To link to BBC news and TV coverage of Eva's visit to Sullivan click here
This year Eva Clarke, a Holocaust survivor, visited Sullivan Upper School to tell her amazing and unique story to the year tens who had been learning about the Holocaust in Religion. We had also done Holocaust activities prior to the talk in History with a history teacher and a citizenship teacher. These activities helped to prepare us for hearing of the shocking things that happened to non-Aryans during Hitler’s reign. We looked at pictures of people on their holidays or in a classroom or in their house with their parents. You couldn’t tell whether these people were Jewish or what their nationality was. The point of this exercise was to show us that they were all the same as us just with different beliefs, and to show us just how shocking the Holocaust really was. The activity highlighted to us that the victims of the Holocaust did not deserve to be victims. They did nothing wrong and yet they were punished. The activity underlined this point to us and made the whole concept of the Holocaust more real and therefore more horrifying.
Another one of the activities we did was to look at some of the laws that the Nazis passed to restrict the lives of the Jews, we then discussed how it would make us feel. This helped us to try and understand how the Jewish people were made to feel by the Nazis. The activities really gave us a good background to what life as a Jew was like in Nazi Germany.
Then it was time for Eva Clarke to tell us what happened to her and her mother during the Second World War.
Eva was a very skilled and eloquent storyteller which I suppose is due to her telling this story for ten years to different schools. Eva went into great detail and was not afraid to tell it how it was even when it got a bit upsetting, this also surprised me as she knew exactly what was said to her mother even though she wasn’t there to hear it. Eva’s mother was put through great hardship during the Holocaust and it was a miracle that she survived. Eva Clarke was born only a couple of days before the death camps were liberated. It was a wonder that she survived as well considering her mother had been starved and was very weak and very underweight. She was so underweight that no one noticed that she was pregnant. This talk about the Holocaust was very useful for the year tens as it was very insightful into the way the Jews were treated and the horrible conditions they were made to live in. It was amazing to hear the story and almost unbelievable that it was actually allowed to happen. There were so many different times when Eva’s mother was close to being sent to her death but her strength saved her every time, and with a little help from her friends she was able to survive and put her death off a little longer. It truly is amazing that she evaded death for so long.
The pure fact that she was pregnant twice, sadly her first baby died soon after birth, while in a concentration camp should have been enough to guarantee her death, but it seems that her ability to work saved her several times. It seems that no matter what the circumstance was or what was about to happen to her Eva’s mother found the strength to carry on. She gained strength from her friends, within herself, from thoughts of her unborn daughter or even in a simple glass of milk; no matter what she found a reason to keep on living and I feel that is a valuable lesson which is weaved throughout this story. No matter what there is always a reason to live, all you have to do is find that reason no matter how small it is and carry on. This is what Eva’s mother did and in the end it paid off and she is now over ninety and still going.
So Eva came to Sullivan to educate us on the horrific things the Jews were put through during the Holocaust and in doing so we have learnt a lot. We have learnt of the horrendous conditions Jews were made to live in during the Holocaust. We have learnt that we should remember and pay respect to all the millions of people who died during the Holocaust for what they believed and the way they lived their lives. We learnt that no matter how bad things look we should always hope for the best and find comfort in the good things about the situation.
Even though Eva’s mother was put through hideous things during her time in death and concentration camps she got her daughter Eva at the end of it.
Daisy Barker Year 10
To link to BBC news TV coverage of Eva's visit to Sullivan click here