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Monday, October 18, 2021

Holocaust: Birth certificate of survivor born in concentration camp to be shown at Imperial War Museum

The birth certificate of a Holocaust survivor who was born in a concentration camp will go on display as part of a new Imperial War Museum (IWM) exhibition.

Eva Clarke, 76, was born in Mauthausen just days before its liberation, making her one of just three babies born in the camp who survived.

Austrian civil authorities recorded her birth in the camp at 8.30pm on April 29, 1945.

The retired college administrator, who now lives in Cambridge, has donated the rare document to the new IWM Second World War and Holocaust Galleries, which opens to the public in London on October 20.

Some 3,500 items and stories from 80 countries will go on display in a world first, with an aim to preserve the memory of the six million Jews murdered to “ensure that the world never forgets what they experienced”.

Ms Clarke’s mother, Anka Kaudrová, from a Czech Jewish family, was pregnant on arrival at the camp after relocating from Auschwitz-Birkenau with her husband, Bernd Nathan, who was shot dead and never met his daughter.

Having narrowly escaped the SS selection process for gas chambers, the pair were almost the only survivors of their extended family and Ms Clarke’s birth certificate – stamped and signed from Mauthausen – allowed her to emigrate.

The £30.7 million display will also feature a last remaining terracotta tile from gas chambers at Treblinka extermination camp, uncovered by British archaeologists, and a section of concentration camp barrack from Velten.

Another feature will be the headphones worn by Hans Frank, the head of the German government in Nazi-occupied Poland during the war, at the International Military Tribune.

A piece of wreckage from the USS Arizona, sunk at Pearl Harbor in 1941, will be included and a deconstructed life-size 1940s house bringing the Blitz to life.

James Bulgin, a lead historian at IWM, said the artefacts “reveal that inconceivable things happened in very normal places, it really forces it right back into the memory”.

They will encourage visitors to think about how the Holocaust unfolded as “random acts of atrocities and violence” without the “sense of clarity” that hindsight brings.

Entry to the new exhibition is free but pre-booking general museum tickets is advised. 

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