addresses from seven decades ago to look for a New York connection.
With names, free searches of the 1940 U.S. census first made public in April will unlock personal information about residents of New York — then the largest U.S. state and an immigrant hub from which people moved all over the country.
Census experts say the New York data is of national interest because tens of millions of Americans have roots in this gateway to the United States through Ellis Island, and many can now dig for more personal information.
"That's the exciting aspect about this — the ability to search the lifetime of our mothers and fathers," said Debra Braverman, a New York-based independent forensic genealogist with clients seeking information for trust funds and estates.
When the census was first released, "if you didn't know exactly where someone lived in 1940, you couldn't find them," Braverman said.
Indexing by name is crucial to cracking the until-now closed book of that year's census, which by law could not be released for 72 years and is therefore the most recently available one.
This U.S. census leads to China.
Some of the work of transcribing handwritten census records into a computerized index was done by workers in an office outside the southern city of Dongguan with "very strong character recognition abilities," said Todd Jensen, who heads the document preservation service at Ancestry.com, a Provo, Utah-based family history company that's releasing the online New York census for 1940 using their new name index.
"Given the complexity of their own language, reading and recognizing characters from other languages comes easier," he said.
Also Wednesday, another historic treasure trove appears on the Internet for the first time: census information compiled separately by New York state for 1915 and 1925, indexed by name. These records include details about famed personalities such as Lauren Bacall, Al Capone, Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Houdini, who according to the 1925 census was born in the United States, even though most biographies say he was born in Hungary.
The interest in roots is so intense that 37 million hits temporarily crashed the National Archives provider site when the 1940 census was released on April 2. Many who logged on hoping for results hit the wall, frustrated for lack of specific locations required for results.
Braverman, a Manhattan resident, uncovered details about her 84-year-old father's family because he remembered his family's Brooklyn address before his bar mitzvah in 1940, when he was 13.
"His memory was spot on," his daughter said.
But the Brooklyn childhood address her mother remembered didn't match, so they will try to find the information again this week.
Former New York Mayor Ed Koch hit the jackpot when it came to his family history, which is contained in all three censuses — the federal one, as well as the New York ones from 1915 and 1925.
The 87-year-old Koch participated in a preview search conducted by Ancestry.com, which is making all three census records available online.
His said his father came from Europe, alone at age 16, eventually raising a family in a Bronx apartment. For years, "I told people that we lived in abject poverty," he said. A series of census records from the time would prove him wrong.
They showed that the Depression-era rent for the Kochs' five-room Bronx apartment was $75 a month, "and that was a lot of money at the time," Koch said.
"All my life, I was telling people I was very poor, but I learned we did not live in abject poverty I was born into a middle-class family," he said.
The New York world of the 1940 census includes names that later became famous, including Katharine Hepburn, John D. Rockefeller Jr., J.D. Salinger, Kennedy and Ella Fitzgerald.
The 1940 census by name index will be available for all states possibly as early as this fall.
While New York is the biggest state whose census records are already name-indexed, a number of smaller states also have been made name-accessible by Ancestry.com and two other companies, FamilySearch.org and MyHeritage.com.
New York state censuses for 1915 and 1925 are available online for the first time via a link that says "find family history for free" to anyone providing a New York ZIP code and email address.
The state censuses show "every New Yorker from the famous to the infamous to everybody in between," said Kathleen Roe, director of archives and records management at the New York State Archives.
A perfect example of this melting pot is Babe Ruth, who appeared in the 1925 census as "George H. Ruth" and listed his occupation as "Base Ballplayer." He was living by the Grand Concourse near Yankee Stadium, which would later be dubbed "The House That Ruth Built." The Ruth family neighbor was Joseph Weinstock, an Austrian immigrant working in manufacturing and his Russian-born wife, the census shows.
History of Women in the U.S. Congress
Please note: Data for Congresses prior to the current one reflect the number of women serving at the conclusion of that Congress, including women who may have been sworn in after the election for the following Congress.
|Congress||Dates||Women in the Senate||Women in the House||Total Women|
|65th||1917-1919||0||(OD, 0R)||1||(OD, 1R)||1||(0D, 1R)|
|66th||1919-1921||0||(0D, 0R)||0||(0D, OR)||0||(0D, 0R)|
|67th||1921-1923||1||(1D, 0R)||3||(0D, 3R)||4||(1D, 3R)|
|68th||1923-1925||0||(0D, 0R)||1||(OD, 1R)||1||(0D, 1R)|
|69th||1925-1927||0||(0D, 0R)||3||(1D, 2R)||3||(1D, 2R)|
|70th||1927-1929||0||(0D, 0R)||5||(2D, 3R)||5||(2D, 3R)|
