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At the Gates of Hell: The Liberation of Bergen-Belsen, April 1945

Compared to the appalling number of men, women and children killed at the Nazi extermination camps—places like Sobibor, Chelmno, Treblinka and others where, cumulatively, millions perished—the death toll at the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in northwest Germany was (a horrible thing to say!) relatively small. More than a million people were killed at Auschwitz-Birkenau alone; at Belsen, by most estimates, fewer than 100,000 died—from starvation and disease (typhus, for example), as well as outright slaughter.

But in the spring of 1945, photographs and eyewitness accounts from the liberation of camps like Bergen-Belsen afforded the disbelieving world outside of Europe its first glimpse into the abyss of Nazi depravity. All these years later, after countless reports, books, oral histories and documentary films have constructed a terrifyingly clear picture of the Third Reich's vast machinery of murder, it's difficult to grasp just how shocking these first revelations really were. The most horrific rumors about what was happening to the Jews and millions of other "undesirables—Catholics, pacifists, homosexuals, Slavs—in Nazi-occupied lands paled before the reality revealed by the liberation of the camps.

Here, seven decades after the April 1945 liberation of Bergen-Belsen by British troops, LIFE.com presents a series of photographs made at the camp by the great George Rodger (later a founding Magnum member). In an issue of LIFE published a few weeks later, in which several of the pictures in this gallery first appeared, the magazine told its readers of a "barbarism that reaches the low point of human degradation."

See photos here: http://time.com/3679103/at-the-gates-of-hell-the-liberation-of-bergen-belsen-april-1945/

We Remember!


April 15, 1945: Bergen-Belsen was liberated.

News from Denmark!


12 men were sworn in as new brothers of Danmark Loge (BBDenmark – one of the few lodges only for men) on February 10th. – BUT it doesn’t stop here, as another two brothers will be sworn in at a meeting in our lodge on April 26th, where the lodge will be honored by a visit of the President of BBE, Erika Van Gelder.

14 new brothers in the Danmark Loge in this first half year of 2015 means about a 15 per cent increase in brothers which is the best result for several decades! Though the fine result for 2015 the commission for contacting candidates for a BB-membership does hope to find another 15-17 men to become brothers of Danmark Loge in 2016.

As the Danish Jewish Community counts less than 2.000 persons – BB Denmark is by now the biggest Jewish male organization in Denmark.

Steen Cadan


Every year, B'nai B'rith World Center - Jerusalem - Israel, during the ceremony for Yom Hashoa, honors famous personalities who helped in the rescue of co-religionists from the whirlwind of the Holocaust. This year, the ceremony is dedicated to the rescue work of the Chief Rabbi of Volos and All Greece: Moses Pessach z "l.

As B'nai B'rith Greece we call you to participate together with us in this important ceremony for all the Greek people.

The event will take place on: Thursday, April 16, 2015 at 10a.m. at the "Forest of the Martyrs" where six million trees planted there, in the hills of Jerusalem, near Moshav Kesalon.

For more information and registration please contact :
Mr. Alan M.Schneider, Adv., Director
B'nai B'rith World Center
22 King David Street, Jerusalem 91074, Israel
Tel. : 972-2-6251743
Mobile: 972-52-5536441
E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

For the past thirteen years the B'nai B'rith World Center and the Jewish National Fund have co-sponsored a unique Holocaust Day (Yom Hashoah) ceremony, marking the heroism of Jews who saved fellow Jews during the years of torment in Europe. To the best of our knowledge this event is the only one in the world dedicated to recognizing the heroism of those Jews who tried to avert the genocide by ensuring - through individual and collective efforts - that Jews could escape to safety or survive on the European continent during the Shoah.

This year's event will memorialize the rescue activities of Arch Rabbi Moshe Pessach of Volos z"l(1869 – 1955) whose brave actions - together with those of the Metropolite of Demetrias Archbishop Joachim Alexopoulos (recognized as Righteous Among the Nations by Yad Vashem in 1977) and other members of the Greek Orthodox clergy of Volos, the mayor, chief of police and members of the resistance – led to the survival of most of the Jews of Volos.

After the war Arch Rabbi M.Pessach z"l returned to serve his community and was decorated by the Greek and British governments for his role in the Greek resistance.

Our event will be held at the Martyr's Forest – a joint [Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael KKL – JNF - B'nai B'rith] project which memorializes the victims of the Holocaust in 6 million trees planted in the Jerusalem Mountains near Moshav Kesalon. At the pinnacle of the forest stands the "Scroll of Fire" by the renowned sculptor Nathan Rappaport, which invokes the destruction of the Jewish People in the Holocaust and their redemption in the State of Israel in a moving base relief.

The event will commence with personal testimonies by Holocaust survivors to groups of soldiers and students.
The event will also be an opportunity to express the gratitude of the Jewish people to Archbishop Alexopoulos and other Greek Orthodox clergy for their heroic rescue efforts during the Holocaust.

-B'nai B'rith World Center
March 26, 2015

Edirne, Turkey


B'nai B'rith Europe was present at a historic event – The re-opening of the Grand Synagogue in Edirne. Opened in 1906 after the big fire destroyed the existing dozen synagogues who served one of the largest Jewish communities on the Balkans at the time. About 20,000 Jews used to live in Edirne/Adrianopol and so, Sultan Abdulhamid ordered to build a new big synagogue. Presently, there are no Jews in Edirne. The synagogue collapsed in the 1980s.



From B'nai B'rith Europe
Erika van Gelder

To:Embassy of the Republic of Kenya, Brussels

H.E. Johnson Weru, Ambassador


Amsterdam, 7/04/ 2015



Please accept our condolences in my name and of the organization I represent, for the innocent Christian students, killed in a most cowardly and barbaric way.

We, the Jewish people of the European Diaspora feel your pain, unfortunately have the experience for centuries. We are the Charlie’s of this world, we are the Kenyan students, we are everyman who suffers injustice, discrimination and intolerance.

Religion, all religions, should add a spiritual dimension to our lives, enrich it , and be our guide in our co-existence   with one another. It is an insult and it is degrading any religion to be used as a pretext for killing others in the name of it. All of us, governments, NGOs , Citizens, must condemn any form of terrorism in the strongest possible terms!

We wish the families and all the Kenyan people strength in this difficult moment.

Erika van Gelder

B’nai B’rith Europe president

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