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February 4, 2016

Incredible Photos That Show the Reality of the Death Camps at the End of World War II

In the spring of 1945, photographs and witness accounts from the liberation of camps like Bergen-Belsen afforded the disbelieving world outside of Europe its first glimpse into the abyss of Nazi depravity. These incredible photographs below were taken by LIFE photographer George Rodger in April 1945 when he accompanied the British 11th Armoured Division (the fabled “Black Bull”) into the camp just days earlier.

German boy walking down a dirt road lined w. the corpses of hundreds of prisoners who have died of starvation nr. Bergen xtermination camp.

British doctor using DDT while delousing newly freed female prisoners at the Bergen Belsen concentration camp.

Female prisoners in the newly liberated Bergen Belsen concentration camp.

Female prisoners sifiting through garbage for food at the recently liberated Bergen Belsen concentration camp.

Portrait of Magdalene Kessal, 25, a domestic servant who served as SS girl at Bergen-Belsen concentration camp.

New internees of the freshly liberated Bergen Belsen concentration camp includ this pair of French brothers, Charles and Louis Perret, wearing white boots they took from the Germans.

German guard being forced to put bodies of prisoners into a mass grave at the Bergen Belsen concentration camp.

British doctor administers delousing treatment of DDT up the skirt of an embarrased looking female prisoner who is among the 60,000 prisoners just released from Bergen Belsen concentration camp after its liberation by Allied forces.

Weak and dying prisoners stretch out on dirt bank behind Bergen Belsen barracks after the concentration camp was liberated by Allied troops.

German SS soldier who passed out from carrying corpses being carried by two others at the Bergen Belsen concentration camp.

Female SS soldiers filling mass grave w. corpses while under guard by British soldiers at the Bergen Belsen concentration camp.

Corpses lying on ground at the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp.

Liberated women at concentration camp prepare for DDT dusting against vermin.

Dead and dying prisoners at the newly liberated Bergen Belsen concentration camp.

Annalese Kohlmann, former Nazi female guard noted for her cruelty, now a prisoner in the recently liberated Bergen Belsen concentration camp.

Male & female German SS soldiers being forced to load corpses onto trucks under British guard at the Bergen Belsen concentration camp.

British doctors using DDT to delouse newly liberated prisoners at the Bergen Belsen concentration camp.

Newly liberated prisoners waiting on line for food at the Bergen Belsen concentration camp.

Newly liberated prisoners at the Bergen Belsen concentration camp lining up for food shortly after Allied forces overran the area.

Female German camp guards being forced to unload truck full of the bodies of deceased priosners at the Bergen Belsen concentration camp.

Body of a dead inmate of the Bergen Belsen concentration camp shortly after the liberation of the camp by Allied troops.

(Photos: George Rodger—The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)


  1. this is rilly sad

  2. I love the photo of the British soldier giving one of the bitches a kick in the arse…

  3. It always breaks my heart, seeing photos of the Holocaust.


    1. I’d visited the camps in Germany during my three years in the military and have read many books on the subject. About six years ago a friend offered to take me on a sightseeing trip to Auschwitz and Auschwitz Birkenau. And despite all the years that have passed both places and their frightening exhibitions sent uncontrollable shivers down my spine. It’s hard to comprehend how the nazis managed to carry out the atrocities, but the evidence therein the camps and associate buildings is convincing, yes it happened. I remember as a twelve year old boy seeing the pictures in our daily papers has lived with me all of my life and I have just started my ninety first year. I’m still of the opinion that the whole of the German population should have been obligated and their country razed to the ground.

    2. Chris R. I understand the hatred of such cruelty, my mother 96 now. In 1939 she was 12 years old living on the southern coast of England. If the allied had done that to the Germans and their people we would be no different than them.....would we. What I find so hard to comprehend is how many got on board with that mad man. Stalin was worse, he starved to death 6 million of his own people.

  5. It sickens me to know that people were treated worse than animals. Scum of the earth standing by and believe they were part of the superior race.

    1. Humans nor animals should be treated abominably.

  6. Und wenn man bedenkt das es immer noch Bürger und Bürgerinnen gibt die es leugnen und als Propagada abtun, schäme ich mich dafür. Jedoch müssen wir zur Normalität zurückfinden und uns nicht immer von allen sagen lassen müssen wir hätten eine geschichtliche Schuld zu tragen. Denn wer verurteilt die anderen Nationen für ihre Völkermord, die Amerikaner mit den Ureinwohnern, die Niederländer, die Franzosen, die Russen auch die Engländer in ihren Kollonialgebieten oder gar die Türken??? Keiner, denn die entscheidende Tatsache ist; die deutschen haben den Krieg verloren und die anderen waschen sich dadurch rein, siehe auch die Israeliten wie sie mit den Palästinenser umgehen, dies ist die moderne Art des Nationalsozialismus in meinen A.ugen

    1. While I agree that Germany has to be allowed to move forward and absorb the past. And I agree that the World has not been short of atrocities since, but rarely has mass murder been organised on an industrial scale so I do not accept your comparisons as any kind of excuse. What would have happened if Germany had of won the war! At this point I am unaware of the Israeli's creating factories in order to wipe out Palestinians and a political solution would always have been there, neither have chosen it... Violence begets violence.

  7. My father who was a pilot Col. in WWII wrote a letter to his sister- in-law saying that he had talked to a friend whose unit had liberated one of the camps and described what it was like. Their unit commander went to the town nearby and forced all the residents to go to the camp and help bury the piled up dead. The Mayor of that town later hung himself. He added in the letter" Ginny, everything horrible thing you might have heard about these atrocities is absolutely true."

  8. I cannot comprehend a situation in which the Holocaust could start and be continued for years by a country's institutions. A single madman, in the right place at the right time under the right circumstances created this. Where was the German media? My fear, is that there arises another situation in which there is no identifiable madman, and that the 'government' operates in such a way - to eradicate an identifiable group of people. The only protection against such a situation would be a functioning democracy, with a functioning, responsible media, independent of the government.

    1. Hitler did away with the media right away. The only thing in print was approved Nazi news (propaganda.)

  9. It’s incredible that anyone survived those camp!
    The Russians made the Germans pay dearly for what they did!

  10. my father was one of the first British officers into Belsen when it was liberated, he lived with daily nightmares ,of the sight that he saw, till the day he died in early 2000's...tragic

  11. My uncle was one of the British soldiers there




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