Sunderland commemorates 70 years since concentration camp prisoners were freed

Library

The Sunderland City Library and Arts Centre is hosting a talk commemorating the freeing of prisoners held in the Bergen Belsen concentration camp 70 years ago on April 15. 

Bergen Belsen is one of the few concentration camps to be freed by our own soldiers, and is the camp where the well-known Anne Frank died.

The camp was freed on April 15, 1945, and the talk will be held on the same date this year, making it exactly 70 years since the liberation.

John Sadler, a Military historian living in Newcastle, has been studying the Holocaust and teaching the subject for decades, and is giving the talk at the Arts Centre which will be based on interviews with war veterans.

He said: “Remembering Bergen Belsen is still relevant because of extremist factions such as ISIS and the Pegida rally, which clearly indicate that the same elements of intolerance, bigotry and hate are continuing.

“It’s important we remind ourselves of the consequences of such policies when those who adopt such views come to power.”

World War Two historian, Roger Moorhouse, said that the particular area sparked a fascination that has never left him and that he finds the period endlessly fascinating and influential.

He added: “I think it is vitally important that we continue learning about the world wars, the Holocaust, and totalitarianism in general, no matter where we live.

“It is those forces that have shaped the world we live in, so to understand it, we have to understand them.

“It is easy to sail along in ignorance or difficult, challenging stories such as these, but we should remind ourselves how very different and how brutal the world was not so long ago.”

The talk, named “The Relief of Belsen” is free of charge and will be held on Wednesday April 15, 10:30am, at the Sunderland City Library and Arts Centre. You can ring 0191 561 1235 to book ticket.

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