Kimbolton Students Visit Bergen-Belsen
Peter Bayes and Georgina Hunt yesterday travelled to the site of the former Bergen-Belsen Concentration Camp in Germany to join survivors commemorating the 70th anniversary of its liberation by British troops.
Kimbolton students Peter Bayes and Georgina Hunt yesterday travelled to the memorial site of the former Bergen-Belsen Concentration Camp to join survivors commemorating the 70th anniversary of its liberation by British troops. Around 200,000 people were deported to the Nazi camp in northern Germany during World War II, with more than 70,000 believed to have died there, including the 15-year-old diarist Anne Frank.
The Lower Sixth Formers were part of a 220-strong delegation from the Holocaust Educational Trust, which aims to educate young people from every background about the Holocaust and the important lessons to be learned for today. They attended two solemn international ceremonies alongside survivors and representatives of the countries and army units involved, including German President Mr Joachim Gauck, The Duke of Gloucester, and leaders of Jewish groups such as The Association of Jewish Ex-Servicemen and Women.
This year’s service at the Jewish Cemetery – in what became the Displaced Persons Camp after the liberation on 15 April 1945 and is now a British Foreign Garrison – was particularly poignant. Not only was the event likely to be the last significant anniversary marked with eyewitnesses still present, but also the garrison is shortly to be handed over to Germany, so it was the last time the service will be organised by British groups.
Kimbolton teacher Mr Ben Mills, who accompanied the students on the trip, said: “We all had our eyes opened and it was an immensely moving and thought-provoking experience. Both the site of the camp, now recognisable only by its mass graves, and the services encouraged us to reflect on the Holocaust and consider all those affected by it and indeed its place in history.”