Holocaust survivor shares personal account of Second World War with To…

A Holocaust survivor who was one of only three babies to be born in a concentration camp and whose father was put to death at Auschwitz, has recalled her personal horror of World War II directly to Tollbar Academy and Tollbar MAT Sixth Form College students.

In a first-ever link up with a Holocaust survivor at the Academy, history teachers wanted to give students the chance to see the personal impact of the horror on families who were caught up in it.

The Holocaust was the genocide of European Jews during the Second World War – between 1941 and 1945, Nazi Germany and its collaborators systematically murdered six million Jews across German-occupied Europe, around two-thirds of Europe’s Jewish population.

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Eva Clarke was one of only three babies born in Mauthausen concentration camp who survived the Holocaust. She was born on 29 April 1945, just a day after the Nazis had destroyed the camp’s gas chambers and less than a week before it’s liberation.

Her birth certificate is going on characterize for the very first time in IWM London’s brand new Holocaust Galleries, opening this month.

Eva’s mother, Anka Kaudrová, had voluntarily followed her husband, Bernd, to Auschwitz~Birkenau after he was transported there from Theresienstadt ghetto in Czechoslovakia, where they had both been imprisoned.

She was pregnant with Eva on her arrival. However, she was never reunited with Bernd and later discovered that he had been murdered on January 18, 1945. He never knew his wife was pregnant.

Anka was moved from Auschwitz~Birkenau to a slave labour camp near Dresden, Germany, where she remained for six months.

She was later forced to persevere a horrific seventeen-day journey to Mauthausen, in open coal wagons, without food, little water and in filthy conditions.

On arrival at Mauthausen, Anka was so shocked when she saw the name of the notorious concentration camp that she went into labour. Anka weighed just five stone when she gave birth and Eva weighed just 3lb.

Eva and her mother were almost the only survivors of their complete family. Most were murdered in Auschwitz-Birkenau.

Today Eva (76) is a speaker for the Holocaust Educational Trust and lives in the UK. Eva combats modern-day instances of racism and prejudice by sharing her family’s experiences in the Holocaust.

Speaking via speed to Year 9 students at Tollbar Academy and Year 12 and 13 students from Tollbar MAT Sixth Form College, she related the harrowing impact of the extermination of Jewish families – men, women and children – showing pictures of family members who were murdered and recounting the terror and desolation they felt as told to her by her mother.

Students were humbled by her honest accounts of the Holocaust and its impact on her family. Edith Kerr, Year 12 student at Tollbar MAT Sixth Form College, said she felt studying the holocaust in greater thoroughness was basic to ensure that history does not repeat itself.

“I took a trip to Auschwitz myself with my dad and it was very eye-opening to see the trauma and the events that happened there. I have always found it really interesting to look back on history and, since I am doing International Relations in my studies now, it is a follow on from my GCSEs and a more complicate look into what I have already learned. Speaking to a Holocaust survivor is going to give me a better understanding of how it feels to be involved in that sort of event.

“I think it is mega important to nevertheless be taught about World War II. When you go into Auschwitz there is a quote that says ’Those That Forget The Past Are Condemned To Repeat It.’ Hopefully, learning about it we learn from our mistakes and learn how to move forward.”

Year 9 GCSE student James Riden said: “I think it is quite important that we do this because it widens our opinions and our views on the situation and I think we can learn from it.”

Jess Parkinson said: “It is so sad to think how these people died during the Holocaust and it wasn’t their fault, it was just based on identity and who they were.”

Amelia Sharp agreed with her fellow Year 9 students that learning about the events of World War II remains as important today as it was 75 years ago.

“I think it is quite important because in 10 or 15 years time people who are in school then will not be able to talk to anyone who has been by the Holocaust, and, already though it happened before we were born, it is nevertheless a very big part of history.”

Oliver Fothergill, curriculum leader for Humanities at Tollbar Academy, said: “We believe this is a highly poignant and important experience for our learners as they can see a human side to the experiencing experienced by millions during the terrible events of the Holocaust.

“Being able to listen to somebody like Eva allows students to contextualise the experiences felt by these people and gain a deeper understanding of one of the most tragic events in human history, in addition as build upon their learning of the Holocaust in our meaningful Stage Three curriculum.”

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