|71st||1929-1931||0||(0D, 0R)||9||(5D, 4R)||9||(5D, 4R)|
|72nd||1931-1933||1||(1D, 0R)||7||(5D, 2R)||8||(6D, 2R)|
|73rd||1933-1935||1||(1D, 0R)||7||(4D, 3R)||8||(5D, 3R)|
|74th||1935-1937||2||(2D, 0R)||6||(4D, 2R)||8||(6D, 2R)|
|75th||1937-1939||2||(1D, 1R) 1||6||(5D, 1R)||8||(6D, 2R)|
|76th||1939-1941||1||(1D, OR)||8||(4D, 4R)||9||(5D, 4R)|
|77th||1941-1943||1||(1D, OR)||9||(4D, 5R)||10||(5D, 5R)|
|78th||1943-1945||1||(1D, 0R)||8||(2D, 6R)||9||(3D, 6R)|
|79th||1945-1947||0||(0D, 0R)||11||(6D, 5R)||11||(6D, 5R)|
|80th||1947-1949||1||(0D, 1R)||7||(3D, 4R)||8||(3D, 5R)|
|81st||1949-1951||1||(0D, 1R)||9||(5D, 4R)||10||(5D, 5R)|
|82nd||1951-1953||1||(0D, 1R)||10||(4D, 6R)||11||(4D, 7R)|
|83rd||1953-1955||2||(0D, 2R)||11||(5D, 6R) 2||13||(5D, 8R) 2|
|84th||1955-1957||1||(OD, 1R)||16||(10D, 6R) 2||17||(10D, 7R) 2|
|85th||1957-1959||1||(0D, 1R)||15||(9D, 6R)||16||(9D, 7R)|
|86th||1959-1961||2||(1D, 1R)||17||(9D, 8R)||19||(10D, 9R)|
|87th||1961-1963||2||(1D, 1R)||18||(11D, 7R)||20||(12D, 8R)|
|88th||1963-1965||2||(1D, 1R)||12||(6D, 6R)||14||(7D, 7R)|
|89th||1965-1967||2||(1D, 1R)||11||(7D, 4R)||13||(8D, 5R)|
|90th||1967-1969||1||(0D, 1R)||11||(6D, 5R)||12||(6D, 6R)|
|91st||1969-1971||1||(0D, 1R)||10||(6D, 4R)||11||(6D, 5R)|
|92nd||1971-1973||2||(1D, 1R)||13||(10D, 3R)||15||(11D, 4R)|
|93rd||1973-1975||0||(0D, 0R)||16||(14D, 2R)||16||(14D, 2R)|
|94th||1975-1977||0||(0D, 0R)||19||(14D, 5R)||19||(14D, 5R)|
|95th||1977-1979||2||(2D, 0R)||18||(13D, 5R)||20||(15D, 5R)|
|96th||1979-1981||1||(OD, 1R)||16||(11D, 5R)||17||(11D, 6R)|
|97th||1981-1983||2||(0D, 2R)||21||(11D, 10R)||23||(11D, 12R)|
|98th||1983-1985||2||(0D, 2R)||22||(13D, 9R)||24||(13D, 11R)|
|99th||1985-1987||2||(0D, 2R)||23||(12D, 11R)||25||(12D, 13R)|
|100th||1987-1989||2||(1D, 1R)||23||(12D, 11R)||25||(13D, 12R)|
|101st||1989-1991||2||(1D, 1R)||29||(16D, 13R)||31||(17D, 14R)|
|102nd||1991-1993||4||(3D, 1R) 3||28||(19D, 9R) 4||32||(22D, 10R) 4|
|103rd||1993-1995||7||(5D, 2R) 5||47||(35D, 12R) 4||54||(40D, 14R) 4|
|104th||1995-1997||9||(5D, 4R) 6||48||(31D, 17R) 4||57||(36D, 21R) 4|
|105th||1997-1999||9||(6D, 3R)||54||(37D, 17R) 7||63||(43D, 20R) 7|
|106th||1999-2001||9||(6D, 3R)||56||(39D, 17R) 8||65||(45D, 20R) 8|
|107th||2001-2003||13||(9D, 4R) 9||59||(41D, 18R) 9||72||(50D, 22R) 9|
|108th||2003-2005||14||(9D, 5R)||60||(39D, 21R) 10||74||(48D, 26R) 10|
|109th||2005-2007||14||(9D, 5R)||68||(43D, 25R) 11||82||(52D, 30R) 11|
|110th||2007-2009||16||(11D, 5R)||72||(52D, 20R) 12||88||(63D, 25R) 12|
|111th||2009-2011||17||(13D, 4R) 13||73||(56D, 17R) 13||90||(69D, 21R) 13|
|112th||2011-2013||17||(12D, 5R)||73||(49D, 24R) 14||90||(61D, 29R) 14|
|113th||2013-2015||20||(16D, 4R)||80||(61D, 19R) 15||100||(77D, 23R) 15|
|114th||2015-2017||20||(14D, 6R)||85||(63D, 22R)||105||(77D, 28R) 18|
|115th||2017-2019||23||(17D, 6R)||87||(64D, 23R) 16||110||(81D, 29R) 16|
|116th||2019-2021||25||(17D, 8R) 17||101||(88D, 13R) 19||126||(105D, 21R)|
|117th||2021-2022||24||(16D, 8R) 20||119 20||(88D, 31R)||143||(104D, 39R)|
|1||A total of three (2D, 1R) women served in the Senate in the 75th Congress, but no more than two served together at any one time. Part of the time two Democrats served together, and part of the time one Democrat and one Republican served together.|
|2||Does not include a Republican Delegate to the House from pre-statehood Hawaii.|
|3||On election day in 1992, three women served in the Senate two were elected and one was appointed. On November 3rd, Dianne Feinstein won a special election to complete two years of a term she was sworn in on November 10, 1992.|
|4||Does not include a Democratic Delegate to the House from Washington, DC.|
|5||Includes Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX), who won a special election on June 5, 1993 to serve out the remaining year and one half of a term.|
|6||Includes Sheila Frahm (R-KS), who was appointed on June 11, 1996 to fill a vacancy caused by resignation. She was defeated in her primary race to complete the full term.|
|7||Does not include two Democratic Delegates from the Virgin Islands and Washington, DC. Also does not include Susan Molinari (R-NY) who resigned 8/1/97. Includes 4 women (2 Democrats and 2 Republicans) who won special elections in March, April, and June 1998.|
|8||Does not include two Democratic Delegates from the Virgin Islands and Washington, DC.|
|9||House figure does not include two Democratic Delegates from the Virgin Islands and Washington, DC Patsy Takemoto Mink (D-HI), who died on September 19, 2002. Senate figure does not include Jean Carnahan (D-MO) who stepped down on November 23, 2002. Does include Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), who was appointed to fill a Senate vacancy on December 20, 2002.|
|10||Does not include three Democratic Delegates from Guam, the Virgin Islands and Washington, DC. Does include Stephanie Herseth (D-SD), who won a special election June 1, 2004 to fill a vacancy.|
|11||Does not include three Democratic Delegates from Guam, the Virgin Islands and Washington, DC. Does include Juanita Millender-McDonald (D-CA), who died on April 22, 2007.|
|12||Includes all current women House members does not include three Democratic Delegates from Guam, the Virgin Islands and Washington, DC. Does not include Stephanie Tubbs Jones who passed away, but does include Marcia Fudge who won a special election to replace her.|
