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After Daybreak: The Liberation of Bergen-Belsen, 1945

4.06  ·  Rating Details ·  77 Ratings  ·  10 Reviews
“I find it hard even now to get into focus all these horrors, my mind is really quite incapable of taking in everything I saw because it was all so completely foreign to everything I had previously believed or thought possible.” British Major Ben Barnett’s words echoed the sentiments shared by medical students, Allied soldiers, members of the clergy, ambulance drivers, and ...more
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published November 15th 2005 by Schocken (first published 2005)
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Apr 27, 2015 cameron rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Stunning read. After reading about WW2 and the Holocaust for 40 years, I'm amazed how little I still know. Concentration camp liberation has never been told more carefully and more honestly than what I have read in this book. Remembering that the British knew nothing of the extent of death and horror here and were equipped only to move forward with their troops to finish the European war. The descriptions of the harrowing conditions, the lack of supplies, the tens of thousands who kept dying hou ...more
David Lowther
Mar 25, 2014 David Lowther rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
After Daybreak is a superbly researched account of The Liberation of Belsen and its aftermath. The author, Ben Shepherd, has gone to great lengths to create a full picture of the day of liberation in April 1945 and the days that followed. It is, inevitably, gruesome and paints a grim picture of life in Belsen.

There were some issues around the allies' attitude to the Holocaust in general and some of their actions at Belsen in particular. Shepherd draws attention to these problems very thoroughly
May 02, 2012 Renee rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the third book that I was reading with "The Long Road Home: The Aftermath of the Second World War" (it is also by Ben Shephard), and "An Uncommon Friendship: From Opposite Sides of the Holocaust" and the combination of the three was very enlightening, depressing and sobering. I highly recommend this to those interested in WWII, human interaction, social anthropology, medical history and so much more.

So sad. So amazing. So truly touching.
Jun 26, 2011 Okie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those studying liberation of WWII concentration camps
Looking into the face of Hell
Last year I read “After Daybreak: The Liberation of Belsen, 1945”. It relates the story of those British troops whose job it was to make sense and order of the death and chaos that was the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in April, 1945. Despite the arrival of the British troops and their supplies, knowledge, and hard work, inmates continued to die by the thousands. Initially, death rates actually skyrocketed due to the increase in mobility effected by recovering inm
Vicky Ashwell
For me this was a fascinating book. I am the daughter of a retired British army officer and grew up in Germany. I went to school in the camp that is now called Hohne, but was once the panzer training school. I have been to Belsen more times than I can count but have to say that, as is the case with some of those mentioned in the book, I did not have the 'emotional intelligence' to fully comprehend what happened. Despite studying Nazi Germany to degree level I have never, until now really looked ...more
Mar 10, 2013 Jonna rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this book as research for a book I was writing. I have had a life-long obsession with trying to understand the Holocaust - of course, it can't be understood,but I still believe reading everything I can about it is important so that we never forget that it happened. This book taught me alot that I didn't already know, so it was very interesting. Hard to read - but interesting and important to read.
Sep 29, 2016 Kirsty rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
After Daybreak: The Liberation of Belsen, 1945 is written by historian Ben Shephard. The book begins with a short yet informative prologue which outlines the state of the world just before Belsen’s liberation, and an introduction in which the author states his reasons for writing such a book. Rather than an exclusive history about the camp, Shephard is concerned with the aftermath. He has aimed to present the story of all those who helped the 60,000 people in the camp to overcome typhus, starvat ...more
Ryland Davidson
Sep 21, 2016 Ryland Davidson rated it liked it
After Daybreak: The Liberation of Bergen-Belsen, 1945 by Ben Shepard is book that depicts the process of saving the victims of the largest genocide in history. It focuses on the struggles of saving so many people with conditions never before seen. The main characters are the prisoners and the British soldiers trying to save their lives. The book begins with the British finding the camp and striking a deal with the Germans to surrender control of the camp. Next, the British face the daunting tas ...more
Claire Beresford
Aug 09, 2011 Claire Beresford rated it really liked it
A day by day account of what happened in the camps. There are stories from both the prisoners and workers to provide different points of view. Chapters are sections of time periods and events. If you have an interest in the subject I would highly recommend it.
Jun 30, 2012 Ruth rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very detailed and painful account on the liberation of Bergen Belsen. Although it was hard to follow sometimes.
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Ben Shephard (1948 - ) is an English historian, author and television producer.
He was educated at Diocesan College, Cape Town and Westminster School. He graduated in history from Oxford University and has made many historical documentaries for the BBC and Channel 4, including producer of The World at War and The Nuclear Age.
More about Ben Shephard...

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