The Relief of Belsen

The Relief of Belsen

Nowhere was science more important for the eradication and saving of human life than during what we now call the Holocaust and the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp is synonymous with that infamous event.

It is estimated that some 50,000 Jews perished in Bergen-Belsen as they suffered horrifically squalid, inhumane conditions. Many of these inmates died of disease, the most potent killer being typhus, a disease which thrives in unhygienic conditions. Among the dead was the diarist Anne Frank, who had died from typhus just weeks before the camp was liberated on 15 April 1945.

The camp was liberated by British and Canadian forces and when they arrived Jewish prisoners were dying at a rate of 500 a day, most from typhus. Their corpses scattered the camp, piled up and lying unburied in the same quarters as those still barely-hanging on to life.

Yet the Allied liberation of the camp would not mark the end of their suffering. As word started going around the Allied forces that the camp was rife with typhus, the prisoners in the Concentration camp soon found themselves forced to remain in the place where so many of their comrades had died, remaining contained to prevent any infected inmates escaping.

A local truce allowed 3,000 German and Hungarian troops to help carry through this order. What followed was the start of a humanitarian catastrophe as less-than 20 medics were tasked with ensuring the survival of as many of the 40,000 inmates at Belsen as possible. This is their story.

The Relief of Belsen was directed by Justin Hardy. A feature-length TV film, it combines the history of World War Two with the study of medicine, following in the footsteps of the often-overlooked but vitally-important people who served in the British Army during World War Two - the medics and nurses - and the unbelievable task they faced at Belsen.

The Relief of Belsen was produced in 2007 and features a celebrity cast including Iain Glen (Game of Thrones), Jemma Redgrave (Lassie) and Tobias Menzies (Game of Thrones, Outlander).

 Read more Read less Duration: 101 Min