|13||Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) moved from the House to the Senate when she was appointed on January 26, 2009 to fill a vacancy. Does not include Hillary Rodham Clinton, who was sworn in but resigned 1/16/09 Hilda Solis, who was sworn in but resigned on 2/17/09 and Ellen Tauscher, who resigned 6/26/09. Does include Judy Chu, who won a special election 7/14/09. Does not include three Democratic Delegates from Guam, the Virgin Islands and Washington, DC.|
|14||Includes Kathy Hochul (D-NY) who won a special election. Does not include Jane Harman who resigned on 2/28/11 includes Janice Hahn (D-CA) who won a special election to replace her. Does not include Gabrielle Giffords who resigned on 1/24/12. Does include Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR) who won a special election. Does not include three Democratic Delegates from Guam, the Virgin Islands and Washington, DC.|
|15||Does not include JoAnn Emerson (R-MO) who resigned on January 22, 2013. Includes Robin Kelly (D-IL) who won a special election. Includes Katherine Clark (D-MA) who won a special election 12/10/13 to fill a vacancy. Includes Alma Adams (D-NC) who won a special election 11/4/14.|
|16||Includes Karen Handel (R-GA), who won a special election on June 20, 2017 to serve out the remaining year and one half of a term. Includes Tina Smith (D-MN) who was appointed to fill a vacancy on January 3, 2018. Includes Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS) who was appointed to fill a vacancy on April 9, 2018. Includes Debbie Lesko (R-AZ), who won a special election on April 25, 2018. Includes Brenda Jones (D-MI), Mary Gay Scanlon (D-PA), and Susan Wild (D-PA), who won a special elections on November 6, 2018. House numbers do not include Louise Slaughter (D-NY) who died on March 16, 2018. Does not include three Democratic Delegates from Guam, the Virgin Islands and Washington, DC and two Republican Delegates from American Samoa and Puerto Rico.|
|17||Includes Kelly Loeffler (R-GA) who was appointed to fill a vacancy on 1/6/2020. Does not include Martha McSally (R-AZ) who was appointed to fill a vacancy on January 3rd, 2019 and left office on December 2nd 2020.|
|18||Includes Colleen Hanabusa (D-HI) who won a special election to fill out an unexpired term in November 2016.|
|19||Does not include Katie Hill (D-CA) who resigned on 11/1/2019.|
|20||Numbers include Representative Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R-IA02), who is being seated provisionally in the U.S. House while the results from her contest against Rita Hart (D) are under House review. Numbers do not include Kamala Harris (D-CA) who left office on 1/18/21 to become Vice President, Kelly Loeffler (R-GA) who left office on 1/20/21, Marcia Fudge who resigned on 3/10/21, or Debra Haaland who left office on 3/16 to become U.S. Secretary of the Interior. Includes Claudia Tenney (R-NY) who was certified as the winner of the general election but did not take office until 2/11/21 due to legal challenges. Julia Letlow (R-LA) who was sworn in on 4/14/21 after winning a special election to fill the vacancy left by the death of her husband who never officially took office and Melanie Stansbury (D-NM) who won a special election to succeed Debra Haaland.|
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Deborah Czeresko at work at Urban Glass, Brooklyn
The Culper Spy Letter: A New Discovery at the Long Island Museum
In August 2020 the Long Island Museum discovered an uncatalogued Culper Spy Ring letter in its collections. Acquired by the museum in December 1951, the handwritten double-sided letter measures 9 3/16” x 7 5/8”, is dated November 8, 1779, and is from Benjamin Tallmadge (using his alias, John Bolton) to Robert Townsend (alias, Samuel Culper Jr.).
For more information on this exciting discovery click on the link.
We are open Friday – Sunday,12pm – 5pm!
In addition to exploring the new exhibitions, visitors are also welcome to explore the Carriage Museum, which includes eight renovated galleries that tell the story of transportation before the automobile.
Visitors are welcome to explore the Carriage Museum and Art Museum however the History Museum will remain closed. The LIM will reopen with the following hours: Friday – Sunday, 12:00 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Physical distancing will be required and all visitors and staff must wear face masks at all times while on site. The LIM follows CDC-prescribed cleaning protocols for all buildings.
Jefferson’s Ferry Life Plan Community proudly sponsors the LIM’s 2 for 1 Fridays. Purchase one full price admission, get one equal or lesser value free.
Visitors can find a full list of available Museum experiences and learn more about what to expect during a visit by downloading the LIM VISITOR GUIDE.
Twin Peeks: Scenes Seen Twice, in Paintings & Photographs,an exhibition entirely from LIM’s art collection, presents side-by-side views of nearly 60 paintings, from the 1830s to the present, placed beside photographs of the same or similar locations and buildings is currently on view at the Art Museum. Click here to take a virtual tour of some of the items on display.
Today in World War II History—April 11, 1940 & 1945
80 Years Ago—April 11, 1940: In Norway, Germans launch drive north from Oslo to link with forces at Trondheim.
Prisoners at Buchenwald concentration camp, Germany, 16 Apr 1945 author Elie Wiesel is in the second row up, seventh from the left, next to the bunk post (US National Archives: 208-AA-206K-31)
75 Years Ago—Apr. 11, 1945: In Germany, the US Third Army liberates Buchenwald concentration camp, and the US Ninth Army reaches the Elbe River near Magdeburg, 60 miles from Berlin.
