Tri-Service

Queen Visits Bergen-Belsen Camp

The Queen has spoken of the "horrific" scenes British forces faced when they liberated the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp as she visited...

The Queen has spoken of the "horrific" scenes British forces faced when they liberated the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp as she visited the notorious site.
 
At the camp in northern Germany where 70,000 people died from disease, starvation or brutal mistreatment the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh paid their respects by laying a wreath.
 
With quiet dignity and the minimum of protocol the royal couple toured the site which was razed to the ground and is now a museum and memorial to those who died during the Second World War.
 
Among those who perished at the site were Anne Frank and her sister Margot who died a few months before British troops walked through the gates and liberated those interned on April 15 1945.
 
The Queen, who is patron of the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust, had not visited a concentration camp before and it is believed she requested the trip, the last event of her four-day state visit to Germany.
 
Dr Jens-Christian Wagner, head of the Bergen-Belsen Memorial, gave the royal couple a guided tour and said the experience of visiting the site had been an emotional one for the Queen.
 
The Queen also met British survivors and liberators of Belsen including Captain Eric "Winkle" Brown, 96, and she asked him what sort of scene greeted him when he first arrived.
 
Mr Brown said "I told her this was just a field of corpses", and he said the Queen replied: "It must have been horrific really."
 
He added: "She was listening very carefully. I would say she was quite affected by the atmosphere here. You can't avoid it, can you?"
 
Shortly before the Queen left Germany hundreds of people came to say goodbye with British military families joining the crowds at a German Air Force base.