The British conducted three trials on crimes allegedly committed at the Bergen-Belsen Camp. The first trial was staged between 17 September and 17 November 1945 against 45 SS men and women, some of whom had been transferred from Auschwitz to Bergen-Belsen toward the end of the war, just as were many inmates. Among them were Josef Kramer and Franz Hössler. Therefore, the charges concerned crimes allegedly committed at the Bergen-Belsen Camp as well as at Auschwitz.
In preparation of this trial, the 77 defendants arrested in this context as well as many other German members of the SS and other organizations were interrogated extensively in various British interrogation centers, such as Bad Nenndorf, which quickly gained the reputation of being torture centers. British investigation files declassified some 60 years later revealed that almost all prisoners in these centers had been tortured in the most bestial ways in attempts at extracting incriminating confessions from them, or simply for pure lust for vengeance.
The Bergen-Belsen Camp’s last commandant, Josef Kramer, although severely abused in captivity, did not budge and told the tragic story of Bergen-Belsen’s slide into chaos due to force majeure as it was (see his entry).
A special case is Pery Broad, an SS man deployed at Auschwitz who ingratiated himself with the British, and thus was exempted from prosecution, by volunteering an absurd “confession” about mass murder at Auschwitz which formed one of the bases from which they develop their Auschwitz narrative at the first Bergen-Belsen Trial (see his entry). Another mainstay of the British Auschwitz narrative are the “confessions” extorted from former camp commandant Rudolf Höss, who was not put on trial by the British but nevertheless enjoyed a particularly harsh torture treatment (see his entry). His later affidavit and testimony before the Nuremberg International Military Tribunal (IMT) played a pivotal role in convincing most defendants that the mass-murder charges must indeed be true.
On the other side of the trial were former Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen inmates who, evidently inspired by a matching lust for revenge and a general anti-SS hysteria, made the most outrageous and nonsensical claims as to what transpired at Bergen-Belsen and/or at Auschwitz. No claim was preposterous enough to trigger any skepticism among the prosecution or the court, and none of these lies were ever challenged by the defense lawyers, all of them British nationals who were not much more than stooges of the prosecution making sure that the defendants did not revolt against this travesty of injustice.
Many of the perjuring inmate witnesses were women who had been transferred from Auschwitz to Bergen-Belsen and placed there in the women’s camp. For a detailed analysis of these witnesses’ mendacious tales, see the entries for:
- Charles Bendel
- Regina Bialek
- Ada Bimko
- Jeannette Kaufmann
- Hermine Kranz
- Sofia Litwinska
- Regina Plucer
- Roman Sompolinski
Twelve of the first Bergen-Belsen trial defendants, including Kramer, were executed, the rest was released within the next several years, no matter their prison terms. (On the official story of the first Bergen-Belsen trial with many witness testimonies, see Phillips 1949.)
The second Bergen-Belsen trial was staged between 13 and 18 June 1946, hence after the IMT. It was a small-scale repetition of the first show trial ending with four of the nine defendants getting executed, among them former SS Oberscharführer Walter Quakernack, once an official at the Auschwitz Political Department (camp Gestapo).
The third trial concerned only one defendant, Ernst Meyer, who was sentenced to life imprisonment for non-lethal abuse of inmates, but was pardoned on Christmas Eve of 1954.