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Eva Schloss was just 11-years-old when she met Anne Frank in Amsterdam at the beginning of the Second World War. The two girls became firm friends, until the growing intolerance of the Nazis forced them in to hiding.
While Eva hid with her mother in various homes around the city, Anne Frank was famously writing her diary in the annex of her father’s office building. After two years, both families were captured and sent to various camps around Europe.
Speaking to STV’s The Hour, Eva Schloss remembered arriving at the camp that would become her home for nine months: “The train stopped and we were let out and suddenly we saw this lovely blue sky and [felt] the breeze. But then we saw the sign: Auschwitz.
“We were herded into the camp, we had to undress, then our hair was all shaved, we were all tattooed, we all got a number, and then we had to work for morning early to night very late. We got in the morning a little mug of liquid and in the evening a chunk of bread.
“Of course, we suspected we were going to be killed but as long as you are alive you have hope.”
Although life in the camp was hard, Eva tried to get news of her family by sneaking into the men’s camp. There she met Otto Frank, Anne’s father, who recognized her instantly.
This realization that there were still friends out there gave her hope, until one day she saw what she thought was a huge creature coming out of the distance:
“I really thought it was a bear because it was all in fur and with icicles,” she said. “But when I really looked closer and approached I realized it was the first Russian soldier.”
Life after Auschwitz
Auschwitz was liberated but it was too late for Anne Frank. She and her sister Margot had been held at Bergen-Belsen, where both died of typhus in March 1945.
Among the six million victims of the holocaust were Eva’s father and brother, as well as six of the seven other people who had hidden with Anne Frank. The only survivor had been her father, who visited Eva and her mother back in Amsterdam.
He revealed that a family friend, Miep Gies, had saved Anne's diary from the annex after the family had been taken and Eva’s mother encouraged him to get it published.
Eventually the two parents fell in love, married, and were together for a further 27 years. Eva had become the step-sister of her childhood friend.
She added to The Hour: “After the war people said never again Auschwitz, but you see still atrocities and discrimination and hatred. This is really something that in the 21st century you shouldn’t tolerate anymore and you should educate the young people about equality, about discrimination and about consequences of hatred.”
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