In Part One A week or so following their wedding, the 'New Paladium' was showing a Laurel and Hardy comedy film, followed by the main feature "Hold your Man" with Jean Harlow and Clark Gable. It was described as 'A really gripping production, both intensely dramatic and romantic. A film for adults only. Little did they know that they were soon to be embroiled in a worldwide drama not just for adults, but children too? The 'gripping drama' that week was for six nights only. However, the drama of war, soon to be upon us was for 2,194 nights and days. In Part Two Babies had been born there. A mother, driven mad with hunger, screamed at me to give her 'milch fur meine kinder', and thrust the tiny mite into my arms, then wandered off unable to shed just one tear as she was so dehydrated. He said, as I opened the bundle, I found that the baby had been dead for days and stunk to high heaven. As he told us what he had seen, he really was in a bad way, with tears in his eyes, his whole being was trembling uncontrollably. As he wandered off he said, "That day was the worst day of my life". Rumour has it that he was repatriated soon after. Poor kid.
The camp was "Bergen Belsen" concentration camp. In Part Three As I waited in line, I could see little of what was going on and as it turned out, was glad I could not see. When my turn came the nurse said are you Kenneth Gibbons, yes miss. My height and weight were recorded; I was quite weedy for my age. I remember being called Belsen once as I was so thin. I am sure it stopped as soon as people knew what it really meant. A listen to my chest and then the nurse said take your trousers down so the doctor can examine you. As I did not have any underpants on, and the fact that I was standing in front of a lady nurse, I was embarrassed beyond belief; The Doctor put his fingers at the side of my "robin" as mam called it and asked me to cough. Apparently, it was to assess the development of my genitals but I felt as if I had been naked in the middle of Mersey square. I was born with my twin sister in May 1938 and grew up in a north of England mill town in poor circumstances and the threat of war. As you read this book, you will find that my lot was often a happy one even though times were hard. We all have a story to tell. This is my story from 1925 to 1949.
In it I relived many memories from my childhood, some happy, some sad, some frightening, and many memories of our loving mam and dad. Now that I have time to look back, I felt a need to commit these memories to paper. With the discovery of lots of wartime letters, photographs, and my own memories I think I have done justice to mam and dad. Kenneth Gibbons