The horror of the Holocaust still haunts Eva Schloss. Here she explains why it is more important than ever to spread the message of "never again"by Serena Kutchinsky / June 18, 2014 / Leave a comment
© THOMAS HAENTZSCHEL/AP/Press Association Images
Eva Schloss has lived her life in the shadow of both the Holocaust and her stepsister, Anne Frank, who would have turned 84 last week. At 85, Eva, who lives in London with her husband, is sharp and energetic. As the co-founder of the Anne Frank Trust, this former antiques shop owner, tours school and prisons teaching tolerance. Just like Anne Frank, her family were forced into hiding in Holland, betrayed and sent to concentration camps (in her case it was Auschwitz, in Anne’s Bergen Belsen). But, there the comparison ends—while Eva survived the camps, Anne, as we all know, perished. Their stories became inextricably linked when, after the war Eva’s mother married Anne’s father, Otto Frank in 1953. Anne became Eva’s stepsister posthumously, and she watched as Otto worked tirelessly, even obsessively, to keep her memory alive. Today, Eva is the guardian of that legacy, her latest book After Auschwitz details her struggle to rebuild her life after the war, and to come to terms with the horror and inhumanity she experienced.
SK: You only started speaking about the Holocaust and telling your story in 1986, why did you wait so long?
ES: I first wanted to speak out in 1945, but nobody wanted to listen. People had suffered too much. Then, a few years later when there was a desire for information, myself and many other survivors no longer felt able to discuss it. We suppressed what had happened to us for a long time.
When did you know the moment was right for you to share your experiences?
My stepfather Otto Frank dedicated his life to making his daughter the human face of the Holocaust. He was fiercely protective of Anne’s story—only he could talk about it. I never considered speaking in public, until I attended an Anne Frank exhibition in London in 1986. It was organised by Ken Livingstone, who invited me to say a few words at the opening. Afterwards, people told me how interesting my story was and that I should a write a book. That is how it happened.
Your life after the war has been dominated by Anne Frank’s story, did you ever feel jealous of the shadow she cast over your life?
Yes. All my life I was introduced as Anne Frank’s stepsister.…