Military loading platform between Bergen and Belsen, 2008. Photo by Christian Wolpers. Bergen-Belsen Memorial (Lower Saxony Memorials Foundation)
Former DP Camp
The Theatre Tent Cemetery
In the four weeks following the liberation of the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, the British Army evacuated around 29,000 survivors to the nearby barracks complex and set up an emergency hospital in several of the barracks buildings with the help of civilian relief organisations. Thousands of liberated prisoners died there of the effects of their imprisonment. A special cemetery was established for these victims at the edge of the barracks complex. Because it was located near a large tent used for theatre performances, it was referred to as the “theatre tent cemetery”. By the end of 1945, around 4,500 Jews and gentiles from many different countries were buried in this cemetery. The dead from the Jewish DP camp were also buried there until 1950.
The Glyn Hughes Hospital
From the summer of 1945, only the former Wehrmacht hospital located around one kilometre from the barracks continued to be used as a hospital. In January 1948, the British military government declared this to be the central Jewish hospital for the British Zone. It was run by the Central Committee of Liberated Jews in the British Zone with the support of various aid organisations. The survivors named the hospital after Brigadier General Hugh Llewellyn Glyn Hughes, a British medical officer who had organised the first rescue operations after the liberation of the concentration camp. The state-of-the-art hospital even had a maternity ward which celebrated the birth of its 1000th child in 1948. This building is an important place of remembrance for many survivors, and particularly for many of the people who were born there. It has been empty for several years and has fallen into disrepair.
The former Wehrmacht officers’ mess – known as the Roundhouse by British soldiers because of its distinctive architecture – was used as a ward of the emergency hospital between April and the summer of 1945. From the late summer of 1945 to the closing of the DP camp in 1950, the building housed the offices of the Jewish Central Committee. The first and second Congress of Liberated Jews in the British Zone convened there in 1945 and 1947, and the Jewish and Polish camp administrations met there as well. Additionally, the Roundhouse was used for cultural events like concerts, lectures and exhibitions, and many weddings were celebrated in the banquet hall. This well-preserved building is significant to the commemoration of Jewish life after the Shoah.
These sites are located in the grounds of the British Hohne Camp and are not open to the public.