Learn how survivors coped in post-war Europe

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Anka arrives at Mauthausen.

Towards the end of the war Eva's mother, Anka, was put on a train of open coal wagons and taken on a horrendously long journey across Europe. She eventually ended up in Mauthausen.

Watch and listen as Eva explains what happened when Anka arrived at the camp.

Then, watch the second video to learn how Anka coped with survival.

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Anka and Eva are liberated

No home, no country

In 1935, the Nazis had taken away the citizenship of Jews living in Germany and German occupied lands. As they invaded and occupied lands, the Nazis also took away the nationality from millions of Jews across Europe.

Consequently, when the war ended Jewish survivors had no papers and no passport. They were in essence people of no nationality, with no official name, no home and no country to return to. 

Those survivors who did begin to return home to search for relatives were often treated with hostility from the non-Jewish population. Many of the locals feared that the Jews would demand that their property and belongings be returned.

It often took many years before survivors gained the dignity and safety of a land they could call home. Only then were they able to begin to build a new life.

For most survivors, after the basic needs of finding food, clothing and shelter were dealt with, searching for relatives was the most important objective. 

There were many routes to try.

Some returned home where they often met hostility from the non-Jewish population. Others searched through the camp network, contacted the Red Cross or made contact with family members who had found refuge in the USA, Canada and UK.

This process could take years, and for many survivors still continues today.