Survivor Profiles: Eva Schloss
Try to make friends with people who are different from you - a different race or religion. And realize we are the same - we all want the same things.
In 1929, Eva Schloss (born Eva Geiringer) was born in Vienna, Austria. Eva had an older brother, Heinz, with whom she was very close. Her family was upper-middle-class, nonreligious, and owned a shoe factory prior to the war. In 1938, Germany annexed Austria in an event known as the Anschluss, and laws against Jews were immediately enacted. Forced to become German, her family lost their nationality and were given new passports that identified them as Jewish. Eva’s father was able to move to Amsterdam in 1939, and the rest of the family joined him in 1940.
In Amsterdam Heinz began composing on the piano, learned the accordion, and started a jazz band. The Geiringers also met the Frank family during this time, and Eva and Anne Frank became friendly. In 1942, after the Nazis occupied the Netherlands, Eva and her family went into hiding.
Moving frequently to stay undetected, Eva and her mother could be more openly visible than the rest of the family as they were both blonde and could pass for being Dutch. While in hiding, Heinz wrote poetry, taught himself six languages, composed music, and painted,
On Eva’s 15th birthday in 1944, the Dutch woman who had been hiding Eva’s family had betrayed them and alerted the secret police of their location. Eva was sent first to Westerbork Concentration Camp, saved from being sent straight to Auschwitz-Birkenau after her mother insisted she wear an overcoat and frumpy hat that made her look older. Eva’s father and brother died after they were sent on a death march to Mauthausen Concentration Camp while Eva and her mother spent the war together in Birkenau.
Eva had many other narrow escapes, including being saved by a cousin named Minni with nursing experience from typhus. Minni was also able to give Eva and her mother extra food, as her usefulness to the Nazis as a nurse provided her some protection. She even saved Eva’s mother from the gas chamber, getting her name taken off the list when she went before the infamous “Dr. Death,” Josef Mengele.
Eva and her mother were liberated by the Soviet Army in 1945 and returned to Amsterdam where they reconnected with Anne’s father Otto Frank, who Eva’s mother would later marry, making Eva Anne Frank’s posthumous stepsister. Eva also returned to their hiding place during the war and retrieved her brothers paintings that had been buried under the floorboards.
Eventually, Eva moved to London and married Zvi Schloss, and the two went on to have three daughters and five grandchildren. Eva has authored three books and is a co-founder of the Anne Frank Trust in the UK. She is still very active today in traveling the globe and sharing her story. Her hologram tells her story in the Museum’s Abe & Ida Cooper Survivor Stories Experience.
Learn More:BBC Article The Guardian article USHMM Testimony
Photo credits: Quinn Russell Brown