Barton, Russell

At the end of World War II, Russell Barton was an English medical student who spent a month in the Bergen-Belsen Camp shortly after the camp’s liberation. While there, he investigated the reasons for the camp’s disastrous conditions toward the end of the war, with thousands of dead inmates piling up everywhere when the British took over the camp (Barton 1975; cf. Kulaszka 2019, pp. 195-200):

“German medical officers told me that it had been increasingly difficult to transport food to the camp for some months. Anything that moved on the autobahns was likely to be bombed. […]

I was surprised to find records, going back for two or three years, of large quantities of food cooked daily for distribution. I became convinced, contrary to popular opinion, that there had never been a policy of deliberate starvation. This was confirmed by the large numbers of well-fed inmates. […] The major reasons for the state of Belsen were disease, gross overcrowding by central authority, lack of law and order within the huts, and inadequate supplies of food, water and drugs.”

The piles of corpses found by the British, primarily caused by a rampaging typhus epidemic, was amply misused by Allied propaganda to portray Bergen-Belsen as a death camp where inmates were killed or left to die in masses on purpose.

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