Airborne Operations During World War II
Virtually all of what are called ‘revolutions in military affairs’ — armored warfare, strategic bombing, combined-arms tactics, submarine warfare, amphibious assault, aircraft carrier–based operations — appeared in one form or another during World War I. The only revolution that had yet to make its appearance by November 1918 was what is today termed airborne operations, although farsighted aviation advocate Brigadier General William ‘Billy’ Mitchell had earlier proposed that infantry dropped by parachute could be used to attack German air bases in 1919, as a means to extend the damage that air power could inflict.
The war’s end brought such innovations to a halt, while the penurious decade that followed the conflict ensured that virtually nothing moved forward in terms of preparation for using aircraft to project military power beyond military lines. Only science fiction writers, and precious few of them, took up the possibility of dropping military formations behind enemy lines.
In the mid-1930s, two ambitious tyrannies, the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany, became interested in the possibilities that airborne operations might offer. As with their work in mechanized warfare, the Soviet interest in airborne operations bore fruit first. In 1935 the Soviets dropped large numbers of paratroopers during their annual maneuvers. Tragically for the Russian people, Josef Stalin’s brutal and megalomaniacal regime then proceeded to carry out a drastic purge of the Red Army’s officer corps — a savage bloodletting that all but ended early airborne warfare development and destroyed much of the Soviet Union’s military effectiveness.
The Nazis did not purge their officer corps. Instead, as a part of Germany’s massive military buildup, Adolf Hitler devoted significant resources to the creation of innovative new forms of the combined-arms approach to war. The Luftwaffe, under the ambitious Hermann Göring, took the development of airborne forces under its wing. Concomitantly, the army began developing supporting forces that could reinforce paratroopers by airlift and glider insertion once the airborne had established an aerial bridgehead.
With thorough and frightening effectiveness, by the late 1930s the Germans had developed a coherent doctrine for airborne operations, the trained troops to execute such operations and the equipment that would allow its paratroopers, or FallschirmjÄger, to carry out their missions once they had reached the ground. The Luftwaffe was able to supply the transport for airborne operations by transitioning its first bomber force, which largely consisted of Junkers Ju-52/3ms, into the transport force, as faster and more effective bombers such as the Heinkel He-111, Dornier Do-17 and the Junkers Ju-88 became available.
Nevertheless, the number of trained airborne troops and their supporting structure was relatively small — not much more than a reinforced regiment — when World War II broke out in September 1939. A portion of that force was used in the Polish campaign, but the German conquest was so rapid and overwhelming that relatively little attention focused on the use of paratroopers.
The German Experience
The first major use of Germany’s airborne forces came during Operation Weserübung, the invasion of Norway in spring 1940. The German navy was supposed to capture Oslo, but Norwegian reservists using old Krupp guns and shore-based torpedoes along the Oslo fiord managed to sink the brand-new heavy cruiser Blücher and stop the naval attack cold. The Luftwaffethen flew in a company of paratroopers to seize Oslo’s undefended airstrip. Over the course of the morning and early afternoon of April 9, the Germans flew in sufficient reinforcements to move into the capital in the afternoon, but by that time the government had fled, and Norwegian resistance went underground.
France was an even bigger success for the Fallschirmjäger. In early May 1940, the strength of German airborne forces was nearly that of a light infantry division. But their impact on the opening moves of one of the most important battles of World War II was out of all proportion to their size. In the southern Ardennes, Fieseler Fi-156 Storch light reconnaissance planes dropped members of the Brandenburg Regiment on the bridges immediately to the south of the 10th Panzer Division’s route of march. In Belgium a small group of German gliderborne troops landed on top of the great Belgian fortress of Eben Emael on the morning of May 10. The supposedly unconquerable fortress fell to the glidermen in a matter of hours, opening the way for Colonel-General Fedor von Bock’s Army Group B to advance into northern Belgium, which fatally fixed the attention of the French high command there.
An even greater success came with two simultaneous airborne operations during the invasion of Holland. The first involved a strike that was quite similar to what Mitchell had first proposed in 1918. In this case, German paratroopers landed at the airport near The Hague, the intention being that they would be reinforced by troops brought in by Ju-52s. The aim was to seize the Dutch government and effect a surrender of its forces before the fighting even began. While the paratroopers initially seized the airfield, Dutch troops quickly drove them off before they could be reinforced. The attack, however, resulted in the Dutch high command’s focusing on the defense of the capital and rushing its reserves to The Hague.
Meanwhile, a far more dangerous German drive, led by paratroopers, was gathering steam on the Netherlands frontier. In an operation that resembled the later Operation Market-Garden in conception, if not in execution, the Germans dropped small packets of paratroopers to seize the crucial bridges that led directly across Holland and into the heart of the country. They opened the way for the 10th Panzer Division. At every point they succeeded, while the German armored force showed none of the hesitation that would later mark the Allied armored drive in September 1944. Within a day, the Dutch position was hopeless.
How important were these opening moves by airborne troops? In and of themselves they were, of course, not decisive. But airborne incursions throughout France and the Low Countries helped to create a climate of fear and promoted the idea that the Germans were invincible. Moreover, the rumors that swirled around their use, some of which were spread by German propaganda — such as paratroopers disguised as nuns — helped to further the disintegration of Allied morale and cohesion. But perhaps most important of all was the fact that their achievements in the Low Countries contributed substantially to Army Group B’s success in keeping the French high command focused on northern Belgium and the Netherlands, while the great German armored drive crossed the Ardennes and smashed its way across the Meuse River between May 13 and 15.
The next major use of Fallschirmjäger occurred in May 1940, when the Germans confronted the fact that, while their invasion of Yugoslavia and Greece had been an enormous success, the British still held the strategically important island of Crete. There is considerable disagreement among historians about whether Crete or Malta should have been the German target in late May 1941. But the evidence is clear, at least to this author, that the Germans made the right decision. They could not afford to allow the British to keep a base from which the Royal Air Force (RAF) could attack the Romanian oil fields, which were absolutely essential to the German war effort throughout World War II.
