Bergen & Belsen, Germany (JFK+50) Thirty years ago today, May 5, 1985, President Ronald Reagan visited the site of the Nazi concentration camp Bergen-Belsen located near the towns of Bergen and Belsen in northwest Germany.
The camp was originally the largest military training area in Germany built between 1935 and 1937. Although it became part of the Nazi concentration camp system in April 1943, Bergen-Belsen did not have gas chambers.
Bergen-Belsen was liberated by British forces on April 15, 1945. Eleven of the Nazi staff of the camp were sentenced to death and executed on December 12, 1945. Nineteen others were sent to prison and fourteen were acquitted.
On May 5, 1985, standing alongside a mass grave of 50,000 victims, President Reagan said:
"Here they lie. Never to hope. Never to pray. Never to love. Never to heal. Never to laugh. Never to cry."
"Bergen-Belsen," Holocaust Encyclopedia, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, www.ushmm.org/