Holocaust survivor in Sioux Falls worried about history repeating itself

Published: Oct. 28, 2019 at 10:59 PM CDT
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She is one of a dwindling number of people who survived the concentration camp of Auschwitz during World War II.

Her name is Eva Schloss and as a child just developed a close friendship with Anne Frank and would eventually become her step-sister.

Schloss is in Sioux Falls with a message she says people must hear. A story about her legacy and Anne Frank's legacy and making sure history doesn't repeat itself.

The memories she has of her life as a child consist of moments of happiness tinged with a life of horror under Nazi control in the midst of one of the world's most notorious concentration camps: Auschwitz.

"Germany was supposedly one of the most educated and cultured countries in Europe that people would follow such a bad man. and go along with 6 million Jews." To this day, at age 90, Eva Schloss can not comprehend how Adolph Hitler rose to power, kept that power and used it to convince an entire society that racial scapegoating and violence were acceptable. "That makes me very very sad."

Eva met Anne Frank when they were both 11. Their families had fle to the Netherlands to the escape the Nazis; Anne's family from Germany, Eva's family from Austria. Both their families went into hiding after the Germans invaded in 1940. Both were eventually captured and both sent to the Auschwitz concentration camp. "She didn't survive and I did."

After the war, Eva's mother married Anne's father Otto..making the girls step-sisters posthumously.

Eva feels one of the responsibilities of surviving Auschwitz is to speak as much as she can about what happened nearly eight decades ago. "We have to be careful that it doesn't happen again."

And for those who voice skepticism that a regime could put into place another holocaust in modern times, Eva tells me if it happened once it can happen again. "In Europe and America the right wing parties are getting more powerful so we really have to be alert and watch out that it doesn't go too far."

Eva Schloss is set to speak at Augustana University Tuesday night at 7 o'clock at the Elmen Center.

She says she is hopeful that the younger generations will grab the mantle of leadership in a way that promotes diversity and inclusion for all in society.