Operation Merkur, the invasion of Crete, on May 20, 1941, came very close to being the first major German ground defeat of the war. Aided by Ultra — the breaking of the high-level German ciphers — the British had advance warning that the Germans were preparing to launch a large-scale airborne operation against the island. That information was passed along to Maj. Gen. Bernard Freyberg, the island’s commanding officer, who paid no attention to the intelligence. Instead he deployed the majority of his forces to guard the beaches against a seaborne landing, despite the Royal Navy’s assurances that it could prevent such an occurrence.
The German plan for the assault split the airborne forces in half: the first drop coming against the airfield at Maleme on the western end of the island the second coming later in the day, against Heraklion on the eastern end of the island. The Germans significantly underestimated the number of Commonwealth troops available to Freyberg, and they completely underestimated the determination of the Cretan population to defend their homes. The landing at Heraklion was an unmitigated disaster. The operation against Maleme airfield did not go much better. The attacking paratroopers took horrendous casualties and managed to establish only a few footholds against the New Zealand battalion defending the airfield. Moreover, throughout the first day the German airborne command in Athens largely failed to glean how badly things were going. Fortunately for the embattled Fallschirmjäger, Freyberg and the local commanders failed to reinforce the defenders at Maleme.
That evening the New Zealand commander on the scene, whose battalion had also suffered heavy casualties — but no heavier than the Germans’ — took his troops off the crucial hill that dominated the airfield. The next morning the German paratroopers found themselves in control of Maleme. Soon a steady stream of Ju-52s flew in reinforcements, and the Germans managed to build up sufficient forces to overwhelm the Commonwealth defenders.
The conquest of Crete occupies a special place in military history as the first successful invasion of an island carried out entirely from the air. Nevertheless, the German airborne victory proved to be enormously costly, which many historians have suggested discouraged Hitler from using airborne forces against Malta in early June 1942. This author’s estimate is that it was not Merkur‘s butcher’s bill but rather how close the operation had come to failure that was the major factor in the Führer‘s decision.
German operations on Crete are also notable in that, following their seizure of the island, the invaders engaged in the wholesale slaughter of the local population in retaliation for what they saw as the natives’ outrageous desire to defend their homeland. As with the Wehrmacht and the Waffen SS, the Luftwaffe‘s paratroopers were fanatical Nazis, thoroughly indoctrinated with the Führer‘s ideology.
German paratroopers and airborne commandos played a less significant role as airborne forces for the remainder of the war. There were some successes: the seizure of the Tunisian bridgehead in response to Operation Torch — the Allied landing in North Africa in November 1942 — and Benito Mussolini’s rescue in September 1943. But for the most part German paratroopers fought as regular infantry. It was in this role that they added new luster to their fearsome reputation on battlefields in Russia, North Africa, Italy and Western Europe as well-trained and tough opponents, ferociously motivated by ideology.
The Allied Experience
Interestingly, the Allies may have gained the most from the German success on Crete. According to U.S. Army Maj. Gen. James ‘Jumping Jim’ Gavin, the British captured the German doctrinal manual for paratrooper operations and immediately passed a copy along to Americans. That manual, with relatively few exceptions, was the basis for the training and preparation of Allied airborne forces. Besides providing a how-to guide, the German success on Crete also persuaded Allied military and political leaders that they would need airborne forces if they were going to successfully invade Europe. Thus began the laborious process of building up the airborne divisions that were to assault Hitler’s Festung Europa, or fortress Europe, in 1943 and 1944.
The first division-sized employment of Allied airborne forces came during Operation Husky, the invasion of Sicily, which began on July 10, 1943. While the landings succeeded, the drops were anything but a success. Gale force winds completely upset the navigation for the transport aircraft. Of 144 gliders carrying British infantry, only 54 landed in Sicily and only 12 near their objectives. An American force of 3,400 paratroopers was dropped all over the southeastern part of the island — 33 sticks in the British area, 53 near Gela and 127 in the neighborhood of the 45th Infantry Division. Only the 2nd Battalion of the 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment (PIR) was together when it landed — but 25 miles from its objective. Regardless of the lack of concentration, the American paratroopers immediately caused a massive headache for the defending Germans and Italians. As the official history suggests: ‘[B]ands of paratroopers were roaming through the rear areas of the coastal defense units, cutting enemy communications lines, ambushing small parties, and creating confusion among enemy commanders as to exactly where the main airborne landing had taken place.’ Perhaps most important, some of these small groups of paratroopers were able to delay the deployment of the Hermann Göring Panzer Division against the Allied landings at Gela.
To the east, despite its small size, a party of British paratroopers seized Ponte Grande, but proved too few to prevent the Italian defenders from regaining the bridge. By the morning of the second day, both the British and Americans had a firm foothold on the eastern and southern shores of the island. Only at Gela were the Germans putting significant pressure on American troops. As a result George S. Patton ordered that the 504th Regimental Combat Team be dropped in to reinforce the line. That order led to one of the worst incidents of friendly fire during World War II. Despite careful efforts at coordination to ensure that the U.S. Navy would not fire on the incoming aircraft, the troop carrier formations came under intense anti-aircraft fire from the Allied fleet off Gela.
Allied naval and merchant units had been under attack by formations of Ju-88s and other Axis aircraft all day, including a major raid that ended immediately before the troop carrier aircraft arrived overhead. The slow-flying formations, clearly illuminated by a quarter moon, were sitting ducks for anxious naval gunners. Once one ill-disciplined gun crew opened up, everyone in the fleet, on the beaches and in the landing zones fired. It was mass slaughter. By the time it was over, the troop carriers had lost 23 out of 144 aircraft dispatched, with a further 37 aircraft badly damaged. Six of the aircraft shot down had their full load of paratroopers on board. Altogether, the 504th lost 81 dead, 132 wounded and 16 missing. Under intense anti-aircraft fire the transport crews once again dropped paratroopers all over southeastern Sicily by evening on the 12th the regiment still only numbered 37 officers and 518 men.
