Holocaust survivor Eva Schloss sees parallels between the 1940s, when Jews fleeing the Nazis were denied entry into safe countries, and the plight of today’s refugees.
“The world is not at peace now,” Schloss told a full Knoxville Civic Auditorium on Tuesday evening. “There are many, many wars.”
But now, she says, people are more willing to speak up to resist what they see as wrong. “And that is important. We should all speak up about what should be done. Racism is still with us. There’s just one race — the human race.”
She also had some advice for President Trump in his pledge to “make America great again.” Support education for all people, she said. “Everybody has to have a good education. That’s important for Jewish parents. Look what we can accomplish.”
Schloss, 87, came to Knoxville from her London home in a visit sponsored by the Knoxville Jewish Community, Tennessee Holocaust Commission and East Tennessee Foundation. She’s best known as a childhood playmate and stepsister of Holocaust victim and “The Diary of Anne Frank” author Anne Frank. She talked about Frank and her own life during and after World War II in a question-and-answer interview with Knoxville talk radio host Hallerin Hilton Hill.
Seated in matching leather chairs, Schloss and Hill conducted an on-stage conversation before the packed auditorium. Schloss often answered Hill’s questions in the form of stories. Often stories were heart-wrenching as when she told of Nazis beating her after she was arrested on her 15th birthday, or of Auschwitz Dr. Josef “Angel of Death” Mengele quickly deciding the Jews who lived and those who marched to gas chambers.
Other times a smiling Schloss made the audience laugh, recounting how Anne Frank was called “Mrs. Quack Quack” in school because she talked so much and sometimes had to write “I must not talk” as punishment.
Schloss talked about her “very, very loving family” and “very, very happy childhood” growing up in Vienna. But the family had to flee the country after Germans invaded in 1940. They moved to Belgium, then Amsterdam. That’s where Schloss met Anne Frank. Both were 11 years old,
Anne liked boys already and “was much more sophisticated” than tomboy Schloss. “She was not famous then,” Schloss said with a smile.
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SOURCE: USA Today; Knoxville (Tenn.) News Sentinel, Amy McRary