Instructions for Use

The entries in the Book of the Dead can be traced back to numerous different sources. However, it only contains the names of around a fifth of all those who died in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. The biographical information for some individuals is incomplete. In addition, the sources often contain differing or even contradictory information on names, places or other details for one and the same person. In these cases, after careful research, we have selected the most plausible information. We are aware that this may mean that some of the entries are incorrect. Should you find an error, if you have any additional information about a person or if a name is missing, please let us know by using the contact form. We will endeavour to correct any incorrect entries and add any previously unknown names.

First name and last name

The same name often appears in different sources in very different spellings. When compiling a list of names, spelling mistakes were often made, especially with names that were not familiar to the person writing the list. A first name can also appear in various national variants, for example Władysław (Polish), László (Hungarian) and Ladislaus (German); there are also short forms such as Laci or Lado. Some prisoners were registered in the camps under false names, which makes identification even more difficult. Where possible, in the Book of the Dead we have recorded the real names. Many Hungarian, Polish, French and other names contain diacritical marks. These special characters are only displayed here if they were also used in one of the underlying sources. Double names are separated by a hyphen. In the case of married persons, the maiden name is also separated by a hyphen. Name affixes such as “van, de, von” are placed after the first name.

Date of birth and place of birth

For many people we have no or only very rudimentary details about when and where they were born. Without this crucial information it is difficult to clearly distinguish individuals who share the same name. For many individuals, we only have parts of the date of birth, for example “00/00/1912”, in cases where only the year of birth was recorded. The date is displayed in the format DD.MM.YYYY. The various spellings of birthplaces found in the sources have been standardised and are given as the name was commonly spelled in the country at the time (Warszawa instead of Warsaw). Common abbreviations are written out in full (“im, am, bei”). In some cases, it is not possible to clearly assign a place, for example Frankfurt, which can be either “am Main” or “an der Oder”.


This is the country in which the place of birth was located. The information is intended for localisation purposes and refers to the state borders as they were on 31 December 1937. The entry does not necessarily correspond to the self-image of the person concerned or reflect their ethnicity, nationality or citizenship. Where this information is available, the republics within the Soviet Union have been listed. In some cases, regions with other constitutional structures have been listed in place of a country (e.g., “Palestine”, British Mandate territory in 1937). Some places cannot be clearly assigned if the same place name occurs in several countries. In these cases, the “Country” field has been left empty.

Date of death and place of death

The Book of the Dead lists those who died in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, in the supplementary camp in the nearby Wehrmacht barracks and those who died in the emergency hospital and the displaced persons camp after liberation. We also list people who died elsewhere as a result of imprisonment after liberation and after leaving Bergen-Belsen. This explains why Sweden and other countries are found on the list of the places of death. The victims of the three evacuation transports from the exchange camp have also been included. Some died during the train journey; in these cases, the corresponding section of the railway line is given as the place of death (e.g., “Finsterwalde-Falkenberg”). For a detailed overview of the number and location of the graves of the victims of the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, see the essay “The Dead of Bergen-Belsen”. In some cases, the exact date of death or the place of death are unknown. People who died as prisoners in other camps are not included in this Book of the Dead. The last death recorded is that of two-year-old Janina Nawrocka on 31 December 1945. All those who died after this date are not included. The date is displayed in the format DD.MM.YYYY.


The vast majority of the people who died in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp were buried in mass graves on the camp grounds and in the nearby barracks. In these cases, it is not possible to locate the graves of individual persons. This also applies to the victims of the evacuation transports, who were buried in common graves. In the case of those buried elsewhere, the present cemeteries are indicated where known.

Prisoner number (individual view only)

“In the final act of the admission procedure, the newcomers were deprived of their last vestiges of individuality. At registration in the office, each prisoner was assigned a number. To be dispossessed of one’s own name is among the most far-reaching and profound mutilations of the self. It documents the termination of one’s previous life history. Now the individual was nothing but a cipher among thousands of others, an anonymous case. The number made each person identifiable, but it was not a qualitative criterion of identity; it was a quantitative sign, a dot in an endless series. The number signified the metamorphosis of the individual into an element of the mass, the transformation of personal society into the serial society of the nameless.”

Wolfgang Sofsky, The Order of Terror: The Concentration Camp (translated by William Templer), Princeton, 1997, p. 84.

The SS destroyed the camp registry in April 1945. This meant that the main source of information on the prisoners and the prisoner numbers assigned to them in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp was destroyed. Only about 2,100 of the people listed in the death book have prisoner numbers, most of which relate to the exchange camp.

Date of liberation and place of liberation (individual view only)

Only Bergen-Belsen, Farsleben (Saxony-Anhalt) and Tröbitz (Brandenburg) are listed here. Many people died in the period following the liberation of the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp on 15 April 1945; we know the names of only about a third of them. Two of the three evacuation transports from the exchange camp in April 1945 did not reach Theresienstadt, the destination determined by the SS. The prisoners of “The Stranded Train” were liberated by the US Army on 13 April 1945 in Farsleben, those of “The Lost Train” on 23 April 1945 in Tröbitz by the Soviet Army. Almost 400 of them died after liberation. Here too, only the deaths up until 31 December 1945 have been listed. The date is displayed in the format DD.MM.YYYY.