The step-sister of Anne Frank — the teenage diarist whose 1945 death at the hands of the Nazis made her a martyr and exemplar of Jewish suffering during the Holocaust — will speak at P.S. 89 tomorrow (Wednesday, October 5) evening. Eva Schloss was born in the same year as Anne Frank and was her childhood friend in Amsterdam in the early years of World War Two. (She became Frank’s stepsister several years after the latter’s death, when her mother married Frank’s father, Otto.)
Ms. Schloss will host an evening presentation about her experiences. In addition to reflecting on her relationship with Anne Frank and memories of her, Ms. Schloss will also provide an insider’s account of the interesting story of how the diary came to be published. In honor of the occasion, several Holocaust survivors have been invited to attend and bear witness to the lasting meaning of one of the best-known, first-hand accounts of persecution and enforced confinement during World War Two.
In 1938, as many Jewish families fled the German invasion of Austria, among the refugees was eight-year old Eva Geiringer, who (with her mother, brother, and father) moved first to Belgium, and then to Holland, where one of her neighbors was a German Jewish girl of the same age.
The two girls became friends and playmates (though, as Eva would say many years later, the girl was “much more grown-up and mature than me”). They passed the time by skipping, playing hopscotch and marbles, and drinking lemonade that the girls’ mothers prepared. After the Germans overran Holland, both families went into hiding. Both were eventually betrayed by informers and deported to Auschwitz.
Ms. Schloss survived her concentration camp ordeal and made her way to England, where she married Zvi Schloss and raised three daughters, worked as a studio photographer and ran an antiques shop. Her friend and stepsister, Anne, did not survive Auschwitz, but kept a diary that did. It became one of the most recognizable accounts of the Holocaust, and is now taught in schools all over the world.
Since 1985, Eva Schloss has devoted herself to Holocaust education and global peace. She has recounted her wartime experiences at more than 1,000 speaking engagements, written two books and has had a play written about her life. In 1999, Eva signed the Anne Frank Peace Declaration along with United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan and the niece of Raul Wallenberg, a legendary figure who rescued thousands of Jews in Budapest.
Wednesday’s event, “A Historic Evening with Anne Frank’s Stepsister,” is sponsored by the Chabad of Battery Park City, and will begin at 7:30 pm at P.S. 89 (201 Warren Street, at the corner of West Street). Ticket prices are $36 in advance, $45 at the door and $18 for students. A VIP package featuring a private reception with Ms. Schloss prior to the event is also available. To reserve a seat, click here