The difficulties encountered in mass parachute drops in Sicily did not deter the continuation of the buildup of Allied airborne forces. In an era when military organizations and political leaders were more willing to accept casualties than is the case today, senior officers such as Dwight D. Eisenhower, Patton and Sir Alan Brooke wrote off the high casualty rates and flawed employment to a lack of experience rather than to a flawed concept. Moreover, the successful reinforcement of the Salerno bridgehead by a regiment of the 82nd Airborne Division in a short period of time also helped to strengthen the idea that paratrooper formations could be very useful in future military operations.
The great moment for the Allied airborne forces came with Operation Overlord in June 1944. Their contribution to that effort alone more than justified the considerable resources that both the British and U.S. armies had poured into development of airborne tactics and training.
At the end of 1943, the Allies made a major command shift. The team that had been running the war in the Mediterranean was brought to the British Isles to plan and execute the great invasion of France. Eisenhower became the supreme Allied commander, with British Air Chief Marshal Sir Arthur Tedder as his deputy. Field Marshal Bernard Law Montgomery returned from the Mediterranean as well, to assume control of the initial phase of ground operations.
When they arrived in England, Eisenhower and his deputies inherited a scheme that was largely driven by what were thought to be the available resources. The initial plan for the invasion called for a three-division amphibious landing, supported by the drop of one airborne division. Both Eisenhower and Montgomery found the planning assumption of a four-division attack completely unacceptable. They even implied that they were not willing to command the invasion unless those numbers were substantially increased. They got their way. The Combined Chiefs of Staff found the logistical and amphibious resources to increase the invasion force to a six-division landing force — three American, two British and one Canadian — supported by a drop of three airborne divisions.
The proposal for a three-division airborne drop almost immediately resulted in a considerable fight between the overall commanders of Allied operations in support of the invasion, with Air Chief Marshal Sir Trafford Leigh-Mallory on one side and Montgomery and Eisenhower on the other. Leigh-Mallory argued, not very tactfully, that the paratroopers were going to be slaughtered by the Germans. According to him they would suffer upward of 95 percent casualties.
Eisenhower countered with his belief that the airborne assault at night would not suffer such a high casualty rate, but that it did not matter what the casualty rate was so long as the airborne troops accomplished their mission. As the supreme Allied commander, he got his way. But that argument brought a special poignancy to his visit to the members of the 101st Airborne Division on June 5, 1944. As he talked to the young paratroopers, Eisenhower was well aware that he might be sending all those men to their deaths.
What exactly was to be the mission of the American 82nd and 101st Airborne and the British 6th Airborne? The British airborne troops had perhaps the most crucial mission in terms of Normandy’s geography. They were to seize the solid ground on the east side of the Orne River, while a specially trained gliderborne force was to seize the bridges over the Caen Canal and Orne at Benouville to achieve a linkup with the amphibious landings. The control of that ground, because of the swamps and marshy terrain lying farther east, would mean that the Germans could attack the British and Canadian beaches from the south, but not from the east. And that one direction — to the south — was more than enough to keep the Canadians busy when the murderous juvenile delinquents of the 12th SS Panzer Division ‘Hitlerjügend‘ arrived. The task of the American paratroopers was similar to that of the British: They were to keep the Germans off the backs of the soldiers making the Utah Beach landing and disrupt German communications throughout western Normandy.
The drops more than accomplished their mission and — to use that dreadful military euphemism — at ‘an acceptable cost.’ The British were luckier in that their drops were more concentrated, while the glider attack on the Caen Canal Bridge — remembered forever afterward as ‘Pegasus Bridge’ — and the Orne River Bridge succeeded beyond the planners’ wildest expectations. By late morning the commandos of Simon Fraser, Lord Lovat, had linked up with the 6th Airborne and the hard ground on the east side of the Orne was relatively secure.
The American paratroopers were less lucky in that, due to weather, bad navigation and German anti-aircraft fire, the troop carrier pilots dropped them all over Normandy. While that may have had a direct impact on their cohesion as fighting forces, the small groups of paratroopers spread havoc and confusion throughout the Norman countryside. In particular, their actions distracted the attention of German commanders away from the landings, including that on Omaha Beach. Moreover, enough paratroopers landed near where they were supposed to that the airborne was able to accomplish its basic missions — Lieutenant Dick Winters’ assault on the German battery at Brécourt Manor near the Utah Beach landing site being a notable example.
Once they had accomplished their mission, the paratroopers were supposed to be withdrawn in preparation for their next mission. They were not. The two American divisions stayed on line well into June and took terrible casualties. The British 6th Airborne Division remained even longer, suffering so many losses that it was not available in September for the Holland operation.
Operation Market-Garden, the failed attempt to liberate much of the Netherlands and seize a direct route into northern Germany, was the greatest airborne operation in history. But it was an ill-fated undertaking from the outset. The planning began just after Montgomery had stopped the advance of the XXX Corps north of Antwerp. An advance of just another 10 kilometers would have put the whole of the German Fifteenth Army in the bag and prevented most of that army’s participation in the late September battles. As early as September 5 and 6, Ultra decrypts had uncovered the fact that the Germans were planning to redeploy the 9th and 10th SS Panzer divisions in the Arnhem area for rest and refit — a fact that the Dutch underground and aerial reconnaissance confirmed during the week immediately before the operation was to begin.
The final ingredient in the recipe for disaster was the appointment of Lt. Gen. Frederick ‘Boy’ Browning, the worst kind of supercilious British officer, to overall command of the operation. Browning received the appointment over the far more experienced American Maj. Gen. Matthew Ridgway, one of the war’s great divisional commanders, for reasons that to this day are not clear. Browning’s position in the British army was largely due to British prejudice based on tradition and prestige: Alan Brooke, chief of the Imperial General Staff, apparently felt the need to appoint a Guardsman to a corps command.
