Holocaust survivor who grew up with Anne Frank is coming to speak at Cal Poly

Eva Schloss, stepsister of Anne Frank and one of the remaining few Holocaust survivors, will come to Cal Poly on Sunday to share her story.

“We’ve heard so much about so many people who don’t know anything about the Holocaust,” Schloss said in a phone interview with The Tribune from her home in London. “They don’t believe 6 million people lost their lives. They don’t know enough.”

Schloss, 89, said she wants to tell people what happened and also why it happened, as well as share her own personal story.

“There were many mistakes politically after the First World War, so it’s a lesson in history,” she said, “and I tell them, of course, about my story and my connection to Anne Frank.”

Holocaust survivor Eva Schloss is coming to Cal Poly on March 10, 2019, to share her story.
Courtesy of Chabad of SLO & Cal Poly

Schloss, who’s been sharing her story publicly since the 1980s, knew Anne Frank when they were children in Amsterdam. Schloss and her mother survived the Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland, and Schloss later moved to England.

Her mother eventually married Anne Frank’s father, Otto Frank, which made her Anne’s stepsister. Eva married Zvi Schloss and had three daughters.

Schloss said Frank was “very lively, interested in boys already” while she was more shy and reserved. As for Otto Frank, Schloss said he was “a wonderful grandpa” to her three daughters.

Hope after the Holocaust

Schloss said that for a while after the Holocaust, she had hope that there wouldn’t be any more prejudice or war, “but that was not really how it was.”

“There was persecution in Cambodia, the Korean War,” she said. “What is going on now, again, so many disputes and war, people being killed.”

Schloss said the state of the world today is unfortunate in her eyes.

“This is unfortunately happening a lot now — intolerance to people who are different,” Schloss said. “There’s no reason to attack someone because they believe something different than what you believe.”

But her five grandchildren and their friends — and young people in general — give her hope for a better world.

“They all realize it can’t go on like that and they all want to work together to change the world and make it a better place,” she said. “They reach to change things and live more in harmony, much more racial acceptance.”

“Young people are mixing much easier and accepting much better,” Schloss continued. “I have great hope they will be able to follow a much more harmonious future with less prejudice.”

West Coast tour

Rabbi Chaim Hillel of the Rohr Center for Jewish Life-Chabad of SLO & Cal Poly said in an email to The Tribune that he jumped at the opportunity to have Eva Schloss speak locally. Chabad is hosting the event.

Schloss is on a West Coast tour and will stop at Chapman University before coming to Cal Poly. She will then head to Bakersfield, Hillel said.

“We felt that her and other survivors’ stories are being forgotten and her message of tolerance is so important in our current climate,” Hillel said.

On Wednesday, the Daily Pilot reported that Schloss would meet privately at Newport Harbor High School with some of the students involved in a weekend party that featured Nazi salutes over a swastika made from red cups during a drinking game. 

“History is very important,” Schloss said. “It is important to realize what is right and what is bad and how this world should be governed. To take more interest in what is going on around you.”

“A Historic Evening with Eva Schloss” takes place at 7 p.m. Sunday in Cal Poly’s Chumash Auditorium. Tickets are $25, or $10 for high school students. Cal Poly students are free. A VIP package that includes seating and a reception costs $180. Pre-signed copies of Schloss’ book, “Eva’s Story,” will be available at the event for $20.

To purchase tickets, go to my805tix.com.

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Gabby Ferreira is a breaking news and general assignment reporter at The Tribune in San Luis Obispo. A native of Houston, Texas, she was a reporter in Tucson, Arizona; Indianapolis, Indiana; and Palm Springs, California, before moving to San Luis Obispo County in 2016.