Special to the Ledger
The story of Anne Frank and her family is among the most iconic in Holocaust history. Most people learn about the young victim of Nazi terror from her diary, published in 1947 and the staple of many American middle- and high-school curricula.
As a childhood friend and stepsister of Anne Frank, Eva Geiringer Schloss knows the story up close, and has dedicated her life’s work to keeping its legacy alive. The co-founder and trustee of the London-based Anne Frank Trust UK will speak in Milford on Nov. 2 to support the $1.5 million reconstruction of the historic Hebrew Congregation of Woodmont synagogue, which was badly damaged by a 2012 fire.
A native of Vienna, Austria, Eva Geiringer fled from the Nazis to Belgium and then Amsterdam in 1938 with her parents, Erich and Fritzi, and brother Heinz. The family lived at Merwedeplein 46, opposite the Franks. Heinz Geiringer, like Anne Frank’s sister, Margot, received a summons in July 1942 to report for transport to a labor camp in Germany. The Geiringers went into hiding, betrayed in May 1944 by a Dutch nurse and sent to Auschwitz, where Heinz died; Erich died on a death march. Fritzi and Eva, liberated in Auschwitz, returned to Amsterdam in June 1945 in the same transport as Otto Frank, who had lost his wife Edith and daughters Margot and Anne.
Otto and Fritzi married in 1953 and settled in Basel, Switzerland. Eva moved to London to pursue a career as a professional photographer and married Zvi Schloss, a German Jew who had survived the war with his family in Palestine.
Author of Eva’s Story and After Auschwitz, which chronicle her Holocaust experiences, Schloss is also the subject of And Then They Came for Me: Remembering the World of Anne Frank, a 1999 play by James Still. In 2012, she was awarded a Member of the Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth.
Rabbi Schneur Wilhelm, spiritual leader and director of the Hebrew Congregation of Woodmont-Chabad Jewish Center of Milford, calls Schloss’s visit to Milford “an historic event.”
“Everyone knows about Anne Frank and has read her diary,” he says. “This is an opportunity for everyone to hear her stepsister’s personal account. It doesn’t happen very often that there’s someone with such a close personal connection to Anne Frank whom you can hear speak in person.”
Eva Schloss: Sunday, Nov. 2, 5 p.m., Cinemark Theatre Connecticut Post 14, Westfield Connecticut Post Center, 1201 Boston Post Road, Milford. Ticket info: (203) 878-4569, JewishMilford.com/AnneFrank.