- Contributed by
- People in story:
- Senior Sister Russell
- Location of story:
- Belsen concentration Camp
- Background to story:
- Article ID:
- Contributed on:
- 13 October 2005
Sen Sister Russell on the occasion of my brother's wedding 1946. Notice her decorations
Sister Russell was a friend to my mother since before the 1st World war. During WW2 she became the Sister in charge of the medical facilities with Montgomery's HQ. She was with him during the African campaign and spoke very highly of him.
I visited her at her home in Leamington Spa during the winter of 1945(?). She told how she was the first woman into the camp when it was liberated by Monty's troops. She said how she was approached by the camp orderlies who pleaded with her to give the inmates a decent meal. She refused and told the orderlies that they would have milk diluted withwater until they were fit enough to take more substantial food. She seemed very proud of the fact almost all of the inmates in her charge recovered.
She wouls say almost nothing about the conditions she found but in the corner of her room she had a beutifully made lamp shade made of human skin. When she turned on the light you could see the tatoo number. She mentioned a purse also made of human skin but I cannot be sure she showed that to me. She felt that this object said it all. It occurred to me just recently the hope that the skin was taken from a dead body.
I was 15 at the time and thinking to myself, this was what the war was about- the complete dehumanising of human beings.
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