Year 12 students researched Auschwitz survivor
As part of our Year 12 history lessons, students learned about Auschwitz and the Holocaust. Our Year 12s have been responsible for passing on what they have learnt to others in their community through the Next Steps Programme.
They chose to write an article on Auschwitz survivors, Anka Bergman and Eva Clarke.
The train journey lasted 17 days. They had no food and little water as the train approached the Mauthausen concentration camp. The realisation of where everyone was, left Anka Bergman in such shock that she went into labour in a cart, giving birth to her daughter, Eva Clarke.
Anka married her first husband, Bernd Nathan on 15th May 1940. A year later they were both sent to Terezín, a concentration camp established by the SS during the Second World War. Three years later she volunteered to follow her husband, who was sent to Auschwitz–Birkenau. Sadly like most, she never saw her husband again, nor was he ever aware that she was pregnant with her first son, Dan. As the Nazis became aware of Anka’s situation they forced her to sign a document in which the new born would be sent to the Gestapo to be murdered. If Anka was not already tortured enough, her son died of pneumonia two months later. His death meant both Anka and Eva’s lives.
Had Anka arrived in Auschwitz with her newly born, she would have been sent to the gas chambers. Despite being pregnant with Eva, Anka only weighed 5 stone and thus her pregnancy was not visible. Fifteen of Anka’s family members had died at Auschwitz-Birkenau. Both mother and daughter survived, as by the 28th April 1945 Mauthausen had been liberated.
They were hopeful I’m sure. Anka later discovered that her husband was shot days before the liberation of the camp by the Red Army.
“I remember coming home from school one day when I was learning the alphabet – I must have been four or five years old,’ Eva recalls. ‘And on the back of the kitchen door, my mother had a brown suede shopping bag that someone had made for her in Prague. On it were the initials ‘AN’ for Anka Nathanova – her name from her first marriage. And I said, “Shouldn’t it be ‘AB’?” – And that was when she took a deep breath and first told me about my other daddy. And from then on, she would tell me everything – or as much as she felt I could cope with.”
We are proud that so many of our post-16 students choose to study history for A level. This is proof of the enthusiasm our teachers have for their subject, and their willingness to share their passion with pupils, and engage them in learning. We strongly encourage students to study history to engage with the past, and to be able to think critically about the world we live in today.