70th Anniversary Liberation of Ravensbruck

April 30, 1945: 3,000 women are finally liberated from Ravensbruck Women’s Death Camp by the Russian army. A few days earlier (April 27-28) all able bodied women were forced on a death march (for many this was their 2nd march). For survivors of the Auschwitz death march in January  coming to Ravensbruck had been exacerbated by lack of food, shelter and sanitary conditions. Some of the women were left outside in makeshift tents. Overcrowding lead to increased exterminations, especially of Jewish women.

For Rena and her sister Danka (#1716 and #2779 in Auschwitz) being transported out of Ravensbruck a few days after they arrived from Auschwitz may have saved their lives. The camp of Neustadt Glewe was a satellite camp of Ravensbruck and  the notorious Margot Drexler (SS from Auschwitz) was its Wardress but Neustadt Glewe was not a “death” camp. Women died of starvation, beatings, illness but there was no gas chamber, which for women arriving from Auschwitz saw as a huge relief.

The war was going to end in a few days. Male prisoners across the road shouted “the Americans are coming!” to Rena and her sister, as they headed out to their work detail. “Freedom Soon!” For some “soon” would not be soon enough. For Rena and her sister “soon” was in the knick of time.

Photos from Vintage Everyday http://www.vintag.es/ facebook.com/the.vintage.everyday https://twitter.com/vintag_es

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One Response to 70th Anniversary Liberation of Ravensbruck

  1. Marzio Mari Ahrens says:

    Would like to share some historical facts that occured during the final stage of WWII. During the final stage of WWII the Swedish duke Folke Bernadotte was given the commision of a rescue mission of scandinaiven inmates. The action was to be known as the recue mission – the Whitebusses. During the period my german grandfather, photographer Heinz Ahrens, lived and worked in Lubeck. My grandfather was part of the underground that aided and help those who had to get out from nazigermany. Ahrens also had the local knowledge and the connections that Bernadotte needed to be able to make the recue mission to go through into action. Bernadotte was recommended to be connected with Ahrens also because he was known to be trustworth as not to have any kind of connection with the nazi-regime. When Bernadotte arrived in April 1945 my grandfather, as to find scandinaiven inmates, guided him into the secret prisons that was well hidden into the urban cities far from the main puplic eyes. In those secret prisions they found inmates of all kind of background. Ahrens also provided all the information logistically important to find the camps. During the mission Ahrens was taking pictures as the photographer he was. The resuce mission into the camps of Ravensbruck, women camp, and Neugamme was documented by Ahrens. Also documented the redcross network in Lubeck were all the inmates were assamble before being transported to Sweden. During the years that followed after the war Ahrens was never recognized for his part in the rescue mission and also not even recognized being the photographer behind the pictures that often are used in relationship to the whitebusses. Ahrens shared the pictures to Bernadotte and to the Swedish redcross. If you ever would like to recognize someone who was vital into the mission of the whitebusses my grandfather could be to your interest. My mother, Anita Ahrens, still remember all the events during those months of April and May 1945. She also helped her father to develop the photographic pictures and have helped to recognize which was taken by Heinz Ahrens. Also she has told me facts what occured during the actions that are unknown to the mainstream. I have tried to have Heinz Ahrens recognized but it is not easy at all when you do it alone. Hope You would be interested to record what my mother remembers before it is to late.

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