It was a historic night at North Central College, where Eva Schloss, the friend and stepsister of Anne Frank, spoke about her experiences in the Holocaust.
“It’s a necessity to tell people what has happened because, like you may have heard, people still don’t believe it,” said Schloss.
Becoming a Refugee
The Chabad Jewish Center of Naperville hosted the event, where a sold out crowd heard Schloss recall how she became a refugee when World War II began.
Meeting Anne Frank
And she shared how she met Anne Frank in Amsterdam, who was just one month younger than her.
“She always sat on top of the stairs and tried to get the whole group of kids and was telling us stories. So to me, who was 11, she was very grown up [and] much more sophisticated than I was,” said Schloss.
Captured and Imprisoned
The two remained friends, until Nazis captured Schloss’s family on her 15th birthday.
Schloss and her mother were then separated from her brother and father, who didn’t survive after nine months in the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp.
“They told us ‘you’re going to be tattooed,’” she said. “‘You get a number on your arm. And if ever we need you, you are going to be called by that number. Forget you’re a human being with a name.’”
Liberation and Life After
After being liberated by Soviet soldiers at the end of the war, they reunited with Anne Frank’s father, Otto, who went on to marry her mom years later.
The chance to hear a first hand account of the Holocaust was a treasured experience for the audience.
“It’s crazy that I can still hear people alive, talk about the Holocaust,” said 17-year-old attendee Penelope Gregory. “And hopefully my kids will be able to see videos because eventually this won’t be an opportunity for everyone.”
An Important Story to Share
Schloss has shared her story around the world for almost 40 years. She hopes that education will encourage others to come together in times of hatred.
“But we have to not be like the Germans to be bystanders,” added Schloss. “We have to dare to have an opinion. We have to speak out.”
Naperville News 17’s Christine Lena reports.
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