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  1. ITV Report

British liberator of Bergen-Belsen returns 'to say goodbye'

Video report by Presenter Natasha Kaplinsky

A Jewish British soldier who was 19 years old when he helped liberate the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp told ITV News he had returned "to say goodbye."

Bernard Levy, a corporal in the British Military Government at the time, returned to Bergen-Belsen with Presenter Natasha Kaplinsky and spoke of the memories he tried so hard to forget.

"Barbed wire everywhere. Chaos, bodies ... they looked like skeletons," he said of the camp's victims.

Presenter Natasha Kaplinsky joins Bernard Levy on his return to Bergen-Belsen. Credit: ITV News

To me it smelled like DDT, great white clouds of it, because everybody coming out was being deloused, so my greatest memory is standing there, doing what we can.

– Bernard Levy

The 19 year old officer was immediately involved in the relief operation, spraying people with DDT as they were moved out of the camp.

Bernard Levy was 19 years old when he helped liberate the Bergen-Belsen camp. Credit: ITV News

Bernard, who only began speaking of his experience a few years ago, said one his tasks was to "sort the living from the dead".

"I think the initial shock was so enormous that I blocked it out," he explained.

Speaking of his return Bernard said, "I'm glad I'm back because, if you like, it's the last time I'll be here."

"I just feel like I've come to say goodbye to all that, and I hope that they all rest in peace."

Natasha Kaplinsky has her own ties to the Holocaust - she lost Jewish family members who died in the Slonim ghetto and is a member of the Prime Minister's Holocaust Commission.

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