The relief of Belsen was one of the most extraordinary stories to emerge from the Second World War. This drama - featuring a quality cast, including Iain Glen and Jemma Redgrave, Corin Redgrave, Tobias Menzies, Nigel Lindsay and Paul Hilton - has been well received by the critics. Using dramatisation, testimony and news footage from the concentration camp, it depicts the desperate struggle of the British-led medical team to bring the starving inmates back from the brink of death.
In April 1945, a British ambulance unit was diverted from frontline battle to handle a crisis behind enemy lines. An outbreak of typhus in a nearby prison camp had prompted a local truce. That camp was Bergen-Belsen. The arriving British thought it would be a straightforward matter, but they were utterly unprepared for the scale of the humanitarian catastrophe facing them. They found 60,000 prisoners living in squalor; deprived of food, clothing and medical supplies, the shocking daily death-toll continued to spiral ever-upwards, no matter what the British tried to do,
For four weeks, a team of doctors, nurses and civilian volunteers, without a common language, worked to find a way to save the starving and dying of Belsen, while the war continued to rage throughout Europe.
The archive footage of the skeletal bodies of Belsen is now the most enduring image of the Holocaust's extreme horrors. By interweaving this archive with the unfolding story of individuals, these dreadful images are given a new context.