Irish war veteran donates his photo album from the Second World War
A photo album from an Irish second World War veteran who was present at the liberation of the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp has been made public for the first time.
The album of Albert “Paddy” Sutton, who died in 2018 at the age of 96, was handed over to the National Museum of Ireland (NMI) this year. It is being made public as part of a new online exhibition entitled Reflections on Resilience by the museum to coincide with the lockdown and the closure of the museum. (It is also exhibited by the National Library of Ireland).
Albert Sutton went to Belfast at the start of the war and joined the Royal Air Force. As part of the ground crew, he was in the vanguard of the Allied liberation force that invaded Nazi-occupied Europe in 1944.
He served in the British army during the Second World War and was in one of the units that participated in the liberation of Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in April 1945. In recent years, Albert participated in the national Holocaust Memorial Day commemoration and in 2016, HETI inaugurated the Albert Sutton Scholarship Fund to support members of the Defence Forces and the Gardai, to undertake Holocaust Studies. Reflecting on his experiences during the Holocaust commemoration, Albert said:
I was in Germany at the end of the war when we were asked by other British forces to assist in opening some of the concentration camps in the region.As we approached Bergen-Belsen, we were assaulted by an indescribable stench which reached us a few miles away from the gates. Once inside the camp, we saw piles of corpses, the emaciated survivors, and the ghost-like victims dying in front of our eyes.On confronting the horrors of the camps, we were glad to be of help, even at this late stage and all of us felt our military service had been worthwhile. On meeting survivors like Suzi and Tomi, I would do it all again!