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Holocaust Memorial Day

On Wednesday the whole school paused for an hour to listen to the powerful testimony of Holocaust survivor Eva Clarke.

Eva was in conversation with the Holocaust Educational Trust and each classroom played the livestream for our learners. The following are the thoughts of one of our learners after listening to Eva's testimony.

'During Period 2, all classes, including our own, watched an interview and testimony from Eva Clarke, a Czech survivor born at the tail-end of the Holocaust - she regularly volunteers as a speaker for the Holocaust Educational Trust. Eva discussed both her own life and the life of her mother, Anka, who had survived through the entire Holocaust, and experiencing the tortourous conditions of a Jewish ghetto, Auschwitz-Birkenau and Mauthausen.

Anka had become pregnant with a boy during her time in Terezin. Eva’s parents had to sign a document that when the baby was born, he was to be handed over to the Nazis to be euthanised. Although the boy died two months later due to pneumonia, his tragic death inadvertently helped Anka and Eva survive; if Eva went to Auschwitz with a baby, she would’ve been sent to the gas chambers immediately. Although Anka volunteered to go to Auschwitz with her husband (Eva’s biological father), Anka never saw him again - he’d been shot less than a week before Auschwitz was liberated.

Anka was then sent to Mauthausen, and managed to hide her pregnancy long enough to give birth at the gates of the concentration camp, after 17 days in a coal car - Eva herself weighed a mere three pounds at birth. Eva described her and her mother surviving the birth as incedibly lucky, as it was a day after the Nazis had run out of gas for their chambers, and a few days before Mauthausen was liberated. If Eva was born days earlier, she and Anka may not have survived.

As a student who formerly studied Nazi Germany at GCSE, and still has an interest in the subject, I found Eva’s testimony very informative and touching. She had very specific details about the life of her mother, and gave a more personal insight into the Holocaust. I believe it is very important to keep the stories of Holocaust survivors alive, especially since many survivors are passing away due to age. Overall, Eva’s story was very fascinating, and an important story to tell to younger generations.'