Located north of Hannover near Celle, Bergen-Belsen was established as a detention camp for Jews who were to be exchanged for Germans prisoners. The site had previously served as a POW camp. In 1944 prisoners from other camps who were too ill to work began arriving at Bergen-Belsen. During the early months of 1945 sick and starving survivors of death marches from the East poured into the camp, creating a deadly chaos. When British troops liberated the camp on April 15, 1945, they found thousands of unburied corpses and approximately 60,000 nearly-dead survivors, nearly half of whom were to perish in the weeks following liberation. To contain the rampant typhus, the liberators burned the camp structures to the ground, and they were forced to use a bulldozer to push the bodies of the dead into mass graves. Anne Frank and her sister Margot died of typhus in Bergen-Belsen in March of 1945.
The large area where the camp once stood is now a cemetery of mass graves. In front of the grave mounds are simple stone markers indicating the approximate number buried there. There is a symbolic stone inscribed with the names of Anne and Margot Frank, though no one knows which of the mass graves contain their remains.