Distance from the Belsen Heap by Mark Celinscak
University of Toronto Press: 10/30/15
eBook review copy, 352 pages
paperback ISBN-13: 9781442615700
Distance from the Belsen Heap by Mark Celinscak is a very highly
recommended definitive record of the Canadian involvement with the
liberation of the Nazi concentration camp at Bergen-Belsen in April
1945. He makes a clear case that this should be considered part of both
British and Canadian history. This is a well researched and documented
scholarly work, but it is also
heart breaking to be reminded of man's inhumanity to man.
"[A]cts of extreme evil can be defined as those that assault the very
foundations of morality. Consequently, these assaults on morality should
not be forgotten and ought to be documented. In other words, crimes against humanity should be remembered by humanity."(pg 20)
A list of illustrations
1. Experience, Narrative, and Meaning: Encountering Bergen-Belsen
Celinscak covers the theoretical and methodological foundations of the book.
2. The Rhine, the Heath, the Wire
This chapter provides an overview of British and Canadian military
movement from Operation Plunder through the takeover of Bergen-Belsen.
When they arrived at the camps there were 60,000 prisoners and an
estimated 50,000 corpses. Of the 60,000, and estimated 14,000 died after
the camp was liberated.
3. The Distance of Presence: Inside Seventy-Two hours
This chapter covers what transpired during the first 72 hours after the
formal surrender. Most of the men involved were uninformed that there
were thousands of corpses and tens of thousands of extremely ill,
4. A Camp on Exhibit: Workers, witnesses, Visitors Descend
The response of British and Canadian military personal in the weeks and
months following the handover of Bergen-Belsen is documented, with an
emphasis on the meaning mined by the Allies.
5. The Impossible Real: Bergen-Belsen in Art and Photography
Examples of how British and Canadian artists and photographers visually documented the scene.
6. Padres, Patients, and Pathologies: Medical and Spiritual Relief
The response of the chaplains and medical personal in the military is covered.
Conclusion: A Past Intensity
Notes; Bibliography/List of Works Consulted; Index
Disclosure: My digital edition was courtesy
of the University of Toronto Press for review