Belsen survivors reunited in Woodstock after 70 years

Gilbert King Gilbert King is believed to be one of only three men still alive who were involved in the liberation

Related Stories

Eleven Holocaust survivors have been reunited with a soldier who helped free them from a Nazi concentration camp.

Gilbert King, 96, was among the liberating forces at the Bergen-Belsen camp in Germany in April 1945.

The former gunner is thought to be one of three veterans still alive from the 249 Oxfordshire Yeomanry, which took the camp from the Germans.

Mr King and the former camp inmates were brought together in Woodstock at the new Soldiers of Oxfordshire Museum.

The £3.5m museum's display, which documents the history of local units, was created with the help of the Holocaust Educational Trust.

'Kissed my boots'

Mr King told the survivors what he had seen as he and his unit arrived at the camp.

He described seeing "thousands and thousands" of rotting bodies piled four deep between the huts of the compound.

He said: "I shall always remember one thing: that one of the inmates came up to me, bent down and kissed my boots.

"This was very emotional to me, a thing I shall never forget."

Susan Pollack, 83, who lived with her family in a small village near Budapest before she was detained by the Nazis, was transferred to Bergen-Belsen from Auschwitz.

After meeting and thanking Mr King, she said her liberators "represented the real truth about heroism".

She said: "Because we, I, was so dehumanised. And then to be confronted with the liberators, it was an incredible feeling."

line

The Holocaust

The Belsen concentration camp
  • Who were the guilty? Relatively few of those involved in the genocides of World War Two ever faced justice, but the question of guilt remains.
line

She added: "They were the first ones, actually, who kind of restated that the world outside has not been polluted with that venom and that evil that we experienced."

After liberation she was hospitalised for tuberculosis, typhoid and severe malnutrition.

More than 50 of her relatives including her mother and father were killed during the Holocaust.

Some 70,000 people died at Bergen-Belsen, between Hamburg and Hanover in northern Germany, between 1941 and 1945.

More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

BBC Oxford

Weather

Oxford

19 °C 13 °C

BBC Local Live

  1.  
    Winging it for charity 12:38: Oxford Mail

    An sculptor has just finished making his way across Spain in a paramotor, to raise money for charity.

     
  2.  
    Country's youngest drink driver in Thames Valley 12:25:

    Thousands of under-18s have been caught drink-driving, with the youngest offender was aged 11, in the Thames Valley in 2011.

    Police officer holds a breathalyser

    Records released by 43 UK police forces in response to a Freedom of Information request show 6,558 people aged under 18 were caught driving under the influence of alcohol between 2008 and 2013.

     
  3.  
    NHS boss bonuses 12:07: Wallingford Herald

    Eight health bosses received between £85,000 and £125,000 in bonuses last year, latest figures show.

     
  4.  
    News on the hour 11:59: Sue Kinnear Newsreader, BBC Radio Oxford

    Thames Valley Police has announced savings of almost £500,000 will be made by closing police stations across Oxfordshire.

    In a statement this morning the force announced the savings to be made in Oxfordshire all involve its buildings - no manpower cuts will be made in the coming financial year.

    More on this at 12:00.

     
  5.  
    Smallest UK coin struck 11:47: Malcolm Boyden Mid-morning presenter, BBC Radio Oxford

    The Royal Mint has created their smallest coin in 1000 years, measuring 8mm, and weighing just a 40th of an ounce.

    New gold coin

    The Royal Mint's Shane Bissett, explained that the small size was intended to show "off the intricate skills of the designers, tool makers and engravers."

    The coin has been minted as part of a wider collection produced to celebrate Britannia, and Shane told me the that depiction of Britannia was in a modern style.

    Just under 10,000 coins will be issued pieces with a retail price of about £50.

     
  6.  
    Council service top dog 11:39: Oxfordshire Guardian

    The district council's service which cares for lost and homeless dogs in the area has been given its second RSPCA Gold Award in as many years.

