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Customer Review

30 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Needs To Be Seen", 16 Mar. 2010
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This review is from: The Relief Of Belsen [DVD] (DVD)
I first saw this film almost two years ago when it was shown on Channel 4 and it made a big impression on me then even though being a historian I have seen the newsreel films of Belsen and other Camps many times over the years.

Made on a small budget and filmed on a site in Dorset, the film tells the story of a group of medical officers struggling to cope with the terrible conditions in Bergen-Belsen Concentration Camp during the months of April and May 1945. Typhus had broken out and the local Germans had negotiated with British and Canadian troops a truce in order to allow the allies to help out with containing the disease to prevent it spreading further.

It soon becomes apparant to the allies that they have quite a task on their hands with hundreds of inmates dying every day due to disease and starvation.

Nevertheless, after a few weeks despite the death toll continuing to rise, they did eventually succeed in saving many lives.

Filmed in semi documentary style using hand held cameras in order to provide some authenticity, newsreel film of the actual scenes in Belsen are intercut and these scenes do make uncomfortable viewing.

Like I explained earlier, it was made on a small budget and it does show at times. Nevertheless, it has a very good cast, many of the actors really getting into their parts (Iain Glen, Corin Redgrave, Jemma Redgrave, Tobias Mendies) playing real life characters who understandably, were badly traumatised by their experiences in Belsen. There is a postscript telling the story of what happened to these characters during the post- war years.

A drama which really needs to be seen.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 29 Jan 2011 10:53:44 GMT
Sonja says:
I know someone who was there in Belsen,a family friend who amazingly survived, at the time 11 years old with her aunt and uncle, she told me all about it and the Germans were definitely treating everyone very inhumanly. I know many other people who were taken to concentration camps including my uncle and great grandmother who did not survived. I will always hate the Germans even when I hear the language it gives me the creeps.
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In reply to an earlier post on 28 Dec 2014 11:00:43 GMT
Last edited by the author on 28 Dec 2014 11:06:00 GMT
Sonja, My father who was in the Signals was one of the first British troops to enter Belsen. He had already served v Rommell in North Africa and then the Italian campaign. The horrors of this were unique. The local population denied all knowledge of the camp built on the edge of the town of Bergen. My father said that they could smell it from 2 miles away. They forced the locals to visit the camp and see the atrocities carried out in their name. It made no difference.

He ended up in Hitler's wrecked Reichstag in Berlin and remarked that not a single Nazi could be found in the city. The Germans will never change. Their federal government did not donate a single D-mark to the Belsen memorial until about 2000.

When Reagan visited they took him to lay a wreath at a German war cemetery containing graves of known war criminals. The White House realised this at the last minute and hurriedly added an unscheduled visit to Belsen to lay a wreath there as well thus saving the US jewish vote for him.

Try to move on (I don't mean forget). The Germans have.
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E. A. Redfearn
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   

Location: Middlesbrough

Top Reviewer Ranking: 1,343