bergen belsen concentration camp

Sister Emily Harding

Sister Emily Harding, who lived in Preston for more than 25 years, saw at first-hand the sufferings of the death camp inmates. Two weeks after Allied troops moved in, she was posted to a camp in Belsen.

Her harrowing experiences are recorded in letters and newspaper articles which were passed down to her niece Emily Watkinson and shared in 2001.

In one particularly harrowing interview Sister Harding talks about the camp in Belsen. She said: “It would be impossible for anyone who had not witnessed it to imagine anything so terrible. The lowest types of barbarism seemed to have been reached.

“Moving down the corridors one saw it was a place of death, it looked out of every face and was emphasised by the awful stench. Patients that we attended bore traces of brutality. There were bruises from whips, sores from different diseases which had not healed and they were covered with lice.

“An emaciated figure told of the midwifery functions which she performed in the camp. She would be up all night and then, in the morning, the Germans would take the newborn babies and shoot them.”

After serving in Belsen, Sister Harding worked as a nurse helping people all over the world, before she died at her home at Bloomfield Grange, Penwortham, in 1997.

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