Eva Schloss, MBE, is an Austrian-English holocaust survivor who has dedicated her later life to informing younger generations of the horrific events which scarred her teenage years – the systematic genocide of the European Jewish community during World War II. Speaking for nearly two hours at Streatham & Clapham High School, GDST, Schloss gave a moving and personal account to her audience of girls – many of whom were a similar age to her when she was taken to Auschwitz.
Schloss, who was deported to Auschwitz when she was just 15, is now 90 and lives in London. As the step sister of the diarist, Anne Frank, Schloss has worked to keep Anne’s memory alive.
She spoke to the GDST pupils about how she grew up in the same Amsterdam apartment block as Anne Frank and the girls played together between the ages of 11 and 13, how her family were betrayed by a Nazi spy, how her mother married Anne Frank’s father Otto after the war and how she came to London as a refugee.
Anne Frank’s step-sister recounted that she only survived Auschwitz because of the chance kindness of a stranger. When the 15-year-old Eva arrived at the Nazi concentration camp with her mother, a stranger’s gift of a lady’s coat with a hood disguised Schloss and spared her from the gas chambers.
Schloss told the girls to talk about their problems and difficulties and to stand up and fight prejudice and discrimination wherever they encounter it. She also held a private audience with school’s Head Girl, Halimah Salami and Hannah Webb, one of Streatham & Clapham’s Holocaust Education Trust pupil ambassadors.