Start of the Stony Path at the Documentation Centre, 2007. Photo by Klemens Ortmeyer. Bergen-Belsen Memorial (Lower Saxony Memorials Foundation)
Polish and Jewish survivors erected monuments in the grounds of the former camp very early on. On 25 September 1945, Jewish survivors unveiled a provisional wooden monument between the mass graves. This monument was dedicated during the First Congress of Liberated Jews in the British Zone. Six months later, on the first anniversary of the camp’s liberation in April 1946, a stone monument with Hebrew and English inscriptions was unveiled. The admonition chosen for the monument by the committee was “Earth, conceal not the blood shed on thee!”. A Jewish memorial ceremony is held at this monument every April.
On 2 November 1945, the Catholic holiday of All Souls’ Day, Polish survivors unveiled a wooden cross on the highest point in the grounds at the edge of the mass graves. The cross has been replaced several times, but it retains its original size and shape to this day.
In addition to these monuments, friends and relatives of the victims soon began placing memorial stones and wooden crosses near the mass graves in remembrance of those who were buried anonymously. A separate area was created for new commemorative signs like this in 2001. In 1999, a gravestone was placed near the Jewish monument in memory of the sisters Anne and Margot Frank.
In 1946, the British military government ordered a monument to be erected to the memory of victims from all nations. Representatives of the British authorities and an international commission decided on an obelisk and a wall of inscriptions. Today, this wall bears inscriptions from many of the nations who lost citizens in Bergen-Belsen, as well as inscriptions in Yiddish, Hebrew and Latin. Words commemorating the Sinti victims of Bergen-Belsen were added in 1981, and three bronze plaques have been added to the monument since 1999.