Download Full Text (1.4 MB)
Letter with printed German text in red at top and handwritten text in blue ink below. Swastika stamp at bottom left of back page.
Information Provided by Michael D. Bulmash:
Letter sent by H. Guretzki (?), inmate number 4234, from Aufenthaltslager Bergen-Belsen on December 1, 1944. It is censored with a circular ink stamp verso and stamped with a directive to write letters in the German language. It is possible that the blacked-out areas conceal other camp stationary and that there was a shortage at Belsen. The Aufenthaltslager was a holding camp for prisoners who could potentially be exchanged with Allies for German internees. However, only 358 prisoners were exchanged, and the fate of the author of this letter is uncertain.
Belsen began its life as a POW camp but by 1943 became a large complex of camps. With the Allied advance, Belsen essentially became a dumping ground for prisoners-especially women- from other camps, the population swelling to more than 60,000 by 1945. Along with the overcrowding there was limited shelter, and food shortages, poor sanitation, and disease were rife. The living were found among the unburied dead when the British liberated the camp in April, 1945. Anne Frank and her sister Margot were among the many who perished here.
8 1/4 x 5 7/8"
Guretzki, Aufenthaltslager, Bergen-Belsen, Anne Frank
"Letter by German-Jewish Inmate at Bergen-Belsen Concentration Camp" (1944). Bulmash Family Holocaust Collection. 2020.1.1.