A British couple who survived the Bataclan terror attack in Paris on their first date have revealed how they refuse to allow the tragedy to define their relationship.
Hanna Corbett and Jack Konda, both 24, were in the crowd at an Eagles of Death Metal gig when three gunmen shot and killed 90 people on November 13, 2015.
But while the tragedy may always be a factor in their lives, the pair firmly believe they would still be together even if they had not been at the concert on that night.
The pair admit they still struggle to celebrate the beginning of their relationship as their third anniversary today brings back the trauma of the horrific night.
Hanna Corbett and Jack Konda pictured in Paris last year for the memorial to those who were involved in the Bataclan attack in Paris
Hanna and Jack are pictured at Jack’s graduation (left), and in Paris two weeks ago, outside the Louvre museum
Both still attend concerts, despite their horrific experience, however they insist on standing close to an exit through fear of the same ever happening again.
Hanna and Jack plan to celebrate their milestone with a low-key meal and believe the tragic events ‘liberated’ them to make the most of the rest of their lives.
Hanna, from Harpenden, Herts, said: ‘It’s hard to put into words but the anniversary brings up everything that you try to push to the back of your mind all year round.
‘We always try to do something for the anniversary. It hasn’t been that many years but we try to distract ourselves from it. We do recognise that it was a huge part of our lives.
‘We involuntarily count the day of the concert as our anniversary. We weren’t official until after Christmas but this was when all our friends and family saw us as becoming official.
‘I think the Bataclan has become other peoples’ ideas of our relationship. You can tell family members are just itching to ask about it.
A photograph taken from inside the Bataclan by Hanna moments before three gunmen entered the building and shot people
The pair admit they still struggle to celebrate the beginning of their relationship as their third anniversary today brings back the trauma of the horrific night
‘That’s how Jack’s family found out about me and how mine found out about Jack so I guess that’s how other people see the foundation of our relationship.’
Despite bravely travelling the world together and both achieving First-class degrees since then, Hanna says she still becomes anxious in crowds and with sudden noises.
Meanwhile Jack battled horrific nightmares and admits he still feels paranoid and the couple aim to be near exits when going to concerts.
Hanna added: ‘It’s really hard to get your head around because you feel sad but you’re also really lucky to have survived so you should feel happy.
‘God, I remember [the terror] so clearly. I was very much thinking “I’ve spent my life in a library, I haven’t really achieved anything, I’ve done nothing with my life”.
‘It literally switched me on. People were dying around me and they’d done nothing to deserve that and I somehow lived. That’s like a real reason to live.’
Hanna and Jack (pictured on holiday) plan to celebrate their milestone with a low-key meal and believe the tragic events ‘liberated’ them to make the most of the rest of their lives
Band members of the Eagles of Death Metal are pictured on stage moments before bullets rang out inside the venue
The couple, then 21, had been friends at university but only confessed their feelings for each other shortly before Jack left for his year abroad studying in Paris in 2015.
Hanna travelled to Paris for the first date in November, with a stroll around the tourist sites and finishing the day at the Eagles of Death Metal concert.
Jack, from Richmond upon Thames, London, said: ‘I think the Bataclan anniversaire always overshadows our anniversary really. It makes me feel very reflective.
‘I remember thinking as I pulled Hanna onto the floor [during the attack], ‘we could either both die or I could fall on top of Hanna and maybe one person might survive’.
‘In that environment everything comes down to each second, when you’re expecting to be like [snaps fingers].
‘When you think that every second could be your last second, the space between them seem impossibly long.
Miss Corbett (right, with Jack) said she originally thought the noise of gunfire was firecrackers or fireworks and part of the show
Hanna travelled to Paris for the first date in November, with a stroll around the tourist sites and finishing the day at the Eagles of Death Metal concert
The pair dropped to the floor along with the rest of the crowd and narrowly avoided being killed as they managed to crawl on their hands and knees to safety.
They described how some played dead in a bid to avoid being shot while others were ‘screaming like they were being tortured’.
Miss Corbett said she originally thought the noise of gunfire was firecrackers or fireworks and part of the show.
Hanna said: ‘We try not to talk about it because it can really bring you down. I do notice that people don’t mention it if there’s a whiff of anything wrong.
‘I’ve avoided telling new friends about it because it can really bring you down in your mood and can just turn a whole nice evening into something quite upsetting.
‘Jack once innocently played some Eagles of Death Metal music at a barbecue we went to and everyone was asking who it was.
‘Jack said it was a band we went to see in Paris which obviously launched a thousand questions.
‘Obviously they don’t mean any harm by it – it was just the natural flow of the conversation – but it was something that we could have avoided.’