In ‘Born Survivors,’ British author Wendy Holden tells the harrowing tale of three mothers who gave birth in the Nazi camps, and the children who, against all odds, survived
By Jenni Frazer|The Times of Israel
Wendy Holden thinks “Born Survivors” is the most important book she has ever written, and as the author of more than 30 books she would know best. But the British writer goes further. The book, she says, is not just important, but she feels she was destined to write it.
“Born Survivors” is a meticulously told work of the true stories of three babies born to Jewish Nazi concentration camp inmates as World War II stuttered and stumbled to an end.
In April 1945, Priska, weighing only 70 pounds (31 kilos), delivered Hana on a table in a factory before she and 1,000 other women were deported to Auschwitz. Rachel, just as gaunt as Priska, gave birth to tiny Mark in an open coal wagon, halfway through a seemingly interminable 17-day train journey to the Austrian concentration camp of Mauthausen with hardly any food or water. Anka gave birth to Eva on a cart full of dying women as all three mothers arrived at the camp’s gates.
Miraculously, the babies, and their mothers, survived through a combination of luck, circumstance and perseverance. None of the mothers was aware of the other’s dire situation, and none of the three surviving children knew each – believing they were the only ones to be born in the camps – until they met for the first time 65 years later.