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Anne Frank’s Sister, Eva Schloss, Speech at CU Boulder
November 13, 2019 @ 7:30 pm - 10:00 pmFree
Anne Frank’s Sister, Eva Schloss, will give a speech at CU Boulder. This event is for anyone who has a colorado.edu email address.
This is a free event. Only those with colorado.edu email addresses can reserve seats, but they can reserve seats for those in the public community.
This will be in the UMC Ballroom of University of Colorado Boulder.
Eva Schloss has spent most of her adult life educating generations after her about the atrocities of the Holocaust.
Now she’s bringing her story to the University of Colorado Boulder on Nov. 13 as part of an event sponsored by the Jewish Student Association and the student-run Cultural Events Board and co-sponsored by CU Boulder Hillel and the campus’ Rohr Chabad Center.
Schloss was born in Vienna, Austria, on May 11, 1929, to a Jewish family. After Germany’s annexation of Austria in 1938, she emigrated with her family from her home country. She lived in the same apartment block as Anne Frank, and the two were friends as young girls. Frank’s father later married Schloss’ mother after the war.
In 1942 during World War II, the Nazi effort to capture Jews in Amsterdam ramped up, and both families went into hiding. After two years, Schloss and her family were betrayed by a double agent on her 15th birthday and transported to the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp.
Schloss said upon their arrival to the camp, they faced the first selection process. About half of their transport immediately went to the gas chambers, or “the wrong side,” as Schloss puts it. The elderly and children were the first to be picked out for selection. The teenager put on her mother’s hooded coat to hide her age, despite the summer heat that day.
“When [Dr. Josef] Mengele came and looked at us, a fraction of a second, he decided life or death,” Schloss said in a thick accent. “He didn’t realize how young I was. There were people of 16 and 17 years old from our transport who went to the wrong side.”
Being a teenage girl under any circumstances brings its own struggles. Those experiences were clearly compounded by being imprisoned in a concentration camp. Schloss said the conditions in the camp were grating on the mind and the body. Every morning the prisoners had to stand for two hours while the guards took roll call. They counted barrack by barrack, and if the final number didn’t add up, the count started all over again.
“If it doesn’t match, then they had to recount. It happened practically every day because if somebody had died in the night, they couldn’t come out of course,” Schloss said. “So that was the morning, extending for hours in the heat or in the rain or in the cold.”
Many prisoners died due to generally curable illnesses like cholera and typhoid. There was a sick bay at Auschwitz, but it was operated by Dr. Mengele, who’s twisted studies at the camp survive in infamy. The doctor would perform pseudoscientific medical experiments, specifically on women, without anesthesia. He would often remove different body parts, like a kidney, to see how long a person could survive without it.
“You didn’t want to go to the hospital, even if it was for just a little medication,” Schloss said. “Usually when you went there, you didn’t come out alive.”
The cruelty and brutality of the Holocaust is well documented, but those who experienced the camps first-hand are getting up there in age. Schloss said for the first 10 to 15 years after the war, it appeared that people had learned from their mistakes.
“It was a good atmosphere. People stuck together, there was still a lot of war, there was bad food rationing, but people helped each other,” she said. “As soon as people became more affluent and things got back to normal, the attitude changed and people started to be greedy. They wanted more and more, were not caring anymore for each other. There was a lot of prejudice again.”
The George Santayana quote, “Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it,” rings true to Schloss. She said it’s important to teach future generations about what happened so they aren’t condemned to repeating the same mistakes.
Schloss met privately in March with a group of teenagers in Newport Beach, Calif. The teens had posted photos of themselves at a party, posing with a Swastika made of red party cups, arms extended in Nazi salutes. The actions were denounced by the Newport Harbor High School Associated Student Body and administrators at the teens’ school.
Schloss said when she met with them, the students first denied they were doing the offensive gesture, and then they claimed they didn’t know what it meant. She said she initially didn’t believe their story, until she asked their teacher about their history lessons. The teens had recently completed lessons about WWII and the Holocaust before the party.
Schloss said students should begin learning the basics about the horrific period in middle school, and their parents should be engaged in the learning process as well.
“I said, ‘Well that’s too late.’ Sixteen-year-olds should already know quite a bit about it,” Schloss said. “The parents were there and I said to them, ‘You can’t leave everything to the school.’ This is something that happened which affected millions and millions of people. It’s your duty to tell your children as well that this happening in the world.”
Schloss said she can cope with little things like Swastikas and other imagery that she said will probably never disappear. What she said shouldn’t be tolerated is the bigotry that was central to Nazism.
Schloss equated the refugee crisis in the Middle East and Africa to how Jews were treated by Western countries during the war.
“We started those wars in Iraq and Syria and created the refugees,” she said. “Then we turn a blind eye and let those people perish. They have nowhere to go. Their town is bombed, they have no food or medication.
“Just kids who lose limbs and nobody cares.”