Holocaust Survivor Gives Moving Talk In Chiswick

Eva Schloss is a step sister to Anne Frank


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The horrors of Auschwitz were vividly recalled by Holocaust survivor Eva Schloss (85) during a visit to Chiswick last week.

She told of how when her family, the Geiringers, moved to Amsterdam from Vienna in 1938, she befriended Anne Frank for two years although they were very different personalities, Anne being extrovert and stylish, even at the age of 11, while Eva was sporty and shy. But both families had to go into hiding and she never saw Anne again.

Eva told of how she was taken along with her parents and brother Heinz to the death camp Auschwitz after their hiding place in Amsterdam was betrayed by a nurse who was secretly a Nazi agent.

Upon arrival, they were separated by gender. She believes she was saved from the gas chamber because her mother gave her a long coat, which made her look older, whereas younger children were selected to be sent to be gassed.

The long hours of hard labour, the paltry rations, the degradations of lice-filled living quarters surrounded by the threat of typhus and the frequent beatings were vividly recalled by Eva for the congregation. The talk was part of the Conversational Evensong series organised by the Rev Andrew Downes at St Nicholas Church.

Eva Schloss recalled how she became ill in Auschwitz from drinking contaminated water and was sent to the hospital - a place where the chance of recovery was virtually nil- but met one of her mother's best friends, Minnie, who was working there. She smuggled food and medicine to them which helped them to survive. Her father and brother did not survive their ordeal, but she and her mother were freed in 1945 by Russian troops. They returned to Amsterdam and her mother Elfriede, later married Otto Frank, father of Margot and Anne Frank which made Eva Anne's stepsister.

Eva is a co-founder of the Anne Frank trust and was awarded an MBE in 2012 for her work.

Asked by Fr Andrew about how her faith was tested by her experiences, she said she was bitter for a long time after her release. After the birth of her first daughter she started to feel that life could be wonderful again. She had felt God abandoned her and her fellow inmates when she was in the camp.

Eva said initially Otto had initially been unsure about publishing Anne's diary and several publishers had rejected it. It became a bestseller immediately in America and then around the world which nobody could have foreseen.

Eva moved to London in the early 1950s and married Zvi Schloss. They have three children and five grandchildren

Afterwards Eva, who signed copies of her memoir, told chiswickw4.com that she used to visit Chiswick regularly

."I had an antiques shop when I was younger and I often came here to purchase items for my shop" she said.

April 24, 2015

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