Bergen-Belsen liberator dies at 97

From Jewish Chronicle: One of the first Allied soldiers to liberate the Nazi concentration camp of Bergen-Belsen has passed away at the age of 97.

Ian Forsyth, who was just 21 when he set foot in the camp spoke for much of his life about the horrors of the Nazi camps. He was involved in the liberation as a tank operator within a reconnaissance unit.

In an interview with BBC Scotland last year he said when he saw the camp, he “realised just how low mankind can sink.” He said that the scenes of mass murder at the camp stayed with him for the rest of his life.

When returning from war, his mother told him he was not allowed to discuss the horrors he’d seen and that the only person who knew his struggles of witnessing the camp was his wife.

When asked by the BBC if he was proud to be part of liberating Nazi prisoners, Mr. Forsyth said: “I’m not proud, I’m just glad that we got there when we did.”

“We did save some people, there’s no question. But when you see the graves with about 1,500 folk in each one, it rankles.”

Mr. Forsyth saw action across Europe during WW2, fighting his way from Normandy, all across Germany before being part of the Bergen-Belsen liberation.

The Holocaust Education Trust has paid tribute to Mr. Forsyth. CEO Karen Pollock CBE said: “Ian Forsyth was one of the first British soldiers to liberate the Nazi concentration camp of Bergen-Belsen. What he saw there stayed with him, and informed the rest of his life.

“Over the past decades, he made such an effort to tell the next generation about what he saw, and to reconnect with those he liberated, including meeting survivor Renee Salt BEM with the Prime Minister to mark Holocaust Memorial Day 2021. He was a kind and thoughtful man who we will remember fondly. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends.”