As the countdown to the start date of September 17, 1944, continued, the Allies seemed to provide their own obstacles to success. The more experienced American 101st and 82nd Airborne divisions were assigned easier roles in seizing the bridges on the way to Arnhem, and the most difficult task was left to the British 1st Airborne Division, which had no combat experience. Planners for the 1st Airborne Division then let the RAF air transport commander talk them out of using the fields immediately south of Arnhem as the main drop zone, because of German anti-aircraft gun concentrations. Instead the 1st Airborne dropped into areas that were six miles from their target. General Gavin later commented that if he had been in charge of the Arnhem drop, he would have taken the RAF’s refusal to drop the troops closer all the way to Eisenhower. Moreover, there was not enough air transport to carry the whole division, so it was decided that only half would drop the first day and half the second day. The lack of sufficient airlift was made even worse by Browning’s decision that he and his headquarters would fly in by glider on the first day and would require no fewer than 34 gliders, all of which came out of the hide of the combat forces. Finally, annoyed at one of his intelligence officers for squawking about the possibility that the German armor might be present in force in the Arnhem area, Browning fired the offending officer and then failed to pass along his warning to the 1st Airborne, which might at least have taken along more anti-tank mines as a precaution if it had been notified of that threat.
The errors continued when the jump was made on the 17th. One of the German commanders in the immediate area was General Kurt Student, the German airborne pioneer, who quickly recognized what the Allies were up to. His Fingerspitzengefuhl (hunch) was soon reinforced when German troops recovered the plans for the operation that an American lieutenant colonel (probably part of Browning’s headquarters) had carried with him on a glider that crashed. None of the British radios worked on landing, and Maj. Gen. Roy Urquhart, the British 1st Airborne’s commander, got trapped in Arnhem while his colonels argued about who should be in charge.
Despite all the command failures and mishaps, the performance of the airborne troops was magnificent. Two moments in the fighting stand out in my mind: the holding of the north end of the Arnhem bridge by Colonel John Frost’s 2nd Parachute Battalion of the 1st Airborne and the seizure of the main bridge over the Waal River at Nijmegen by the 82nd Airborne’s 504th Parachute Infantry.
However, there was not much that fighting skill could do to overcome the effects of planning incompetence and bad luck. The troops from the German Fifteenth Army caused nothing but headaches as the British XXX Corps drove north to link up with the isolated airborne divisions and secure the land route over the Rhine. British armor simply did not move with the requisite speed. As always, the Germans reacted with the audacity and ruthlessness that their doctrine called for. By the time that the Guards Armored Division reached Arnhem, all that could be done was to pull out the remnants of the British 1st Airborne Division, which had suffered more than 8,000 casualties, a stark contrast to the 1,500 casualties that XXX Corps had suffered in its too leisurely drive north.
As Allan Millett and I have suggested in our book, A War to Be Won: Fighting the Second World War, 1937-1945, ‘Market-Garden’s dismal showing reflected the systemic and conceptual mistakes of Allied leaders, their inability to grasp war on the operational level, and the inherent difficulties of the Western Front in September 1944. In the largest sense Montgomery’s strategy was territorial in nature, aimed at gaining a bridgehead over the Rhine and then fighting a battle on the north German plain. But there was no discernable operational objective….’
The Final Jump
The Allied airborne divisions were to experience considerable fighting over the remainder of the war, but with the exception of the great airborne drop in support of Montgomery’s crossing of the Rhine against negligible resistance, those battles did not involve airborne operations. The one great battle that did not occur was the grudge football match between the 101st and the 82nd, which was scheduled for late December, but was called off for the obvious reason that the divisions were the only reserves available to the Allies when the Germans attacked in the Ardennes on December 16, 1944. So what did the airborne forces achieve in World War II? From the German point of view, airborne troops were a cheap investment that yielded significant dividends, particularly in a psychological sense. Their military role in the 1940 campaigns was impressive. The 1941 Crete invasion was costly, but it was of considerable strategic importance. The operation denied the British the use of a very important base from which they could have attacked the Romanian oil fields. On the Allied side, the resources expended on the development of airborne forces were considerable — but then the Americans had plenty of resources to expend. The airborne’s contribution to the success of the Normandy landing was impressive and important. For the first two days it provided a shield that allowed the reinforcement and expansion of the beachheads to go forward with very little interference from the Germans.
But in the largest sense the spirit of the airborne represented the determination of the American and British people not to allow tyranny to hold sway over the great cities and homes of European civilization. And as we stand at the dawn of the 21st century, we should not forget the cost that those young men paid to guarantee our freedom. For some their reward was a burial plot in a far-off land for others it was the burden of terrible memories and the pain of never-healed wounds for still others it was the pain of losing friends and family members. Those ‘bands of brothers’ paid a price for us that is our burden and our children’s burden. Let us never forget.
This article was written by Williamson Murray and originally appeared in the March 2004 issue of World War II.
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Bergen-Belsen Concentration Camp: History & Overview
Bergen-Belsen was a concentration camp near Hanover in northwest Germany, located between the villages of Bergen and Belsen. Built in 1940, it was a prisoner-of-war camp for French and Belgium prisoners. In 1941, it was renamed Stalag 311 and housed about 20,000 Russian prisoners. The POW portion of the camp remained in operation until January 1945.
The camp changed its name to Bergen-Belsen and was converted into a concentration camp in 1943. Jews with foreign passports were kept there to be exchanged for German nationals imprisoned abroad, although very few exchanges were made. About 200 Jews were allowed to immigrate to Palestine and about 1,500 Hungarian Jews were allowed to immigrate to Switzerland, both took place under the rubric of exchanges for German nationals.
