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Ampersand Lest We Forget

Kingdom of Night
Witnesses to the Holocaust
By (author): Mark Celinscak
Mark Celinscak


University of Toronto Press



Product Form:


Form detail:

Paperback , Trade


Higher Education
Jan 28, 2022
$34.95 CAD


9in x 6 x 1 in | 500 gr

Page Count:

344 pages


45 b&w illustrations, 1 b&w figure, 4 b&w maps
University of Toronto Press
HISTORY / Holocaust

Kingdom of Night tells the stories of Canadians – in their own voices – during the liberation of the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp.

In April 1945, when the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp was surrendered and handed over to the British Army, Canadian forces arrived on scene to provide support, to bear witness, and to document the crimes. They were overwhelmed, understaffed, and left without adequate supplies, equipment, and medicine. Their encounters at the camp were haunting, transformative experiences that forever changed their lives.

In Kingdom of Night, Mark Celinscak reveals the engagement of Canadian troops and other personnel at the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. The book brings together a series of gripping, often deeply moving accounts that demonstrate the critical relief work carried out by Canadians who have been largely overlooked for more than seventy-five years. It outlines in both stark and moving detail what a cross-section of Canadians both said and did during the liberation efforts at one of the most notorious sites in Hitler’s camp system.

In addition, biographical overviews are presented for each Canadian featured in the book, not only highlighting some of their life-saving and humanitarian work, but also revealing what ultimately became of their lives after the war. Kingdom of Night depicts the gruelling efforts by those who assisted the victims of one of the greatest crimes in history.

  • Helps to rectify the gross misunderstanding of Canadian involvement in the liberation of the camps at the end of the Second World War
  • Includes first-hand accounts of thirty-five Canadians who encountered the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, drawing from diaries, memoirs, interviews, letters, and other forms of expression
  • Many of the documents came from national and regional archives, and rare, never-before-seen private collections
  • Provides a theoretical overview on reading narratives of real events, as well as a brief biographical sketch of each individual

Mark Celinscak is the Louis and Frances Blumkin Professor of Holocaust and Genocide Studies and the Executive Director of the Sam and Frances Fried Holocaust and Genocide Academy at the University of Nebraska at Omaha.

For more information contact
[email protected]

"With the remarkable testimonies contained in Kingdom of Night, Mark Celinscak demonstrates that we still have much to learn about Belsen. Expertly introduced and contextualized, the testimonies make for a profoundly moving reading experience. More than just a reminder of the Canadian involvement in the liberation of the camp, this book is a valuable addition to the literature on the Holocaust in general."

- Dan Stone, Professor of Modern History, Royal Holloway, University of London

"This invaluable collection of witness testimonies brings to light moving accounts of relief work and reportage by Canadians that have gone undocumented since 1945. Mark Celinscak’s painstaking collecting efforts and his insightful introduction make this compilation of hitherto unseen material a vital contribution to Holocaust studies."

- Suzanne Bardgett, Head of Research and Academic Partnerships, Imperial War Museum Institute

"Mark Celinscak’s Kingdom of Night presents the testimonies of Canadians who participated in the liberation of Bergen-Belsen concentration camp and its aftermath in a unique multidimensional volume. Celinscak deepens our appreciation of these eyewitness testimonies by providing short biographies of those whose accounts he uses. And not incidentally, he carves out a distinct place for Canadian participation in an epic event usually credited simply to British forces."

- Robert H. Abzug, Audre and Bernard Rapoport Regents Chair of Jewish Studies (Emeritus) and Professor of History and American Studies (Emeritus), The University of Texas at Austin

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