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Belsen: German camp personnel identify themselves; British officers describe conditions; Hadassah Rosensaft speaks

Film | Accession Number: 1991.251.1 | RG Number: RG-60.0060 | Film ID: 9

Testimony about camp given by former inmates, SS men and women, in German, Polish, and English.

MCU, Dr. Fritz Klein speaks in German about his experience in Bergen Belsen. In BG, SS continue to bury corpses in pit. Same introduction in CU. MCU, Hela Goldstein speaks in German. Commanding Officer speaks in English, stands in front of chalkboard graph, "Most unpleasant task has been making SS, of which there are about 50, bury the dead...buried about 17,000...expect to bury about half as much again. When we came here, the conditions were indescribable. The people had had no food for six days, and were eating turnips." Young British officer Gunner James Illingworth, "Today is 14th April 1945. My name is Gunner Illingworth and I live in Cheshire. I'm at present in Belsen camp doing guard duty on the SS men. The things at this camp are beyond describing. When you actually see them for yourselves, you know what you're fighting for here. Pictures in the paper can't describe it at all. The things they've committed, well, nobody would think they were human at all." MLS pan across path to Major P.J. Fox, RAMC (medical officer), standing in front of Red Cross jeep, describes his responsibility in camp and the enormity of the medical task. MCU woman in light coat (Dr. Hadassah Bimko, later Rosensaft) speaks in German, describing conditions in women's camp, medical experiments carried out on inmates. Behind her stands a docile, attentive group of women, all survivors. CU of her speaking. MS, man in beret and overcoat speaks in Polish about experiences as inmate. Same in MCU. Under rifle guard, SS throw, push, and kick bodies from the truck. Corpses, skeletal bodies. Reverend T.J. Stritch, Army chaplain, gives ID. Behind him is a pit with some bodies, "Never in my life have I seen such damnable ghastliness. This morning we buried over 5,000, we don't know who they are. Behind me you can see a pit which will contain another 5,000...All these deaths have been caused by systematic starvation and typhus and disease...because of the treatment meated out to these poor people by their SS guards and their SS chief. " Franz Hoessler, in CU, SS "Obersturmfuehrer oder Oberleutnant," speaks in German, identifying himself, giving his age as 33 and the date, 23 April 1945. Corpses of women in truck directly behind him. MCS Wilhelm Dorr, SS Unterscharfuehrer, identifies himself, gives his age as 24 and the date. Silent, brief shots. SS loading bodies onto truck from edge of woodsy area. British soldier. Friedrich Hoetzl, SS "Oberscharffuehrer aus Dortmund", 59 years old: bald, grungy from moving bodies. CU, UnterscharfĂĽhrer Arnold Wilmschen from Dinslaken/Niederrhein (near Duisburg in Germany), age 38, (long hair blowing in wind), identifies self in German. He spent 2 years in Belsen. CU, Herta Bothe SS Aufseherin (female overseer), briefly identifies self, gives birth date, 1921. Camera follows her as she walks past small crowd of survivors (looking somewhat restored to life bundled up in normal clothes). British soldier with pistol guards her (from behind). Pan of same survivors, some smiling at the camera.

LS, slow pan of "lecture" given to Burgermeisters, standing at edge of mass grave. Lots of cuts, clips are short. MS of male town leaders with heads bowed. MS, pan (from slightly elevated angle) of SS women in jackets and shirts listening; good front views. Includes Luisa Danz (front row left), Herta Ehlert (16:45:35 right rear), probably Charlotte Klein & Hildegard Hehnal. 16:45:45 Elevated shot of SS men in two rows, including Dr. Fritz Klein, row 1. 16:46:25 VCU 4 SS women. 3 men on ground, 1 crouching & vomiting. Disinterested soldiers next to him. Hela Goldstein screaming at SS men who are unloading mostly naked corpses and dumping them into pit, audio chaos, yelling the same commands that had been yelled to them as prisoners. British officer filming survivors shouting, mostly MLS. CU, British officer reads prepared statement in German into hand held microphone, denounces what happened, a "lecture" to German citizens.

Event:  April 23-24, 1945
Belsen, Germany
Accessed at United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, courtesy of Imperial War Museums
Record last modified: 2022-07-28 22:02:22
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