     
  7.  
    Police buildings to be sold 11:26: BBC Radio Oxford

    Thames Valley Police will sell and replace a number of police stations as part of a programme of cost cutting intended to save the force £44.6m over the next three years.

    The force says they will have a "leaner, fit for purpose, lower cost and lower carbon footprint estate with greater emphasis on agile working".

    The plans also claim to protect frontline policing and retain "an appropriate local coverage".

     
  8.  
    'Not fit enough' 11:14: Robyn Cowen Sports reporter, BBC Radio Oxford

    Players at London Welsh may not be fit enough according to the club's defence coach Ollie Smith.

    Rhys Crane of London Welsh is tackled by Ben Morgan of Gloucester

    The exiles have been heavily beaten in all four premiership games this season.

    Smith told BBC Oxford that the team was burning out at the end of matches: "It's pointless putting in a great 60 minutes and for the last 20 to just fall away in a snowbalesque fashion."

     
  9.  
    Hydro-electric scheme to start 11:04: Oxford Mail

    A long-awaited hydro-electric scheme in Oxford weir should finally be generating power later this year.

     
  10.  
    News on the hour 10:58: Sue Kinnear Newsreader, BBC Radio Oxford

    Oxfordshire's primary schools will lose thousands of pounds in funding if children don't have school meals today.

    The amount of money schools will get will be based on today's uptake and BBC Radio Oxford has learnt a number of Oxfordshire's schools are offering incentives for today only.

    More headlines with me at 11:00.

     
  11.  
    Masterplan to stop Caterham? 10:40:

    The news that the Caterham F1 team had been visited by Bailiffs has been met with anger by the team's management.

    Caterham driver Marcus Ericsson of Sweden gets out of his car after crashing during the Hungarian Formula One Grand Prix

    Team Principal Manfredi Ravetto said the action was related to a different company, apart from the F1 team.

    He told the BBC that the only way the team would not be racing in Japan this weekend is if there was a "masterplan to shut the team down".

    When asked if he knew who could be behind such a conspiracy, Ravetto said he was "he was looking to find out".

     
  12.  
    Centenary birthday 10:27: Witney Gazette

    Celia Talmage celebrated her 100th birthday in style with a party at The Bear Hotel in Woodstock yesterday.

    The former hairdresser, who lives in Witney, was still cutting her husband William's hair before he passed away at the age of 100 last year.

     
  13.  
    On air 10:15: Will Wilkin Producer, BBC Radio Oxford

    On the Malcolm Boyden show this morning we'll be speaking to one of the first newspaper news photographers Louis Gernard, who took this photo of a child being rescued from a fire...

    Child rescued from a fire

    The picture won a prestigious global prize, but Louis only found out about this a few months ago, 58 years later!

    We'll also be hearing from the Royal Mint on why they have created their smallest coin in 1000 years, and we'll be celebrating National Poetry Day with Oxford poet Sir Christopher Ball.

     
  14.  
    Stokenchurch accident 10:05: Sara Dumbell Travel presenter, BBC Radio Oxford

    At Stokenchurch there are reports that the A40 Oxford Road is partially blocked Westbound by an accident between Chalk Farm Road and Ibstone Road.

    It's a two car incident on the bridge over the M40 junction 5.

     
  15.  
    News on the hour 09:59: Sue Kinnear Newsreader, BBC Radio Oxford

    The University of Oxford has slipped down a place in a prestigious international ranking system - but is still beating its rival Cambridge.

    The institution is now ranked third in the latest Times Higher Education World University Rankings - down from joint second last year.

    More on this and the other headlines with me at 10:00.

     
  16.  
    More on Caterham 09:50: Ross Heaton Sports reporter, BBC Radio Oxford

    The items seized by Sheriffs included a 2013 Caterham F1 test car, car parts and steering wheels, pitlane equipment, and TV's and monitors.

    The team insists their preparations for the Japanese Grand Prix this weekend have not been affected.

