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March 29, 2007 - Image 15

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2007-03-29

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The Surviving 'Anne Frank'

Eva Schloss' Holocaust experiences closely followed Anne's.

Keri Guten Cohen
Story Development Editor

Jewish kapo had it in for Schloss' mother,
but went to the gas chamber instead when
Mengele intervened.
Schloss and her mother survived the
war. Her mother met Otto Frank when
both returned to their Amsterdam apart-
ment building, where Frank found Anne's
diary. Mother and daughter found the
paintings hidden in the floorboards.
Eva went to live with Frank in London.
After settling affairs, her mother came to
London and the two got married.


olocaust survivor Eva Schloss'
life paralleled that of Anne
• Both girls were 11 and lived in the
same Amsterdam apartment building
when the Nazis took over Holland.
• Both went into hiding with their fami-
lies but were betrayed.
• Both suffered in concentration camps,
although Eva survived.
• Both knew Anne's father, Otto, as a
parent because he wed Eva's mother after
the war.
But make no mistake, Eva Schloss has
her own story to tell, which she does in
two books, Eva's Story and her newest, The
Promise. Schloss was in Detroit speak-
ing to several groups March 20-21 at the
invitation of the B'nai B'rith Great Lakes
Region's Enlighten America program.
A highlight of her visit was a Tuesday
evening of conversation with Sidney
Bolkosky, the William E. Stirton Professor
in the Social Sciences at the University of
Michigan-Dearborn. Bolkosky is director
of the Holocaust Survivor Oral History
Archive at the university.
More than 300 people filled the audito-
rium at the Zekelman Holocaust Memorial
Center in Farmington Hills to hear their
With little prompting, Schloss told of
growing up as a child in Vienna, sur-
rounded by culture and a loving extended
"We were very assimilated and only went
to the synagogue on High Holidays," she
said. "We had a good life. I had Jewish and
non-Jewish friends. We were accepter
But things changed drastically after
the Nazis came. She remembers the great
hoopla in the streets of Vienna when
Hitler was welcomed with open arms by
the Austrians — but not by the Jews who
"suspected what he did to Jews."
"Our parents — all Jews — were con-
cerned," she said. "My father was prepared
if Hitler marched in. He exported a lot
[from his shoe factory] to Holland. Only
half the money came back; the rest stayed
in Holland so he could start again. He left
for Holland in 1938 and we came later."
Her brother Heinz was sent to
Amsterdam first, after he was beaten at
school when he was 12. When she was
11, she and her mother joined them in

Author and Holocaust survivor Eva Schloss talks with Allison Karp, 12,
of West Bloomfield, the granddaughter of a Holocaust survivor.

February 1940, after living in Brussels for
more than a year awaiting visas.
"It was wonderful to live reuniter
Schloss said. "We had a grand piano that
my brother played. We had evening con-
certs. We made many friends. We felt safe
and free."

Hiding And Betrayal
Only two months later, the Nazis moved
into Holland, which was primarily
anti-Nazi, with many people aiding the
Resistance movement, she said.
"Slowly, gradually measures appeared
— Jews couldn't be out in the morning;
Jews couldn't use public transportation;
Jews couldn't go to the theater. It was a
nuisance, but we could put up with it.
After two years, we were anxious. People
on our square just disappeared!"
She spoke of the German edict to
move 10,000 young Jews to German work
camps. When her brother Heinz and
Margot Frank (Anne's sister) were on the
list, the families decided to go into hiding
instead. Other families sent their children,
not knowing they would be killed.
Schloss was just 13 when she received
her false ID papers. The family split up,
Heinz went with his father and Eva with
her mother. They needed to have hiding
places within their hiding places. Though
anxious and fearful, they managed to hide
successfully in various places.
Betrayal came on the morning of Eva's
15th birthday after visiting Heinz and her

father at a safe house supposedly found by
the Resistance.
"We didn't suspect because they usually
came at night:' Schloss said. "We opened
the door and Nazis and Dutch [Socialists]
were shouting."
On the cattle car bound for Auschwitz,
the last time she and her mother saw her
brother and father, Schloss learned about
the paintings the men had done and
hidden in the floorboards of one of the
Christian houses.
"I assumed it was our last journey:' she
said. "We were very scared and desperate.
We thought we would be killed. Our father
gave us tips on how to survive. The sad-
dest thing was that he apologized for not
being able to protect us any more. He was
powerless to protect his family"

Spared By Mengele
At Birkenau, the women's camp next to
Auschwitz, Schloss and her mother were
to be paraded before Dr. Josef Mengele,
who would decide their fate. Wearing her
mother's hat and coat, she appeared older
and was spared the certain death that
awaited girls and elderly women.
Her mother later was spared by
Mengele, at the intervention of her moth-
er's favorite cousin from Prague, Aunt
Minnie, who worked as a nurse for the
Nazi doctor. When her mother was put on
a list for the gas chambers, Schloss risked
her own life to seek out Aunt Minnie for
help in getting her mother off the list. A

A Promise Kept
As Bolkosky ended their lengthy conversa-
tion, he asked Schloss what "the promise"
[title of her book] was about.
"When my brother was 12, he became
afraid of dying:' she said. "I told him to
ask Father what will happen when he
According to Schloss, their father said,
"I promise you we're all a link in a huge
chain that is never broken. All you've done
in life, someone will remember. Nothing
ever disappears. I promise you this will
Schloss ended her talk by saying, "I have
fulfilled the promise my father gave to
Heinz by telling this story. It is so impor-
tant on Yom HaShoah to light candles and
say the names so people will not have
lived in vain."
Anna Cooperrider, 18, a senior at
Waterford Mott High School, played Eva
Schloss in the school's production of the
Holocaust play, And Then They Came For
Me. She waited patiently for a word with
"I would leave rehearsals in tears:' she
said, as her mother, Toni, and drama
teacher Marilyn Drake nodded. "As I read
the book, it became more real. I wanted to
meet her. You can't learn what she told us
from textbooks."
Tal Gutkovitch, 23, of Southfield said
she was moved several times to tears and
wished there had been time for questions
from the audience.
Allison Karp, 12, a Hillel Day School
student from West Bloomfield was per-
haps the youngest in the audience. She
was there with her father, Gary, and her
grandfather Alex Karp, a survivor and a
longtime HMC supporter.
"I wanted to come," she said. "It's good
to learn about the past."
The program was co-chaired by Don
Cohen and Laura Cohon. L.

March 29

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