It was at the end of the Second World War that
the world became aware of what was to be known as, one of the most
atrocious crimes committed against humanity - the Holocaust.
As part of Hitler’s Final Solution to create a single Aryan
race, concentration camps were established in occupied Europe.
Bergen-Belson concentration camp, situated north
of Celle, near Hanover, North-West Germany was liberated by British
Forces on 15th April 1945. One of Ron’s duties whilst in War
Crimes was to go to this concentration camp and transport Josef Kramer
(Kommandant of Belson) and Irma Grese (who was in charge of the Belson
death cells) to Minden prison (Nr. Hanover).
When entering Bergen-Belson 'there were regiments
guarding, they were the ordinary infantry. War Crimes we just went
in, we had priority and the SBI were there, Special Bureau of Investigation.'
(Tape 2, P.7).
Ron and those he served with were 'in and out
again, we didn’t hang around. You had to be de-loused.'
(Tape 2, P.8).
'Core it was smelly dirty, to be quite frank
the sooner we got out of that place the happier we were. I mean
considering we were only in our twenties.' (Tape 2, P.9).
Prior to Ron’s orders from the War Crimes Group to collect Kramer and
Grese, he had little knowledge of the establishment of concentration camps
and therefore the indescribable sights he would experience, never to be forgotten.
'We were all together and we were a good crew
because we could look after one another. (Tape 1, P.10). It
was a job, the job had to be done. We had to obey orders, that was
it. We couldn’t fall back on anybody, if we were told to do
it, we would have to.' (Tape 1, P.16).
'I mean I did have reoccuring dreams, what
am I doing here why am I going through all this. (Tape 1, P.13).
But I think the lord has looked after me, I’ve got no
scars on my body, I’ve never had a broken bone in my body
so yeah I was tough and all the blokes in War Crimes were.'
(Tape 1, P.10).
Ron's service with War Crimes North-West Europe
ended in March 1948 when he returned home to England.