     
  17.  
    Caterham to drive on 09:43: Ross Heaton Sports reporter, BBC Radio Oxford

    The future of the Caterham Formula One team is in question again after bailiffs visited their factory in Leafield near Witney.

    Caterham F1 car

    The team rejected what they say were "uncontrolled rumours" about the team's involvement in F1 and said that the action concerns a supplier to their parent company.

     
  18.  
    Fine for pub change couple 09:32: Oxford Times

    A couple who turned their pub into a house without permission have been ordered to pay £17,000, Cherwell District Council said yesterday.

     
  19.  
    Fish and chip Thursday 09:24: Andrew Humphrey BBC Local Live

    Following Radio Oxford's discovery that schools may be adjusting their menus to boost school meal take-up today, the Department for Education told us that they expect schools to promote free meals to benefit the pupils.

    They also said a one-day census was "a sound basis for measuring take-up and allocating funding", they did warn that if the data is not properly reflecting take-up they will take action.

    Of course the fact that my daughter's school has switched the menu to include fish and chips today was purely down to an inset day tomorrow, I'm sure!

     
  20.  
    Phone fraudster jailed 09:11: Banbury Cake

    Staff at a mobile phone shop rumbled a fraudster's scam which saw him pocket 76 iPhones worth more than £34,000.

     
  21.  
    Top headlines
     
  22.  
    News on the hour 08:59: Charles Nove Presenter, BBC Radio Oxford

    BBC Radio Oxford has learned an emergency team meeting for all staff at the Caterham Formula 1 headquarters in West Oxfordshire is taking place about now.

    It is to discuss fears for the future of the team and the 300 people who work for it, after bailiffs were sent in the Leafield factory.

    There's more on this at 09:00.

     
  23.  
    Broken down coach 08:49: Sara Dumbell Travel presenter, BBC Radio Oxford

    Barry rang me to report delays on the B4027 between Stanton St John and Forest Hill due to temporary lights for broadband works.

    And on the M40 Southbound, just before junction 6 for Watlington, James has called in to report a broken down coach blocking a lane.

     
  24.  
    Oxford University still in top 10 08:42: Katherine Sellgren BBC News education reporter

    Three UK universities have lost their place in the top 200 of a global higher education league table, but Oxford remains in the top 10.

    Student

    The universities of Reading, Dundee and Newcastle slipped out of the top 200 of the Times Higher Education (THE) World Rankings for 2014-15.

     
  25.  
    Schools 'cooking the books' on meal census 08:27: Helen Catt Political reporter, BBC Radio Oxford

    Oxfordshire's primary schools could lose thousands of pounds of funding - if children don't have school meals today.

    School meal being served to pupil

    And it seem's some schools are using unorthodox tactics to boost take-up, including adjusting their menu for one week only or bringing forward their popular Friday meals - often chips - to today.

    Parents have also been directly asked to sign their children up for today, and one school is offering free school meals for all pupils as a one-off special.

    The amount of money schools get to provide the universal free school meals will be based on today's uptake - and on one other day in January.

     
  26.  
    Bright and sunny 08:15: Alexis Green Weather presenter, BBC South Today

    A mainly dry start to the day once the mist and fog clears and we'll see some bright and sunny spells.

    Weather graphic

    There is a slim chance of showers, but temperatures doing well with a high of 20C (68F).

    A freshening breeze will turn the afternoon and evening cooler.

     
  27.  
    A4095 struggling 08:05: Sara Dumbell Travel presenter, BBC Radio Oxford

    The A4095 is solid from Witney to Long Hanborough - reports that the temporary lights are causing delays by the garage at Long Hanborough.

     
  28.  
    Good morning 08:00: Andrew Humphrey BBC Local Live

    Good morning and welcome along to BBC Local Live for Oxfordshire this Thursday morning.

    I'll be bringing you all the latest news, sport, travel and weather from across the county.

    You can get in touch throughout the day and tell us what you're up to via email, Facebook or Twitter.

     

Features

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.