Eva Geiringer Schloss: Anne Frank’s step-sister
|April 17, 2009||
|this is column number 23|
Good old reliable...
“Who was Anne Frank?” Many people would answer, “She wrote a diary during her time hiding from the Nazis” or, “She died in Bergen-Belsen in 1945.” However, fewer people know about Anne Frank’s step-sister, Fritzi Geiringer, who along with her daughter, Eva, survived Auschwitz, and married Anne Frank’s father, Otto, after the war. Eva was born in Vienna, Austria, on May 11, 1929, about a month before Anne Frank was born. Eva was the second child of Erich and Elfriede (“Fritzi”) Markovits Geiringer. Eva also had an older brother named Heinz.
After Hitler invaded Austria in 1938, Eva’s family fled to Belgium, and ultimately settled in Amsterdam, Holland. In Amsterdam, the Geiringers lived in the same apartment complex as Anne Frank, and her family. Eva, and Anne, were childhood playmates. These were happy times for Eva. “The daily routine at home,” she later recalled, “gave me the security I had not experienced for a long time.”
In May 1940, after the German invasion of Holland, the safety of the Dutch Jewish population was greatly endangered. Like all Dutch Jewish children, Eva, and her brother Heinz, were forced to transfer to a Jewish school where they would be taught solely by Jewish teachers. In July 1942, after Heinz received a Nazi order that he report for labor, Eva’s family went into hiding. Eva, and her mother, hid in one location, and her father, and brother Heinz, hid in another location.
On May 11, 1944, Eva’s fifteenth birthday, she, and her, mother were betrayed, and arrested by the Gestapo. When they arrived at Gestapo headquarters in Amsterdam, they discovered that Eva’s father, and Heinz, were also there. The Geiringers were transported to Westerbork in Holland, and ultimately to Auschwitz. At one point, Eva’s mother was selected for the gas chambers but was miraculously saved by a cousin who was also a prominent nurse in the camp hospital. Eva, and her mother, were liberated by the Russian Army when Auschwitz was liberated on January 27, 1945. Shortly after their return to Amsterdam, they learned that Eva’s father Erich, and brother Heinz, had perished.
Eva moved to London in 1951 (where she still lives) to study professional photography. She married Zvi Schloss in 1952, an economics student from Israel. A year later in 1953, Eva’s mother Fritzi married Anne Frank’s father, Otto, who also lost his immediate family in the Holocaust. Otto and Fritzi moved to Basle, Switzerland, where Otto’s mother and siblings lived. After the publication of Anne Frank’s diary, Fritzi helped Otto answer the vast amount of correspondence that he received.
Eva and Zvi Schloss had three daughters and five grandchildren. From 1972 to 1997, Eva had her own antiques shop. Since the 1980s, Eva has been increasingly active in Holocaust education. She has published two books: Eva’s Story, and The Promise, both of which chronicle her Holocaust experiences. She has also spoken to audiences throughout the world.
What Eva’s father told her and brother Heinz as children still applies today, “All the good you have accomplished will continue in the lives of the people you have touched….Everything is connected like a chain that cannot be broken.” Finally, let us say L’Chayim! To Life!
For more information,
access Eva’s website at: http://www.evaschloss.com/
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