Eva Webb: personal papers

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

This collection contains the personal correspondence and autobiographical account of Eva Webb, a former Jewish refugee girl who escaped from the Nazi regime with the help of the Kindertransport programme. In her autobiography she describes her early childhood life with an aunt in Czechoslovakia, her school years with her father and step-mother in Berlin in the 1930s and the increasingly difficult situation for Jews during the Nazi regime, her rescue by a family in Oxford, and the fate of her parents and grand-parents who perished in concentration camps and in the bombing raids in Berlin, respectively. Also included is correspondence relating to her war compensation claim, confirmation of the death of Heinrich Poper by Theresienstadt Martyrs Remembrance Association and letters from her father.

Administrative / Biographical History

Eva Webb (née Poper) was born in Berlin in 1927, the third child of Jewish couple Ernestine (née Krauss, c 1892-1931) and Heinrich Poper (c 1895-1944). Her father served in the First World War and was awarded the Iron Cross. As her mother suffered from TB she was soon sent to join her elder brother Hans and sister Elizabeth (Erszi) who were living with their aunt Anna Neni in Velka-Bytca, Czechoslovakia. When Eva was four years old her mother died.

Her father soon remarried an 'Aryan' woman, Trude Gebhardt. Eva and her brother Hans moved back with their father and step-mother. Life became increasingly difficult in Berlin with Heinrich being unemployed and the family being subjected to anti-semitic abuse. She transferred to the "Schule der Jüdischen Gemeinde" in Moabit where she learned English in preparation for a possible emigration. Due to the difficulties of being in a mixed marriage and the fact that Trude Gebhardt did not want to emigrate, they divorced in 1939. At the same time a wealthy foster family was found in Oxford who was willing to care for Eva. Professor Lane-Poole was lecturer and later president of St John's College. They had another daughter who was sent away to relatives in the countryside when war broke out. Eva's schooling changed very frequently. She initially attended Oxford High School but was soon transferred to the Convent of the Sacred Heart School for Girls at Oxford, followed by St Juliana's Convent boarding school at Begbroke, near Woodstock. She completed her training as a nursery nurse in 1945.

Heinrich Poper was deported to Theresienstadt concentration camp in 1943. In September 1944 he was transported to Auschwitz concentration camp where he died. Trude Gebhardt died in one of the last air raids on Berlin.

Arrangement

Chronological

Conditions Governing Access

Acquisition Information

Donated by Eva Webb

Note

2009/8

Related Material

For photograph see Photo Archive (2009/8)