20 April 1917
|Died||17 July 2013(aged 96)|
|Other names||Anka Nathanová|
(m. 1940; death 1945)
|Children||2; including Eva Clarke|
Anna Kaudrová 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 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.
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.
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. 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.
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.
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.