At the goods station in Celle on the night of 8 April 1945, a train carrying 3,400 prisoners was hit by American bombs. Several hundred prisoners died from the resulting explosion of a nearby munitions train and because they were unable to leave the train cars in which they had been locked. Those who were able to escape from the train were hunted down by the SS, the police, members of the Wehrmacht and the Volkssturm, the local Hitler Youth and some residents of Celle. 200 to 300 prisoners were shot or beaten to death. At noon on 9 April, most of those who had survived the bomb attack were forced to start marching to Bergen-Belsen. 300 injured prisoners who were “unable to march” were largely left to their own devices in the huts of the Heidekaserne barracks in Celle, where the survivors were liberated by British troops on 12 April.
Prisoners from the Salzgitter-Drütte and Salzgitter-Bad satellite camps of the Neuengamme concentration camp were loaded onto goods cars on 7 April 1945 and transported north. At the Celle train station on the night of 8 April 1945, the train carrying over 4,000 prisoners was hit by American bombs. The prisoners were not allowed to leave the cars to seek shelter from the bombs, and over half of them died.
Those who tried to flee to safety were hunted down by the SS, the police, members of the Wehrmacht and the Volkssturm, and even some civilians. 200 to 300 prisoners were shot or beaten to death, while around 1,100 were recaptured. Over 500 survivors were forced to march to Bergen-Belsen, where they arrived on 10 April. Around 600 prisoners who were “unable to march”, many of whom had been injured in the bombing raid, were left in the huts of the Heidekaserne barracks in Celle, where they were liberated by British troops on 12 April 1945.
7 April to 12 April 1945
Directions: The monument in the Triftanlagen park in Celle is located between the train station and the city centre.
After lengthy public discussions and debates on the city council, a monument designed by the artist Jonny Lucius in memory of the concentration camp prisoners was dedicated in the park known as the Triftanlagen in Celle on 8 April 1992. An additional plaque provides a very brief explanation of the historical background.
The Bomann Museum in Celle has contributed to the research and documentation of these historical events.