Eva Schloss Visits Quad Cities During HolocaustEducation Month
Eva Schloss is the step daughter of Otto Frank (father of the author of a very famous diary). She was in invited for the second time to the Quad Cities to promote the "Anne Frank - A History for Today" exhibit at the Putnam Museum in Davenport, Iowa. Eva spoke in various area schools and was kept busy with many forms of Holocaust Education while in the area. My daughter and I were very fortunate to be able to share a few hours with Eva and join her for supper (thanks to Allan Ross, Director of Jewish Federation of the Quad Cities). Since Cassie hopes to work full time with the writing project in the near future, this was an amazing meeting for her -- as for me as well. She left the Quad Cities with a proof copy of the A BOOK by ME story written by Sergiu Troaca from Romania. He heard her speak when he was a foreign exchange student in 2008 and she spoke in the Quad Cities the first time. He wrote a children's short story entitled Eva and Anne - Playing Hide and Seek With Evil for my project about her life and a young lady from Vietnam named Tu Hoang was the artist. Tu was also an exchange student to the USA. I hope you enjoy the bio written in Eva's own words below. She is a very special lady who has contributed much to building bridges of understanding between the WWII generation and youth today. It was an honor to reaquaint myself with her and spend time together. While together she told me she is currently writing her third book!
Eva Geiringer Schloss
In her own words ...
I was born in 1929 to a wonderful Jewish family in Vienna, Austria. I had a brother Heinz who was three years older than me. As World War II heated up through Europe, we were not safe so we immigrated to Belgium and eventually to Holland in 1940. This was two years after Hitler annexed Austria. It was during the time in Holland that we first met Anne Frank's family. They had moved to Amsterdam for the same reason we had. When the Germans invaded Holland in 1942, our family went into hiding. In May 1944, we were betrayed, captured by the Nazis and sent to Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp. Most people were killed at that camp as the Nazis wanted to murder all the Jews, as well as other minority groups. My mother and I were lucky to have survived and we were liberated in January 1945 by the Russians. They shared their soup and bread with us. I was very moved by their kindness, and my emotions got the better of me. They didn't realize their kind human act would touch me so. As fighting was still going in the west, we were evacuated eastward deep into Russia. Eventually in May 1945, we were repatriated to Amsterdam where we heard the devastating news that my father and brother had not survived. Otto Frank had also returned from Auschwitz and came to see us. He told us the terrible news that his whole family had died. A few days later he came again with a little parcel under his arm, he opened it very carefully, I remember it very clearly - it was Anne's diary. I felt it was for him a lifeline because he was in a desperate state. Through the diary, he felt that Anne was still really with him. He made it his task to publish it and promote her story. He came very often to visit us. He helped my mother with me; I was a very sad difficult teenager, full of hatred and suspicion and couldn't make friends. He was a childless father, a man who had lost both his children, so we became extremely close. Otto persuaded my mother to insist that I return to school, so I resumed my education and eventually passed my matriculation examination. I studied History of Art at Amsterdam University for a year. After finishing my education, in 1951 I went for a year to London to train as a professional photographer and during that time my mom and Otto became even closer. In London I met a young man, Zvi Schloss, from Israel, and we got married in 1952. My mother and Otto were married the next year in 1953. They were married for 27 years and I've never seen a happier marriage than those two. They devoted their lives to work with the diary and when it was eventually translated into seventy languages, they answered thousands of letters from all over the world. When my mother died, I found copies of 30,000 letters which they had written to people all over the world. This really was their life. Today Zvi and I live in London and have three daughters and five grandchildren. From 1972 until 1997, I ran an antiques shop in Edgware. Since 1985, I have become increasingly active in Holocaust education, and felt privileged to receive an Honorary Doctorate in Civil Law from the University of Northumbria, Newcastle, England. I also became a Trustee of the Anne Frank Educational Trust, U.K. In 1988 Eva's Story was published, providing an opportunity for people to read about my life. In 1995, I cooperated with playwright James Still in the creation of the educational play, And Then They Came for Me: Remembering the World of Anne Frank about four teenagers in the Holocaust. The play has been widely performed and I have had the honor of sharing my experiences in cities across the US, England, Europe and Australia. In 2005 I wrote The Promise with Barbara Powers, an educator from Chicago, Illinois. Barbara is the curriculum developer for the A Book By Me Series. Many individuals respond to my story expressing shock, deep sadness and concern. Some communities act on these concerns, share their stories of the past and their hopes for the future, listen to the older generation and enlighten the youth. www.evaschloss.com