The Holocaust Educational Trust
Through the Lessons from Auschwitz Project, sixth-form
students and their teachers take part in two afternoon
seminars and a one-day visit to the former Nazi extermination
camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau in order to then pass on the
lessons in their schools and communities
• We went to Cardiff to take part in a seminar before our trip to Auschwitz.
• We listened to a Holocaust survivor talk, to prepare us for what we would see when we got to Poland.
• Eva Clark talked to us about her mother’s experience in concentration camps, and how she survived being
born in Mauthausen concentration camp in Austria.
• We were shown images of German people at this time, and concentration camps.
• We were encouraged to think about the three groups of people, the perpetrators, the bystanders and the
victims and who could be blamed.
• We were also put into the groups we would be in for the trip to Poland. We discussed our opinions on
how the holocaust should be remembered, who was to blame and whether Auschwitz should be
maintained for visitors to see.
The story of Eva’s mother
Anna came from a village near Prague and studied law at university before marrying
architect Bernd Nathan in May 1940 – a year after Hitler invaded Czechoslovakia and began
imposing limitations on Jews.
In December 1941, Anna was sent to Terezin, a ghetto 35 miles from Prague, where she was
separated from her husband for three years.
During that time, she fell pregnant and was forced to sign a document stating that when her
baby was born, it would be killed by the Gestapo.
But that didn’t happen – her son Dan died of pneumonia at the age of two months.
Then in September 1944 all of Anna’s relations including her husband were sent to
Auschwitz and, in the early stages of pregnancy again, she followed him.
But the Nazis deemed Anna fit enough to work and she was sent to a munitions factory in
Freiberg, near Dresden, before then being forced onto an open coal train that took her to the
Mauthausen concentration camp in Austria. Eva told us how a Nazi guard allowed a farmer
to give her mother a glass of milk, something she believes allowed her to survive.
Anna, who was not fed or watered for three weeks, was nine-months pregnant and weighing just five stone.
She gave birth to Eva, who weighed just 3lb, surrounded by 20 women dying of typhoid with lice crawling
around in their thousands before wrapping the tiny baby in newspaper to try and keep her warm.
Eva says two things kept her mother and her alive: the Americans’ liberation of the camp just three days later and
the fact she was born the day after the Germans blew up the camp’s gas chamber in a bid to conceal evidence
from the advancing allies.
Eva was born healthily, with no medical problems despite the terrible conditions and weighing just 3lbs.
A doctor was allowed to come to Eva’s mother to cut the umbilical cord and ensure her health.
Anna later returned with Eva to Prague to find out what had happened to their family.
Her husband Bernd had been shot a week before the liberation of Auschwitz and her father died of pneumonia.
The rest of the family had been executed in the gas chambers.
It was after the war that Anna took Eva to live with one of her cousins until February 1948, when she married
He adopted Eva and seven months later the family met up in Cardiff.
The story of Eva’s mother
Our trip to Poland
Before going to the camps, we visited a small
town called Oświęcim which once was home
to many Jews. In the town there was a
synagogue and a church standing side by side,
and our guide explained how everyone of
different religions had lived in harmony before
the war. Now there are no Jews living in that
We visited the site of an old synagogue that
the Nazis had burned down during WW2.
We then visited another synagogue in the
town and listened to Rabbi Marcus talk about
how Jewish culture influences everyone's life.
We found out that Jews of the town had
hidden valuables such as the Qu’ran scroll
under the synagogue which were not
discovered till many years later.
There was a room full hair that the Nazis had removed
from the inmates and used to sell to companies that
created carpets out of it. The room contained hair from
140,000 victims, yet this amount was collected in just a
We visited Auschwitz 1 first. This is the camp that is set up as a typical museum, and has different rooms with
There was also a room containing shoes that were taken
from Jews. This shows the vast amount of people that
• At the time of our visit it was 6 degrees, and we were freezing. This shows how the victims who had no coats, shoes
and warmth suffered during the winter months.
• In the brick housing for the campmates there was no insulation or heating. There were also thin windows that offered
no protection in the winter.
• The stone steps in these buildings are worn into two groves, showing how so many people had trodden on them and
the vast amount of victims.
• The ground was covered in stony gravel. The victims did not often have shoes so this caused pain and disease.
• There were also torture rooms in this camp. These were kept for the prisoners who were deemed as needing extra
punishment. These included starvation room, a dark room with no light and a room only big enough to stand.
• They also killed people by firing squad, but this was replaced by gas to save bullets and to not mentally harm the Nazi
Auschwitz 1- living conditions
We also visited Auschwitz Birkenau
which was the extra barracks built
purposely to house the extra victims.
This is where the large gas chambers
were situated, the ones that the Nazis
destroyed before the liberation. The vast
size of this camp is shocking and goes
on as long as you can see. There are also
foundations laid which shows the plans
the Nazis had to further expand this
The barracks had gaps at the
bottom and along the top of the
roof which made them freezing in
the winter. They had huge bunk
beds inside, which were crammed.
They were full of diseases, and
people fought to get to the top
bunk. This was because the
diarrhoea used to fall on those on
the bottom bunks.
At Auschwitz Birkenau we were
showed a cattle cart which
transported the victims to the
camp. These held 80 people for
days on end.