Anka Bergman

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Anka Bergman
Anka Nathanová cropped.webp
Bergman in 1940
Born
Anna Kaudrová

(1917-04-20)20 April 1917
Třebechovice, Czechoslovakia
Died17 July 2013(2013-07-17) (aged 96)
Other namesAnka Nathanová
Spouse(s)
Bernd Nathan
(m. 1940; death 1945)

Karel Bergman
Children2; including Eva Clarke

Anka Bergman (née Kaudrová; 20 April 1917 – 17 July 2013) was a Czech Holocaust survivor noted for giving birth to Eva Clarke whilst at Mauthausen concentration camp.[1][2][3]

Early life[edit]

Bergman and Bernd Nathan's wedding picture in May 1940.

Anna Kaudrová[4] was born in 1917 in the town of Třebechovice, in the present-day Czech Republic. She grew up with her parents and two brothers and sisters. They were raised as Jewish but not religious. After attending a boarding grammar school, she studied law at Prague University. As the Nazis took control in 1939, they closed universities and Bergman got a job as a hatmaker. On 15 May 1940[5] she married Bernd Nathan, an architect who earned an Iron Cross during the first world war. He previously moved to Prague from Germany in an attempt to escape Nazi control. As restrictions grew they were forced to wear a yellow badge.[3][6]

Holocaust[edit]

Bergman and her daughter, Eva Clarke, at Mauthausen on 11 May 1945

In November 1941 they were ordered to a warehouse near Holešovice station in Prague. Anka and Bernd were separated, and Anka was sent to Theresienstadt, which at the time was an old barracks transformed into a Nazi ghetto. She got a job there at a provisions store so she could help feed the fifteen members of her extended family transported to the same ghetto. After some time Anka was able to find her husband, and have a baby. The Gestapo forced her to sign a document that if her son was born it would be killed, but he died at two months old of pneumonia.[1][3][6][7]

In September 1944 Bernd was sent to Auschwitz-Birkenau. Anka was pregnant again, and, not knowing the camp, volunteered to join him. Upon arriving in October, she was again separated from Bernd, who would later be shot in a death march by the Nazis on 18 January 1945.[5][1][8] Anka, malnourished and keeping her pregnancy secret, was selected for slave labour in an armaments factory near Dresden, Germany. She was so malnourished upon being evacuated to the countryside for the Mauthausen concentration camp, she credits a farmer who offered her a glass of milk for her survival. She would have been sent to the gas chambers if they were not blown up the day before. Here she gave birth to her daughter Eva Clarke. Three days later the camp was liberated by American forces.[1][3][6][7][8]

During her time in these ghettos and camps, music from performers who were also captured helped motivate people to go on. Anka's favourite was the opera The Bartered Bride by the Czech composer Smetana.[3]

Later life[edit]

She returned to Prague to stay with her remaining family members. Her husband, parents, and two sisters were murdered at Auschwitz. In 1948, she started a new life with Karel Bergman, a Czech translator in the RAF, in Cardiff, Wales, and would often give talks on her experiences.[2][3][6]

Anka Bergman died on 17 July 2013. Her daughter, Eva Clarke, regularly speaks for the Holocaust Educational Trust.[1][6]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e "Holocaust survivor born in death camp". 12 February 2017. Retrieved 28 November 2019.
  2. ^ a b "A Week in Auschwitz: 'Anka's Story' - A Tribute to Anka Bergman". A Week in Auschwitz. Retrieved 28 November 2019.
  3. ^ a b c d e f Vulliamy, Ed (5 April 2013). "Terezín: the Nazi camp where music played amid the horror". The Observer. ISSN 0029-7712. Retrieved 28 November 2019.
  4. ^ "Narrating Mauthausen: Anna Bergman (born Kaudrová)". Mauthausen Memorial. Retrieved 1 March 2021.
  5. ^ a b "Holocaust survivor shares her mother's story". www.af.mil. Retrieved 28 February 2021.
  6. ^ a b c d e "Holocaust Educational Trust - Holocaust Educational Trust". www.het.org.uk. Retrieved 28 November 2019.
  7. ^ a b Hedgepeth, Sonja M. Saidel, Rochelle G. (2010). Sexual Violence against Jewish Women during the Holocaust. University Press of New England. OCLC 731331954.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  8. ^ a b Guardian Staff (9 January 2005). "Auschwitz 60 years on: The mother and daughter". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 28 November 2019.

External links[edit]