More than 600 people came to Marlboro Middle School Oct. 13 to hear Eva Geiringer Schloss share her personal story of survival and her message of the dangers of hatred and intolerance.
The program was held by Chabad of Western Monmouth County.
A Holocaust survivor, Schloss was a childhood friend and neighbor of Anne Frank’s in Amsterdam who later became the famed diarist’s posthumous step-sister.
When Germany invaded Holland, both families went into hiding and were eventually arrested and deported. Eva and her mother survived Auschwitz and returned to Amsterdam. Otto Frank, Anne’s father and the only member of his family to survive, visited the Geiringers and, in 1953, when Eva was 23, married her mother, Fritzi.
Eva went to London, where she married Zvi Schloss; they raised three daughters and have five grandchildren. Since 1985, she has devoted herself to Holocaust education and the cause of global peace.
Schloss detailed the events surrounding her family’s hiding and the fear of betrayal by friends, the cruelty of the Nazis, and the losses, degradation, and humiliation she and so many others endured.
She talked about her friendship with Anne Frank, both before the war and in Auschwitz, and about Otto Frank. “He was very good to me,” Schloss said. “He seemed incapable of hate, and I was consumed by it.”
Schloss remained silent about her experiences for many years, but, she said, then “realized people seem to have already forgotten…and the new generation has not yet learned from the Holocaust, so it was so important to talk to young people about the dangers of racism, hatred, and prejudice.”
“America failed the Jews in Europe in the 1940s and today the world is once again in trouble,” said Schloss. Her goal in reaching out to audiences around the world is to motivate people to speak out and “take action” against racism and intolerance. To the younger generation she said, “You have a voice, you can protest. But now it has become more dangerous, so we have to join together to stand up for things we don’t like. We have to change the world.”
She said her current visit to the United States was timed for the opening of No Asylum, a documentary about the Frank family.
Marlboro Mayor John Hornik greeted the gathering, and Rabbi Boruch Chazanow, director of Chabad WMC, led the audience in a prayer. Jane Goldstein, academic supervisor at Freehold Regional High School District, moderated the discussion. A musical tribute was performed by pianist Phyllis Chancy Solomon, cellist Amy Goldman, and vocalist Chrony Zucker.
Audience members ranged from youngsters to seniors. Over 75 teens attended the event, including a group from the Friendship Circle and Chabad’s “C Team.” In addition, some 30 teens from B’nai B’rith Youth Foundation of Marlboro, YADBYAD, and RUACH attended.
The event was sponsored by Max Fitness; Marks & Klein, LLP; the Center for Holocaust, Human Rights & Genocide Education; and Dr. Gary Greenstein Periodontics & Implantology.
The presentation was recorded by JBS, the Jewish Broadcasting Network. To obtain a video recording, contact Rabbi Levi Wolosow at firstname.lastname@example.org.