Eda's Object

Pair of child's cotton knitted socks, made by Eda de Botton in Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, for her daughter Reina, 1943/45. Look at these socks. What do they reveal about Eda's journey during the Holocaust?

More than simply two socks, these beautifully crafted items hold much powerful testimony.

Eda knitted them during her incarceration at Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, with the intention of giving them to Reina when they were reunited.

The socks Eda made for her daughter were very small, probably knitted with the baby she’d left behind in mind as opposed to the child that baby had become in the years since she’d last seen her. They did not fit Reina when Eda gave them to her once they were reunited.

To knit these socks at a time when she was unsure if she would ever see her daughter again is an act as hopeful and inspiring as it is heartbreaking. What else could Eda hold onto other than the thought that she may one day be reunited with the child she had been forced to give up?

More than simply a pair of socks, these beautifully crafted items hold much powerful testimony.

To knit these socks also constituted a survival strategy – a way for Eda to get through the agonising hours of everyday life in the camp. As it is possible she swapped her meagre food allowance for the yarn, they can also be seen as a representation of Eda’s dedication and devotion to her daughter.

Menorah, found by Eda de Botton in an abandoned house in Germany, after her liberation from Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, 1945. JMG copyright.
Copper alloy candelabrum, found by Eda de Botton in an abandoned house in Germany, after her liberation from Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, 1945.

This album was compiled by a Royal Air Force gunnery instructor who documented the situation at Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. His photographs and commentary provide insight into some of the horrors Eda may have witnessed during her time there.

These three rings which were discovered in Bergen-Belsen upon liberation. One has the inscription ‘Miers’ and the date 11-11-39, while the silver band has a square design. While we know they were collected by a liberator, there is no information about who they once belonged to.

NHCM copyright for Bergen-Belsen supporting artefacts


Όπως οι συμμαχικές δυνάμεις προέλαυναν στην κατεχόμενη Ευρώπη, ανακάλυπταν τα ναζιστικά στρατόπεδα συγκέντρωσης και εξόντωσης. Το Μαϊντάνεκ ήταν το πρώτο στρατόπεδο που απελευθερώθηκε το καλοκαίρι του 1944.


Το στρατόπεδο Μπέργκεν-Μπέλσεν στη βόρεια Γερμανία ιδρύθηκε το 1940 ως στρατόπεδο αιχμαλώτων πολέμου. Το 1943 παραδόθηκε στα SS και έγινε «στρατόπεδο κράτησης», κυρίως για Εβραίους κρατούμενους, αν και φυλακίστηκαν επίσης Ρομά, Μάρτυρες του Ιεχωβά, ομοφυλόφιλοι, πολιτικοί κρατούμενοι και εγκληματίες. Λόγω των συμμαχικών δυνάμεων που πλησίαζαν τα στρατόπεδα, ο πληθυσμός του Μπέργκεν-Μπέλσεν αυξήθηκε από περίπου 7.300 σε πάνω από 90.000 μεταξύ Ιουλίου 1944 και Απριλίου 1945. Οι ήδη απάνθρωπες συνθήκες επιδεινώθηκαν, με τις ασθένειες να εξαπλώνονται γρήγορα. Όταν τα βρετανικά στρατεύματα απελευθέρωσαν το Μπέργκεν-Μπέλσεν στις 15 Απριλίου, βρήκαν 53.000 αιχμαλώτους, η πλειονότητα των οποίων ήταν αδυνατισμένοι και υπέφεραν από ασθένειες. Όπως τεκμηριώνεται στη διάσημη εκπομπή του Richard Dimbleby, χιλιάδες νεκρά σώματα κείτονταν άταφα στο έδαφος. Άλλοι 13.000 πέθαναν τις ημέρες μετά την απελευθέρωση. Τελικά, περισσότεροι από 70.000 άνθρωποι δολοφονήθηκαν εκεί.


Τα γκέτο ήταν ειδικά επιλεγμένες περιοχές, όπου οι Εβραίοι αναγκάζονταν να ζήσουν. Με αυτό τον τρόπο διαχωρίζονταν από το κοινωνικό σύνολο και ελέγχονταν. Ο αρχικός στόχος των Ναζί να οδηγήσουν τους Εβραίους έξω από τη Γερμανία έπρεπε να επανεκτιμηθεί μετά την εισβολή στην Πολωνία και το ξέσπασμα του πολέμου. Εκατομμύρια Εβραίων που ζούσαν στις κατεχόμενες από τους Ναζί περιοχές συγκεντρώθηκαν σε γκέτο. Την άνοιξη του 1940 οι Ναζί ίδρυσαν γκέτο στις μεγαλύτερες πόλεις της Πολωνίας. Η ίδρυση των γκέτο ήταν ένα προσωρινό μέτρο για τον έλεγχο και τον διαχωρισμό των Εβραίων από το κοινωνικό σύνολο, ενώ η ναζιστική ηγεσία στο Βερολίνο εξέταζε επιλογές για να πραγματοποιήσει την οριστική απομάκρυνση του εβραϊκού πληθυσμού από τη Γερμανία.

αντιστασιακό κίνημα

Η αντίσταση στον ναζισμό περιελάμβανε την αντίσταση από άτομα και ομάδες σε κάθε χώρα της κατεχόμενης Ευρώπης. Ποικίλλει από την ενεργό αντίσταση έως την πνευματική αντίσταση ακόμη και την τεκμηρίωση των εγκλημάτων.


As Allied troops made progress across Nazi-occupied Europe, they began to uncover concentration and extermination camps. The camp of Majdanek in Poland was the first to be liberated in the summer of 1944.


The Bergen-Belsen camp in the north of Germany was established in 1940 as a prisoner of war camp. In 1943 it was handed to the SS, and it became a ‘detention camp’, primarily for Jewish prisoners, although Roma people, Jehovah’s Witnesses, gay men, ‘asocials’ and criminals were also imprisoned. Due to the Allied forces approaching other camps, the population of Bergen-Belsen grew from approximately 7,300 to over 90,000 between July 1944 and April 1945. Already inhumane conditions deteriorated, with diseases spreading rapidly. When British troops liberated Bergen-Belsen on 15 April, they found 53,000 prisoners, the majority of whom were emaciated and suffering from disease. As documented in Richard Dimbleby’s famous broadcast, thousands of dead bodies lay unburied on the ground. Another 13,000 died over the days following the liberation. Ultimately, more than 70,000 people were murdered there.


Ghettos were specially selected areas where Jews were forced to live; where they were segregated, controlled, and dehumanised. The Nazis’ original aim to force Jewish emigration from Germany had to be reassessed after the invasion of Poland and outbreak of war. The millions of Jews living in Nazi-occupied areas were instead concentrated into ghettos. In spring 1940 the Nazis established ghettos in the larger towns and cities across Poland. The establishment of ghettos was a provisional measure to control and segregate Jews while the Nazi leadership in Berlin deliberated upon options to realise their goal of removing the Jewish population form Germany.

Resistance Movement

Resistance to Nazism included opposition by individuals and groups in every country in Nazi-occupied Europe and varied from active resistance to spiritual resistance to documenting what was happening.


The Nazis planned the mass-deporation of European Jews to extermination camps in German-occupied Poland. The Jews were forced to gather at local sites, such as a synagogue or town square, and then crammed onto freight or passenger trains, with limited or no food or sanitary conditions. Journeys often lasted several days, and sometimes they took a few weeks. Many of those packed onto these trains died during the journey to the camps through starvation or overcrowding.