Holocaust Survivor and Anne Frank’s Stepsister Eva Schloss Shares Inspiring Life Stories on Austin Tour
Eva Schloss sits down with Darryle Clott at Fellowship Church in Round Rock March 23. Schloss is the stepsister of diarist Anne Frank whose father, Otto Frank, married Schloss' mother. Credit: Wendy Goodman
By Wendy Goodman
Eva Schloss, one of the last touring Holocaust survivors, made three stops in Austin to share her inspiring life stories and connect with people young and old, Jewish and non-Jewish.
Schloss was born in 1929 in Vienna, Austria. Shortly after Hitler invaded, her family left their home for Belgium, then Holland in 1938. By 1942, Schloss and her family went into hiding before they were betrayed in 1944 and sent to Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp.
During her tour in Austin, Schloss first visited the Fellowship Church in Round Rock to talk about her childhood, family and experiences during WWII in a moderated discussion with Holocaust educator Darryle Clott.
Schloss recounted the memories she will never soon forget. “My father called us together and said that he found wonderful people who are willing risk their life to give us a safe home. But he couldn’t find a family who was big enough to take four people because apartments are quite small. So, we have to split up,” Schloss described how her family went into hiding.
“He said, I will go with my mother, and Heinz [brother] will go with him. I started to cry. I didn’t want to be separated. My father explained if we are in two different places, the chance that two of us will survive is bigger. He mentioned ‘survive.’ At 13, I think it was the first time that I realized it might be a matter of life and death. That was really frightening for me. So then, we went into hiding,” she said.
Schloss continued with stories of enduring the horrific conditions of the death camp, losing her father and brother, surviving with her mother, and life after the war. The evening closed with questions, photos, and applause from the audience.
The following day, Schloss participated in the Interfaith Action of Central Texas Red Bench event at Congregation Agudas Achim. Red Bench brings together people of different faiths, cultures and religious backgrounds for round table discussions on topics impacting social and civil discourse. Schloss addressed the crowd on the day’s subject of genocide, then took part in the small group discussions.
On the final stop of her Austin tour, Schloss met with Westlake High School students to teach children about the Holocaust. Schloss shared her story to ensure that future generations learn from the past, do not repeat the same mistakes, and never forget.
“It’s a very important study to educate yourself, and to try to work together. This is really the purpose of my talk: to educate you about what has happened. But also you have to take part in what is happening in the world. You will be the future,” she said.
Schloss has written three books on her experiences entitled “Eva’s Story,” “The Promise” and “After Auschwitz.”
Schloss also stars in the 2017 short documentary called “116 Cameras.” The film follows Schloss on her journey to preserve her life story as a 3D interactive hologram. The hologram is now on display in museums and will be accessible for future generations. ■