Holocaust survivor and author Eva Schloss, stepsister of Anne Frank, will talk about her experiences during a presentation at the Montage Deer Valley on
Holocaust survivor and author Eva Schloss, stepsister of Anne Frank, will talk about her experiences during a presentation at the Montage Deer Valley on Tuesday, Aug. 26. (Photo courtesy of Chabad Park City)
When author and Holocaust survivor Eva Schloss was 11 years old, she met her soon-to-be stepsister Anne Frank in Amsterdam.

Although the two were the same age, they could not be more different.

"We were not best friends, because I was more of a tomboy and she was quite a sophisticated little lady," Schloss told The Park Record during a telephone interview from her home in London, England. "Anne was interested in her clothes, hair styles and even boys, already. And she was also a big chatterbox."

Schloss will talk about her stepsister and her own experiences as a Holocaust survivor when she appears at Montage Deer Valley on Tuesday, Aug. 26, at 7 p.m. The program is being produced by Chabad Park City. Tickets are $35 for adults and $15 for students. VIP sponsor tickets are available for $300 and will include entry to a cocktail party with Schloss and a copy of her book "Eva's Story."

Tickets can be purchased by visiting www.jewishparkcity.com .

Schloss' visit to Park City is made possible by a group of Chabads, said Yehudi Steiger, Rabbi for Chabad Park City.

"She will start her tour in Denver and then she'll come to Park City for a day," he said. "The next day, she'll be in Idaho Falls, Idaho, and Jackson Hole, Wyoming, and then to Chicago, before returning to England."

Schloss said her presentation will be about her experiences before and after Auschwitz.

"I will talk about the time I lived in Vienna and the Nazis came during that terrible period," she said.


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"I will tell about my journey to Amsterdam where I met the Frank family, especially Anne.

"Anne was a much more happy and outgoing girl at that time, but by the time I met her, I had already experienced discrimination and she hadn't," Schloss said. "She had left Germany when she was 4 years old and had settled nicely in Amsterdam, but my family was persecuted in Vienna and then we went to Belgium, where we also found we were not welcome."

It was in Holland where the Nazis caught Frank's and Schloss's families.

"I remember first going into hiding and then being caught and deported to Auschwitz and I will address that terrible time, but not dwell on it too much, because I don't want to depress people," Schloss said. "However, I do feel it still has to be known."

One of the poignant segments of the presentation will come when Schloss remembers being liberated from the camp by Russian soldiers and returned to Amsterdam.

"That's where I got the news that my father and brother didn't survive the camps," she said.

Schloss will also address the struggle it took for the surviving members of her family to make a life for themselves.

"I don't think many people realize how difficult it was," she said. "People were always saying, 'Well, you survived and now you can come back to some sense of normality.' But it really wasn't, you know? It was very difficult."

One of the goals for these presentations is to remind people about this dark time in the world's history when more than 1.5 million Jewish children were murdered, Schloss said.

"After the Holocaust, people said, 'There will never be an Auschwitz because we have learned our lesson,'" Schloss said. "Perhaps at first there was a general sense of peace, but soon afterwards, other types of prejudice, discrimination and hatred started again."

These things came to a head for Schloss during the Korean War and the war in Vietnam.

"I woke up and realized that nothing has changed since I was in Auschwitz," she said. "People are just as cruel and don't care about other people's lives."

She feels that same sentiment today.

"Of course, now, when you look at what's going on in the world, it's terrible," Schloss said. "Thousands and thousands of people are being misplaced and becoming refugees because of unrest in their countries.

"It's because of discrimination, especially, religious discrimination," she explained. "You have Muslim against Muslim, Muslim against Christian and Christian against Christians and Christians against Jews."

That's why Schloss feels an urgency to her mission.

"We have to try to explain to young people that as long as people are decent, what does it matter if they have a slightly different religion," she said. "If you really compare all religions side by side, they are all basically the same. They may have a different god or a different way of looking at holiness, but religion is supposed to teach goodness in people. Unfortunately, it just creates hatred."

Still, the world's conflicts aside, Schloss feels the average person wants to live peacefully and raise a family and live in a world without discrimination.

"Unfortunately, discrimination happens all over," she said. "You see it early. It starts with bullying and then escalates into killing and people have to leave their own countries."

Schloss said the only way to eliminate discrimination and hatred from the world is through education.

"This has to be explained to young people, mainly to those in middle and secondary schools," she said. "I have also started talking in junior high schools, because those ages are starting to become contacted by influences outside their families. We can hopefully still educate them."

Schloss has been speaking internationally about her experiences for the past three decades, but it took a while for her to start.

"For 40 years, I didn't speak about what I went through," she said. "Can you imagine? That's a whole lifetime.

"I kept it all in my head, for all that time, but once I first spoke about it, I could finally let it all go in a way," she said. "So today, when I do my speeches, I want to give people hope."

Throughout the years of speaking, Schloss has touched many lives.

"Very often, children of Holocaust survivors will come to me after a talk and tell me they wished their father or mother talked about their experiences so they could know what really happened to them," she said. "I think it's very important for people to communicate and talk about these things, but I tell them to remember that back in those days, there wasn't any counseling available to us like there are for the soldiers who come back today from Afghanistan and Iraq. We had to cope with everything yourself, which made it all the more difficult."

Schloss started writing her memoirs because she "can't be everywhere at once," she said with a chuckle.

"My first book, 'Eva's Story' was more like little [segments] about what happened to me," she said. "The last book, 'After Auschwitz,' is more a reflection about how I coped with those experiences."

While it would be easy for someone in Schloss' shoes to look back in anger, she chooses to look ahead with happiness.

"I'm in my 80s and I have a more optimistic outlook on life," she said. "I have a wonderful husband, three daughters and five grandchildren. And I enjoy life very much.

"I try to make the most of it every day because I realize that I could have been killed," Schloss said. "So I wake up in the morning and see the sun shining and think, 'Life is wonderful,' which is so different than where I was 40 years ago."

The Chabad of Park City will present Eva Schloss, Anne Frank's stepsister, at the Montage Deer Valley on Tuesday, Aug. 26, at 7 p.m. Tickets are $35 for adults, $18 for students with a student I.D. Sponsor VIP tickets are also available for $300, which will include two tickets, a cocktail party with Schloss and a copy of her book, "Eva's Story." For more information, or to purchase tickets, visit www.jewishparkcity.com .