Three babies were born within weeks of each other in Mauthausen Concentration Camp.
On 5 May 1945, the soldiers of the US Army’s 11th Armoured Division under command of Lieutenant General Edward Hale Brooks arrived at Mauthausen Concentration Camp in Austria. Among the tens of thousands of starving, sick prisoners they discovered, there were three tiny babies, born in unimaginable circumstances, in the final weeks of the war: the Holocaust’s youngest survivors.
The new mothers were oblivious to each other’s existence, yet last weekend their three children – having just celebrated their own 70th birthdays – walked together through the gates of Mauthausen at the commemoration of the camp’s liberation.
“They are family. I have siblings now,” says Eva Clarke , who was born on a wooden cart in the shadow of the prison camp’s gates on 29 April 1945, just hours after her mother’s arrival there.
The final gassing at the camp took place the previous night. The gas chamber was then disabled as SS guards began to flee in the face of advancing allied troops.
Mark Olsky was born eight days earlier, in the open coal wagon being used to transport all three women to Mauthausen. Hana Berger Moran was born on 12 April, her mother giving birth on a wooden plank on the factory floor at Freiberg (in German Saxony).
The women had all been sent to work in the aircraft factory camp from Auschwitz the previous year. Their selection was overseen by Josef Mengele Forced to line up naked in front of the Auschwitz doctor, the so-called Angel of Death, each had denied the pregnancy which, if detected, would almost certainly have led to their deaths.
Copyright Giulia Rhodes