“We could not separate them”; “For most of it, I have no words”

April 15, 2020


75 years ago today, April 15, 1945, British forces liberated Bergen-Belsen death camp. Above, Belsen survivor Masha Greenbaum with her granddaughter Daniella in Jerusalem in 2017.

Born in Kovno, Lithuania in 1927, Masha survived the Kovno Ghetto, the Narva slave labor camp in Estonia, and the Stutthof and Belsen concentration camps in Germany. (Photograph courtesy of Daniella Greenbaum.)

 

Among the many victims of Belsen were sisters Margot and Anne Frank. Above, a memorial stone placed for them at the site of the former camp.

 

IAN FORSYTH

Here are interviews with The Observer (the Sunday edition of The Guardian) and an interview published today with BBC Scotland, with Ian Forsyth.

Forsyth, now aged 96, was one of the first soldiers to arrive at the camp and says what he saw that day has haunted him for the past 75 years.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/apr/12/the-horrors-i-saw-still-wake-me-at-night-the-liberation-of-belsen-75-years-on

https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-scotland-51234466

 

RICHARD DIMBLEBY

As The Observer notes: “British troops found tens of thousands of emaciated and diseased prisoners alongside thousands of unburied corpses. The broadcaster Richard Dimbleby described the scene shortly after liberation. The BBC initially refused to play the report, unable to believe the scenes he recounted. It was finally broadcast only after Dimbleby threatened to resign… The liberation was not the end of the horror: more than 13,000 of the survivors died of disease in the following days.”

Here is Dimbleby’s radio report from Belsen that the BBC tried to suppress:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/archive/richard-dimbleby-describes-belsen/zvw7cqt

According to a poll last year, 3.5 million Britons don’t believe the Holocaust happened at all, and millions of others think it is exaggerated. In France, 20% of those aged 18-34 said they had never heard of the Holocaust; in Austria, the main perpetrator of the Holocaust alongside Germany, the figure was 12%.

 

BRITISH LIBERATORS

Here are a series of interviews conducted by London’s Imperial War Museum with other British soldiers who liberated Belsen.

https://www.iwm.org.uk/history/the-liberation-of-bergen-belsen

 

BELA DEKANY

I would also like to mention my friend (and subscriber to this email list) the outstanding musician Bela Dekany, a survivor of Bergen-Belsen. Born into a Hungarian-Jewish family, Bela lives in London and remains as intellectually sharp as ever. A very distinguished violinist, Bela was long time leader of the BBC Symphony Orchestra.

Here he is leading the BBC Symphony Orchestra as part of the BBC Proms at the Royal Albert Hall, London, September 9, 1990.

https://www.dailymotion.com/video/xpsjf4

 

“FOR MOST OF IT, I HAVE NO WORDS.”

April 11 marked the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Buchenwald death camp by US forces. Among the survivors was Elie Wiesel, aged 16.

CBS reporter Edward R. Morrow was the first reporter to arrive at the camp. “I have reported what I saw and heard, but only part of it. For most of it, I have no words,” he said.

You can listen to Morrow’s report here:

https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/irn1002172

As was the case with Belsen today, ceremonies to mark the 75th liberation were canceled due to coronavirus:

https://www.usnews.com/news/world/articles/2020-04-11/75th-anniversary-of-buchenwald-liberation-affected-by-virus

 

 

‘WE COULD NOT SEPARATE THEM’: CONCENTRATION CAMP LIBERATOR DAVID COHEN AND WIFE MURIEL DIE TOGETHER AT NURSING HOME

David Cohen was part of U.S. forces that helped liberated Ohrdruf concentration camp in April 1945.

He has passed away at the age of 102 with his wife (of 78 years) Muriel Cohen, age 97, at a Jewish Nursing Home in Longmeadow. His wife tested positive for coronavirus. He had not, but he refused to leave her as she died.

The photographs he took at the camp on the day it was liberated that day, of bodies stacked on top of each other, some charred and others with fresh bullet holes, form part of the permanent collection of the U.S. Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C.

Here is a short interview with David Cohen about the liberation of the camp, with some of the remarkable photos he took:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1U5dEEZxufs

Their daughters had not been able to see them since March 12 when the nursing home implemented a no-visitor policy in conjunction with government public health recommendations to help reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Staff at the nursing home said “We could not separate them,” after Muriel contracted coronavirus.

Their daughter said she had drawn solace from the fact a hospice nurse used her hands to serve as the link between David and Muriel’s hands as they died.

 


 




This table compiled from worldometer stats provides an indication of which democratic OECD countries are doing best to save lives. It shows deaths per 1m population due to Covid19. There are 10 European countries with worse records than the US. Figures are as of April 14.

Of course, some countries in this list such as Poland, Mexico, Turkey are likely leaving out some of the fatalities in an effort to keep the figures down, and the UK is not including fatalities in care homes.

Also: Unlike the UK and other west European countries, American states such as New York are including in their Covid fatality lists people who have not been tested for Covid but are presumed to have died partly as a result of it.

Testing is much more widespread in the US than in many other countries. This suggests that the actual death totals not only in countries with governments that greatly distort the figures such as China, Iran and North Korea, but also some West European countries, may in fact have overall Covid fatalities higher than the US.

 

Here are a few of the other articles I posted on Facebook in recent days:

The disgusting scapegoating and beating of Africans in China, as many Chinese blame Africans for coronavirus!

https://www.ft.com/content/48f199b0-9054-4ab6-aaad-a326163c9285

 

Coronavirus distancing may need to continue until 2022, say experts. Scientists say one-time lockdown will not bring pandemic under control.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/apr/14/coronavirus-distancing-continue-until-2022-lockdown-pandemic

 

An outrageous situation as bus drivers die of coronavirus in London.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8204393/Bus-drivers-coronavirus-symptoms-work-sick-pay-low.html

 

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