The gift of a life spared, and the horrors a young 15 year old girl faced, during the time she was held in the Nazi concentration camp at Auschwitz, are only part of the story told by Eva Schloss.
On Wednesday, October 24th, 2018 the Chabad of Oceanside, New York presented, “ A historic evening with Anne Frank’s Stepsister Eva Schloss”
Eva Schloss, now 89 years old, did not speak publicly about the Holocaust for 40 years. Eva and Anne Frank met when they were both eleven years old and became friends. Eva spoke of how Anne was sure of herself, confident and loved talking and sharing ideas with people. She recalled riding bikes, playing hopscotch and jumping rope with Anne.
But sadly as the Nazi’s rose to power Eva and her family escaped from Austria and fled to Holland. But after the Nazi’s invaded Amsterdam like the Frank family Eva’s family went into hiding in 1942. She spoke of the hardships and fear that hiding involved, behind cupboards and under moveable floorboards and the need to change their hiding place numerous times as the Nazi soldiers searched the houses and the host families were in grave danger.
Tragically, in May 1944, on Eva’s 15th birthday, the family was betrayed by a Dutch nurse who pretended to be part of the resistance. She betrayed the family’s hiding place to the Nazi’s and they were sent to Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp. Eva was beaten severely and left in shock. She was separated from her father and brother. This was the camp where no one was expected to live. A5222 was tattooed on her forearm. She told of no toilets, not being able to wash and receiving small pieces of moldy bread.
The living conditions and the harsh cold and working conditions caused many to perish. In January 1945 the Russians liberated the camp. It was a miracle that she and her mother survived. Sadly, her father and brother didn’t, as they were victims of the infamous Nazi “death marches.”
In May 1945 Eva and her mother were repatriated to Amsterdam. Once there they reestablished their friendship with Otto Frank. Tragically, the entire Frank family except Otto, died during the Holocaust.
The only remains of his children is the book written by his daughter, “The Diary of Anne Frank.” As time passed Eva’s mother and Otto Frank fell in love and married, making Eva the step -sister of her childhood friend Anne Frank.
Listening to Eva speak about her happy childhood with her close friend Anne Frank and how their lives changed forever when the Nazi’s arrived was an unforgettable experience, not only for this writer but for the hundreds in attendance who could not hold back their tears hearing about the atrocities Eva had endured. The sincere, emotional retelling of horrors and loss, left many in the audience in tears. Eva Schloss speaks because as she says, “there is still racism, prejudice against other people, religious differences, color differences, and we really must stop to accept each other for just human beings.”
“ We must not be bystanders regarding the ills that the world still faces after the Holocaust! “ she stated.
By: Joyce Vetere Milowski
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