Skip to comments.Anne Frank's Stepsister Keeps Holocaust Story Alive
Posted on 01/16/2013 7:12:54 PM PST by nickcarraway
Eva Schloss calmly thrust out her forearm as if a routine gesture, revealing a row of tattooed numbers.
The 83-year-old Holocaust survivor fields plenty of requests to see them, as she travels the world telling of her time in the Auschwitz concentration camp during World War II.
They ask me questions and Can I give you a hug? Schloss said this week, sitting in the lobby of a San Francisco hotel, where the London resident is on a California speaking tour. Ive never met a Jew, Ive never met a Holocaust survivor. Its quite amazing.
If Schloss story was simply about a young Jewish girl surviving the hell of war, it would be eternally gripping. But there are so many more layers.
After moving with her family to Amsterdam as an 11-year old, Schloss came to know a neighbor girl who was so chatty she was nicknamed quack quack. The girls name was Anne Frank.
She was interested in her clothes, in her hairstyles, in boys, Schloss recalled, emphasizing that she herself was a shy tomboy at the time.
Schloss, said the young Anne liked to have a crowd around, and was as outgoing as Schloss was reserved. Schloss remembered another key detail about her neighbor.
She wrote little stories already at that time, Schloss said. But of course nobody expected she would become that known and write her diary.
When the Nazis invaded Amsterdam, like the Franks, Schloss and her family were forced into hiding. She and her mother took refuge in a hidden annex in an apartment, while her father and brother hid elsewhere.
For two years, Schloss life played out in tiny rooms -- she described them as hiding places with even smaller hiding places within them.
At night when the Gestapo came to search, which they did regularly, she said, we quickly went into this hiding place and hoped they would not find us.
Schloss and her mother darted from hiding place to hiding place, seven in all. But their run came to an end when a nurse turned them in. She was briefly reunited with her father and brother for the train ride to Auschwitz, but never saw them again once the men and women were segregated. The last thing her father told her, was to make sure to wash her hands to avoid disease.
This was for my mother and me the hardest after the war to cope with, Schloss said. "The loss of your family in this horrible way.
After the Russians liberated the camp, Schloss life circled back in a strange trajectory. She and her mother returned to Amsterdam where her mother eventually married Anne Franks father, Otto, who had lost his own family in the death camps.
Schloss described their 27-year marriage as a loving romance.
When he went on the bicycle to work and my mother went on the tram, she said, he always rode with the bicycle next to her.
The discovery of Anne Franks diary weighed heavily on Otto Frank, Schloss recalled. He was torn about releasing the obviously personal details of his daughters emotion-laden writings, while realizing the historical significance.
In the end, Schloss said Otto Frank gently edited out some of his daughters more biting criticisms of some of the people sharing space in their hidden annex in Amsterdam. At the same time, she said he left in details about Annes troubled relationship with her mother. Still, Otto Frank grappled with the publicity that would follow.
The film was made and the play was made, said Schloss. Otto never went to see either. He said I couldnt face to see my family portrayed on the screen.
Schloss struggled to quell her own feelings about the brutal things shed witnessed in the concentration camp. She eventually married and moved to London where she raised three children.
I got married in 52, said. But I never talked to my husband about it, nor to my children.
But the decades served as a divine healer, and eventually the details, stories and recollections bubbled to the surface. Schloss, has written two books about her experiences and now travels the country speaking.
A pair of speaking engagements in the Bay Area quickly sold out. A talk scheduled for Wednesday night in the East Bay was moved to the much larger Kaiser Center in Oakland to accommodate the larger crowds.
Although shes now 83, Schloss said she will continue speaking as long as she can, to educate young people about the Holocaust. She worries the years will dim peoples memories.
You know theres still a whole world, she said. A lot to teach and learn.
” She worries the years will dim peoples memories.”
Having visited the Anna Frank house in Amsterdam, I think it would be hard to forget the Nazis.
I have been watching the WW2 series on my Sat. TV.
It is hard to believe the horrors of WW2 in Asia and Europe.
It is truly sickening.
I love the story of Frank.
Is there a similar story from someone, as powerful, from the Communist era?
Funny you never hear of those.
I am a child of a concentration camp survivor, not Jewish, my dad was in a Japanese concentration camp in China for being Belgian, form age 10 to age 13. He is still suffering from it
I love your tag line. Mine have, too. :-)
You might want to rephrase that. But, yes, there are a number of stories like this about communism.
Have you read the book “Empire of the Sun” by J.G. Ballard, which is about an English boy in a Japanese p.o.w. camp in China?
There was also a very good series made by the BBC about European women in a p.o.w. camp, called “Tenko”.
Saw the movie. It was very similar to my dad’s and uncle’s and grandmother and grandfather’s experience, all the way down to the malnutrition. My dad told me that when the Japanese came on shore, his dad took them down to the shore to watch and said they would never see anything like that again. They had to wear patches too, my uncle still has theirs.
Wow! That’s fascinating! Tell us more.
I had the privilege of hearing Eva Schloss speak many years ago. She is a gracious woman, and what a precious piece of history to hear from a contemporary of Anne Frank! I’d also visited the Anne Frank house, looking through the windows they’d looked through all those years ago...seeing the height marks her mother had made on the doorframe.
http://www.evaschloss.com/evasbooks.htm — “Eva’s Story” is especially good.
What’s even more sickening are those who deny it even happened.
well there are pictures on the internet of the beautiful house in Tsing Tao they had to leave behind...
They sometimes go to reunions on the east or west coast of internees
My dad describes the Japanese giving them 3 hours to gather their stuff to leave for the camp. His neighbors did not have to go because only people from Allied countries had to go and the neighbors were from an Axis country.
No wonder our country is so screwed up.
When I was 12 or 13, an Army brat living in Germany - mid 60’s, Dad took the family on a European history tour. Visiting the concentration camp at Dachau and standing in Anne Frank’s home in Amsterdam had more impact on defining who I am than anything else in my youth. Understanding what a government can do to people who are denied the rights to defend themselves probably has much to do with why I am a conservative - and ardent 2nd amendment supporter..
..also made into a movie many years ago
She lived in Holland...(like Anne Frank, but was taken to Germany to the Ravensbruck Concentration Camp)