Bergen-Belsen mainly served as a holding camp for the Jewish prisoners. The camp was divided into eight sections, a detention camp, two womens camps, a special camp, neutrals camps, “star” camp (mainly Dutch prisoners who wore a Star of David on their clothing instead of the camp uniform), Hungarian camp and a tent camp. It was designed to hold 10,000 prisoners, however, by the wars end more than 60,000 prisoners were detained there, due to the large numbers of those evacuated from Auschwitz and other camps from the East. Tens of thousands of prisoners from other camps came to Bergen-Belsen after agonizing death marches. The POW camp was converted to a women's camp (Grosses Frauenlager) in January 1945 after a large influx of female prisoners evacuate from other camps.
Conditions in the camp were good by concentration camp standards, and most prisoners were not subjected to forced labor. However, beginning in the spring of 1944 the situation deteriorated rapidly. In March, Belsen was redesignated an Ehrholungslager [Recovery Camp], where prisoners of other camps too sick to work were brought, though none received medical treatment. As the German Army retreated in the face of the advancing Allies, the concentration camps were evacuated and their prisoners sent to Belsen. The facilites in the camp were unable to accommodate the sudden influx of thousands of prisoners and all basic services - food, water and sanitation - collapsed, leading to the outbreak of disease. Anne Frank and her sister, Margot, died of typhus in March 1945, along with other prisoners in a typhus epidemic.
While Bergen-Belsen contained no gas chambers, an estimated 50,000 people died of starvation, overwork, disease, brutality and sadistic medical experiments. By April 1945, more than 60,000 prisoners were incarcerated in Belsen in two camps located 1.5 miles apart. Camp No. 2 was opened only a few weeks before the liberation on the site of a military hospital and barracks.
Members of the British Royal Artillery 63rd Anti-Tank Regiment liberated Belsen on April 15, 1945, and arrested its commandant, Josef Kramer. The relief operation which followed was directed by Brigadier H. L. Glyn-Hughes, Deputy Director of Medical Services of the Second Army.
As the first major camp to be liberated by the allies, the event received a lot of press coverage and the world saw the horrors of the Holocaust. Sixty-thousand prisoners were present at the time of liberation. Afterward, about 500 people died daily of starvation and typhus, reaching nearly 14,000. Mass graves were made to hold the thousands of corpses of those who perished.
Between April 18 and April 28, approximately 10,000 dead were buried. At first the SS guards were made to collect and bury the bodies, but eventually the British had to resort to bulldozers to push the thousands of bodies into mass graves.
Evacuation of the camp began on April 21. After being deloused, inmates were transferred to Camp No. 2, which had been converted into a temporary hospital and rehabilitation camp. As each of the barracks was cleared, they were burned down to combat the spread of typhus. On May 19, evacuation was completed and two days later the ceremonial burning of the last barracks brought to an end the first stage of the relief operations. In July, 6,000 former inmates were taken by the Red Cross to Sweden for convalescence, while the rest remained in the newly-established displaced person (DP) camp to await repatriation or emigration.
In 1946, Belsen served as the largest DP camp in Europe for more than 12,000 Jews it was the only exclusively Jewish camp in the British zone of Germany. The refugees formed a camp committee within three days of liberation. Political, cultural and religious activities were organized by the committee, such as searching for relatives and spiritual rehabilitation. Jewish family life was renewed, more than twenty marriages were performed daily during the first few months. More than 2,000 children were born to survivors. An elementary school was founded in July 1945 and, by 1948, 340 students attended the school. In December 1945, a high school was started and was partly staffed by the Jewish brigade. A kindergarten, orphanage, yeshiva and religious school were also formed. ORT sponsored a vocational training school. The DPs also wrote the main Jewish newspaper, Unzer Shtimme (Our Voice), in the British zone.
Many of the DPs wanted to immigrate to Palestine, however, they faced strict British immigration policies. Clandestine military training sessions held by the Haganah were performed at the camp in December 1947 to prepare DPs for immigration to Palestine. Free departure from the camp was prohibited until 1949.
By the middle of 1950, most of the DPs had left and, by 1951, the camp was empty. Most of Bergen-Belsens DPs immigrated to Israel, the United States and Canada.
The camps SS commandant, Josef Kramer, known as the “Beast of Belsen” was tried and found guilty by a British military court and was subsequently hanged. Forty-five staff members were tried, fourteen were acquitted.
Today, nothing remains of the camp because the British immediately burned down every structure to prevent the further spread of typhus. What is left is a graveyard, “the largest Jewish cemetery in Western Europe,” according to Renee Ghert-Zand. She notes that “there are no grave markers or monuments save for a small number of symbolic ones, placed in recent years by family members or memorial foundations to supplement a number of official monuments erected on the site in the late 1940s and early ’50s.” Nearby, another cemetery was built after liberation as the final resting place for 4,500 Jews and Christians. Most of the graves are umarked, and several of those with grave stones say only, “Here lies an unknown deceased.”
Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain paid a historic visit to the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in June 2015. The Queen visited the camp on the last day of an official state visit to Germany to pay respects to the individuals exterminated there by the Nazis during the Holocaust. It was the first time that the 89-year-old Monarch had visited a concentration camp. The Queen met with British army veterans, who shared horror stories of their first impressions upon arrival at the camp in April 1945. Official sources reported that the Queen had a “personal and reflective” visit to the camp, accompanied by her husband, Prince Philip.
A documentation center and museum can now also be visited at the site.
Sources: U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum
Simon Wiesenthal Center Multimedia Learning Center Online
Georgia Tech Library
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
“Rebirth after the Holocaust: The Bergen-Belsen Displaced Persons Camp, 1945-1950”
Renee Ghert-Zand, “At Bergen-Belsen, where tens of thousands perished… and others began their lives,” Times of Israel, (April 27, 2015).
Chana, Jas. “The Queen visits Bergen-Belsen,” Tablet, (June 30, 2015)
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