The Bergen-Belsen Displaced Persons Camp, 1945-1950

After their liberation by the British Army on 15 April 1945, the survivors of the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp were taken to the nearby former Wehrmacht barracks, where they received medical care.

The Allies created the legal status of “displaced persons” (DPs) for the former concentration camp prisoners and slave labourers who had been deported to Germany from all over Europe. They were entitled to special support from the Allies. After the majority of the survivors had returned to their countries of origin, mostly Poles and Jews remained in Bergen-Belsen. In the summer of 1945, two separate DP camps were established for them. At times, more than 10,000 people lived at the Polish DP camp, which was disbanded in the summer of 1946.

Up to 12,000 people lived at the Bergen-Belsen Jewish DP camp, which was disbanded in the summer of 1950, after most of the Jewish DPs had emigrated.

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Glyn Hughes Hospital

In the summer of 1945, patient numbers at the emergency hospital began to decrease and the British authorities were able to dissolve the provisional wards that had been set up in various buildings at the barracks. The remaining patients were treated at the former Wehrmacht hospital, located around one kilometre from the barracks.

In July 1945 the hospital was named after British medical officer Brigadier Hugh Llewellyn Glyn Hughes in recognition of his role in organising and implementing the first rescue and rehabilitation efforts immediately after the liberation.

The hospital had state-of-the-art facilities, an operating theatre, a dentistry department and several specialised wards, including one for tuberculosis and other infectious diseases. This fulfilled the patients‘ needs after their imprisonment. A gynaecological and a maternity ward were also added, and in February 1948 the inhabitants of the DP camp celebrated the birth of the 1000th child there. After the DP camp was disbanded, the British army used the hospital for a long time. It has been abandoned for about three decades now and has fallen into disrepair. The building is of special significance as a commemorative site for many survivors and especially for the many people who were born there.

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