Dimbleby Belsen report was almost silenced

Broadcaster Jonathan Dimbleby spoke at Manchester's Yom Hashoah ceremony


Broadcaster Jonathan Dimbleby told the audience at Manchester's Yom Hashoah ceremony that the BBC had not wanted to transmit his father's harrowing report from the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp.

Richard Dimbleby, the BBC's war correspondent, entered the camp just after its liberation in April 1945. When his bosses prevaricated over broadcasting his report, "my father told them he would resign if they did not do so. He wanted to express disgust, horror and outrage over what he saw in Belsen."

The audience of 1,500 - an unprecedented number at the annual event - listened in rapt silence to a clip of the historic report.

Mr Dimbleby added that his father repeatedly broke down in tears while recording his broadcast. And although he never spoke about Belsen to his children, "it became part of his DNA".

Also on the platform was Hazel Verbov, daughter of the late Rev Leslie Hardman who, as a Jewish British Army chaplain, went into Belsen after liberation.

"The inmates saw his Star of David on his cap and tunic and thought he was the Messiah," said Mrs Verbov, whose father supervised the Jewish burial of around 13,000 victims.

Other speakers at the Event City venue included 92-year-old Auschwitz survivor Chaim Ferster, whose testimony drew a standing ovation from the audience.

After liberation from Belsen, Mr Ferster was reunited with his sister, Manya - the only surviving member of his family - who had also been incarcerated in Belsen.

Polish-born survivor Sam Laskier spoke of his liberation from Theresienstadt before reading the survivor's legacy - a pledge to never forget what happened to the six million.

Share via

Want more from the JC?

To continue reading, we just need a few details...

Want more from
the JC?

To continue reading, we just
need a few details...

Get the best news and views from across the Jewish world Get subscriber-only offers from our partners Subscribe to get access to our e-paper and archive