fbpx

Letters from Liberation

14 April
Soldiers of Oxfordshire Museum, Woodstock
Park Street
Woodstock
OX20 1SN

Letters from Liberation: Commemorating the Liberation of Bergen-Belsen Concentration Camp

About Letters from Liberation:

Commemorating the Liberation of Bergen-Belsen Concentration Camp

Dr Myfanwy Lloyd will present this online talk and Q&A, to be streamed first live from 7.00pm on Thursday 14 April 2022 – the evening before the anniversary of the liberation of the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, which occurred 77 ago on 15 April 1945.

On display at the Soldiers of Oxfordshire Museum, in a permanent Bergen-Belsen exhibition, is a piece of paper with addresses from across the globe written on it. This sheet of paper represents the compassion of one man of the Yeomanry, Arthur Tyler.

Dr Lloyd will tell the story of how Arthur Tyler met Polish Holocaust survivor Naomi Kaplan during the liberation of the camp and how that meeting changed both their lives.

Arthur Tyler was a Lance-Bombardier with the 63rd Anti-Tank Regiment (Oxfordshire Yeomanry) when his unit took over Bergen-Belsen concentration camp on 15 April 1945.

None of the soldiers could have expected the horrors they witnessed in the camp. Filled with anger and revulsion at the actions of the Nazis, the Oxfordshire Yeomanry men helped survivors as best they could.

Arthur collected from the liberated the addresses of relatives and offered to write to them, a gesture of kindness that would have a huge impact.

In 1946 Naomi Laplan wrote in a letter to him that, “I met very many British soldiers and I asked everybody to write about me to my family, but nobody did it – only you.”

Pieced together during the Covid-19 pandemic, the story of Naomi and Arthur highlights how kindness and integrity can have profound and lasting impacts.

This historical research also raises issues for our own times. What can this story tell us about the ongoing battle against Holocaust denial? How can we use historical research to fight lies and distortions in the era of ‘fake news’?

Dr Myfanwy Lloyd is an historian and freelance museum consultant. Her current research into Naomi and Arthur’s story is supported by the Holocaust Museum Houston and the Soldiers of Oxfordshire Museum.

Other recent projects include co-curating ‘Owning the Past: From Mesopotamia to Iraq’ at the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, and the ‘Nice Cup of Tea’ exhibition at the Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford. She has been a tutor for Continuing Education at Oxford University for 20 years, specialising in war and memory, women’s history and postmodernism.

Watch the event for free on the museum website. No ticket or registration is required. Visit https://www.sofo.org.uk/whats-on/lettersfromliberation/ to watch the video in your browser once it goes live.

Please consider making a donation online or by text. Your donations support the museum’s work caring for its collections and events like these, sharing stories like Naomi and Arthur’s.

Images (clockwise): Letter to Arthur Tyler, Photo of Naomi Kaplan reproduced by kind permission of the Warren and Brandon families, Oxfordshire Yeomanry and civilians look on as buildings at Bergen-Belsen Camp are burned down (Credit Oxfordshire Yeomanry trust) and Arthur Tyler (second from right) and Oxfordshire Yeomanry (Credit Ginger – Bytheway Family)