Holocaust survivor Eva Schloss’ story mirrors that of Anne Frank. In fact, the two lived across the street from each other in Amsterdam during the war, and even played together sometimes as they were only a month apart in age.
Like Frank, Schloss and her family went into hiding in 1942 to avoid capture by the Nazis. And like Frank, she too was captured after being betrayed by a double agent — on her 15th birthday nonetheless — and sent to Auschwitz-Birkenau with her mother, father and brother.
She and her mother were the only two to survive until they were freed from the camp in 1945, and upon returning to Amsterdam, they reconnected with Otto Frank, whom her mother married a few years later.
Though Otto Frank dedicated his life to sharing his daughter’s story, Schloss didn’t speak of her experiences for 40 years.
“After the war, they said, ‘Never again Auschwitz’ … they knew it was terrible,” Schloss said. “People said it was going to be a more peaceful, happier, more considerate world, but I realized it wasn’t.”
Schloss has spent the years since telling her own similar tale. Now 90 years old, Schloss still travels, connecting her experiences to those of people currently trying to escape war-torn countries.
“It’s still happening,” she said, adding that she doesn’t believe the world has learned from its mistakes. “There is so much unrest, so much discrimination, so much hatred, so much intolerance. And every day, you hear all over the world… innocent people are being killed or refugees having to leave the country and aren’t accepted… So, we have to remind the world that they have to change their attitude (toward) each other.”
Schloss has a message she thinks is important for everyone to hear: the story of her personal struggles. “I want to tell them how difficult it was to live through a terrible time that you had to leave your own country where you had been growing up and had your friends and to go into a country where you were not welcome and you had to learn a new language, and then on top of it be deported to be killed by civilized people.”
This is a message she believes is really hitting home and is having an influence. “But I can only reach so many people,” she added.
Next month, Chabad of SCV is hosting a presentation with Eva Schloss, where attendees will be given the opportunity to hear that message firsthand.
Though this year marks the 75th anniversary of the liberation of concentration camps, Schloss believes learning about the Holocaust is just as important as it was 75 years ago and should be mandated in all education.
“The story of the Holocaust and other genocides has to be known and we have to keep on telling it to people so they stop doing such atrocities to each other,” Schloss said.
A Historic Evening with Eva Schloss is scheduled to begin at 4:30 p.m. with a VIP reception and the event set to begin at 6 p.m. on Sunday, March 15, at the Santa Clarita Performing Arts Center, located at 26455 Rockwell Canyon Road in Valencia. Tickets range from $26 to $46 while student tickets are $20. For more information, visit www.annefrankscv.com.