Auction Date: 2/09/2014 at 01pm
WWII – Belsen personal account of the liberation of Belsen, produced in typescript on a spirit duplicator, and signed ‘Written by a British Padre April 1945’ 2.24pp foolscap, together with a printed official report on the liberation of Belsen, 13pp foolscap. Rare. It is believed that no more than 50 copies of the Padre’s account were produced, given the equipment which produced it. This is a strong image and therefore it is believed to be one of the first to be produced. The author remains anonymous, but in the official report which accompanies his account, it is noted that the liberation of the camp was by 8 Corps of the Second Army on April 15th 1945, so it is likely that the Padre was with that unit. Further research will doubtless identify the likely author. The account is, to say the least, harrowing: ‘This camp has dealt in one commodity in a very large way that commodity is DEATH. It is the only product of the fiends who ran it...yesterday I went around the camp with a Doctor...we estimated that there were 2,000 bodies lying on the ground- there will be more tomorrow...I never thought in my wildest ravings that I should ever bury even on hundred people at the same time. Tomorrow with a Roman Catholic and a Jewish Chaplain, I am burying over 4,000 people in a communal grave. It cannot be visualised...’ The official report is no less harrowing, but provides information on the different situations of the inmates to the lavish conditions provided for the German guards: ‘...at a distance of about one mile was a magnificent barrack area with every possible facility, good canteens, cookhouses, excellent garages and stabling, a cinema, good married quarters and an excellent officers’ mess...’ The official report also carries a ground plan of the camp as well as illustrations of the conditions found there- and a photograph of the notorious Beast of Belsen, Kramer.