Anne Frank’s step-sister, Holocaust survivor Eva Schloss visits NMSU


Courtesy Photo

The Alevy Chabad Jewish Center de Las Cruces presented “A Story of Triumph with Eva Schloss” at New Mexico State University’s Center for the Arts on March 17. The program focused on the live-storytelling of Eva Schloss, a Holocaust survivor and step-sister of the late Anne Frank. 

The Holocaust was a genocide initiated by Nazi Germany during World War II that ended the lives of six million Jews and 17 million lives in total. Schloss was 15-yearsold when she entered the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp. 

Schloss initially decided to speak up about her experience in 1986, years after the conclusion of the war.  

“Suddenly, everything which had been suppressed for 40 years came out and it was a great relief for me. Eventually, I found my own voice—and unfortunately, it is very necessary because we live in a very warring world—wars going on and people have not accepted each other,” Schloss said. 

Schloss said her optimism and continued hope for the world was found in her first child.  

“I got pregnant and for me, that was a miracle,” Schloss said.  

During her time in the concentration camp, Schloss said she was only given a small piece of bread at night and some liquid in the morning — liquids that sterilized women’s reproductive abilities making it hard for Schloss to conceive. It was after receiving hormone treatments later in life that she was able to finally conceive a child, Schloss said. 

“And from then on, I realized you know, life is beautiful—it has a lot to offer. And if you see nature, it dies. Every year, everything dies and it comes back again. We are very lucky to have wonderful people and we should keep up to give everybody a good time,” Schloss said. 

Though she is positive now, this was not the case early on in her life, as Schloss spent much of her childhood receiving discrimination for being Jewish. She emigrated to Belgium and then to the Netherlands to flee the dangers of the Nazis until her family was captured. It was in the Netherlands where Schloss would meet her childhood friend, Anne Frank, who would become her stepsister after the Holocaust.  

NMSU philosophy major Serena Selinfreund said Schloss’ message of hope impacted her deeply.  

Even when her [Schloss] whole word was shattered, she found reasons to keep going. She overcame hurdles even after the fighting was done. Whether it be her shyness, infertility or her depression, her story to me was really just one of undying hope,” Selinfreund said. 

Despite enduring a historical tragedy, 89-year-old Eva Schloss said she will continue to share her story with people from all over, especially with younger people. 

“I will continue to speak and teach the younger people, especially as they will be our future. So, all the students and young people, remember we can create together a wonderful, peaceful beautiful place world for everybody,” Schloss said. 

Selinfreund also shared how she will use Schloss’ message going forward and why her speech was significant.  

“Right now, in our country and around the world, people don’t treat one another the way they should. I think when you look at her story, all she really wants us to do is be kind to one another and to advocate for others. 

So many people from our campus and surrounding cities came to listen to her story. It shows that no matter what things are going on in the world around us, we here at NMSU support messages of hope and inclusivity,” Selinfreund said. 

Though Schloss spent much of her time during the program explaining the details of her survival, autographed copies of Schloss’ book titled Eva’s Story outline her story in depth. 

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