originally posted by: foxhound2459
a reply to: morgankesh62
Ok Morgan found some more information on the Russian POW camps,
Makes grim reading to be captured by the German army at the onset of WW2,
I wonder what would have happened to the lads at Dunkirk if they hadn't been brought home to Blighty by the Armada ?
Bergen-Belsen camp was significantly expanded from June 1941 as Germany prepared to invade the Soviet Union. It was transformed into an independent
camp known as Stalag XI C (311) which was intended to hold 20,000 Soviet POWs. Two other so-called “Russian camps” were set up nearby: Stalag XI D
(321) at Oerbke and Stalag X D (310) at Wietzendorf. Around 41,000 Soviet POWs had died in these camps of starvation, exhaustion and disease by the
end of March 1942, and a total of 50,000 Soviet POWs died there by the end of the war.
Stalag XI C (311) was disbanded in the summer of 1943, and Bergen-Belsen became a branch camp of Stalag XI B at Fallingbostel.
Anyone ever visiting the concentration-camp/-museum Bergen-Belsen (NB: that museum only got going when Reagan wanted to pay visit to the camp, mid
80's (so long for Germans dealing with their history!)) should definitely also visit the Russian POW graveyard & memorial site; take the small exit
gate behind the large stone monument of the main site (west-side, IIRC), then walk about 1km over sandy road, finally into forest, then graveyard.
(can also be accessed by car from the tank ring road, but the parking lot has been abandoned/neglected/sealed-off by a barrier (from visit in 2010,
Dutch reunion of 41 tankbatallion in 2010))
Be aware, this (relatively small) Russian POW graveyard (location Fallingbostel IIRC) is effectively even more sinister & grim than the main site.
No more than a handfull of persons buried there are ID'd.
Hardly a tomb-stone present.
Hardly anyone visiting.
When I was there in 2010, the annual ceremony, by the Russian ambassador (more likely just a consul), could still be seen, by the remnants of the
flower ornament, toppled over. Nobody gives a damn, 363 days a year, not even the Russians themselves.
(this was my turning point in realising that all that 'wounded Russian soul' was just a damn perverted hoax, only meant to control the plebs by
stirring up history....never was I proven so right by recent history!)
(and yes, I did watch that madness on Russian soil too; each town and city having a monument, with fresh flowers; I drove many thousands of kilometers
into Russia, until turning south at Ulan Ude, towards Kachta, into Mongolia (at which point all 100 members of our oldtimer-convoy started kissing the
ground (and gobbling up the instant-food the Mongolian tourguides organised for us; such a relief after more than a month of Russian 'food' (breakfast
being the largest horror/torture)).
Btw, haven't read all 16 pages yet, this time, but I might have read them before, years ago, in the aftermath of this 2010 reunion, when I started to
become really curious about the entire history of the camp (much more than when I served there in Dutch military, between 1988-6 and 1989-6.
(yes, damnit, that Berlin Wall nearly fell on my heels....8-))
Anyway, somewhere in those past 15 pages there might/should also be a note about the eiry silence in camp Bergen-Belsen.
Just go sit there on a bench, at the perimeter of the camp, near the forest, and just listen (ideally in summer).
No insects, no birds, nothing.
(there is a supposedly rational explanation, but the mystic/morbid side of me was happy not finding that rationalisation for quite some time
And for the search-engines:
Greetings to any Dutch collegues of that time, draft-batch 88-2, 41 tank battalion, SSV-GNK (StafStafVerzorging, GeNeesKundige Troepen (staff/medics;
medic/driver myself, armoured YPR765 track)).