- Bergen-Belsensearch for term
Opened in 1940 as a prisoner-of-war camp, this facility was renamed Stalag 311 in 1941 when it housed approximately 20,000 Soviet POWs, 16,000-18,000 of these prisoners died of epidemics, malnutrition and exposure by 1942. The camp was renamed Bergen-Belsen in April 1943 and then held male and female Jews with foreign passports or visas who might be exchanged for German nationals held abroad. Between March 1944 and early 1945, Bergen-Belsen received prisoners from other camps for possible exchange as well as large numbers of prisoners evacuated from camps in the east. Rapidly deteriorating conditions led to massive epidemics, starvation and the deaths of thousands.