Graduate forges friendship with Holocaust survivor

A Southampton History graduate has formed a close bond with a Holocaust survivor thanks to the generosity of an alumna.

Marcus Clack (History MA, 2017) was the recipient of the Sue Wilson bursary, available to humanities students to support them during their studies.

Having studied the Holocaust for eight years, Marcus decided to focus his dissertation on the suffering of men as well as women, arguing that they have been marginalised from gendered analyses of the concentration camp experience.

As part of his research, Marcus met Auschwitz survivor Zigi Shipper and, through a series of interviews, formed a close bond with him. Marcus then went on to achieve a distinction in his dissertation.

He said:

I was over the moon with my final mark, but what I have taken from the experience was having the honour of meeting Zigi, who was so generous with his time. Having studied the Holocaust for so long, meeting a survivor was an incredible experience; one that I will never forget, and made possible through the bursary that I was given.

Marcus says he owes a debt of gratitude to Sue, as without the bursary he would not have been able to complete his Masters after his undergraduate degree in History, which he also studied at Southampton.

“I really was only able to take on the Masters and commit to it fully thanks to the bursary. I wanted to devote my energies to it, without having to worry about the debt or take on a job to pay for my living expenses.”

Sue said: “As one of the baby boomers, born shortly after the end of the second world war, I recognise that the lessons of history are vitally important in helping prevent humankind from repeating the genocidal atrocities of previous generations.

I am extremely gratified that my scholarship programme has contributed to enabling important research to be carried out, which enlightens our understanding of the experience of both men and women in Auschwitz. Work such as Marcus’s deserves our support and appreciation, and I am very proud to be connected with it.

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