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Published January 2nd, 2013
Historic Evening with Anne Frank's Stepsister
Submitted by Rabbi D. Berkowitz
Eva Schloss Photo provided

Families of all faiths are invited to hear a first-hand account from a woman whose life intersected with one of the most compelling figures in our history. Eva Geiringer Schloss, the childhood friend and stepsister of Anne Frank, will share her experiences including accounts of the publishing of Anne's famed diary at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 12 at the Orinda Theatre. The presentation is suitable for teenagers.
Schloss was born in Vienna, Austria, in 1929. She and her family immigrated to Belgium and eventually to Holland in 1938, shortly after Adolph Hitler annexed Austria.
In 1938, Germany invaded Austria, causing many Jewish families to flee the country to avoid persecution. Among the emigrants was 8-year-old Eva Geiringer, who with her mother, father, and brother moved first to Belgium and then to Holland, where one of her neighbors was a German Jewish girl of the same age.
The two girls became friends and playmates (though, as Schloss would say many years later, the girl was "much more grown-up and mature than me"). They passed the time by skipping, playing hopscotch and marbles, and drinking lemonade that the girl's mother prepared.
After the Germans invaded Holland in 1942, Schloss and her family went into hiding. Ultimately, both girls and their families were deported to the Auschwitz concentration camp. Schloss and her mother were that family's only survivors. Anne Frank did not survive Auschwitz, but kept a diary that did.
After the war, Schloss' mother married Otto Frank, father of Anne Frank. Anne Frank's diary, her account of hiding from the Germans during the occupation of the Netherlands, was first published in 1950. Initially popularized through play and film adaptations, it is now one of the most widely read books in the world.
Since 1985, Schloss has devoted herself to holocaust education and global peace. She has recounted her wartime experiences in more than a thousand speaking engagements. She has written two books and has had a play written about her life. In 1999 Schloss signed the Anne Frank Peace Declaration along with United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan and the niece of Raul Wallenberg, a legendary figure who rescued thousands of Jews in Budapest.
Schloss joins many courageous individuals who work tirelessly to end the violence and bigotry that continue to plague our world. Schloss' story is sensational and difficult to imagine, yet her insightful message reminds us that life is precious and fragile, that the creative spirit is stronger than fear, that the power of good is immeasurable, and that love makes a difference.
Ticket are $25 for the main theater and $20 for loges. A VIP package featuring priority seating, a reception with Schloss and a complimentary copy of her book is also available. The evening is sponsored by Chabad of Contra Costa, a Walnut Creek-based Jewish community center of Jewish life. Tickets are available at: www.JewishContraCosta.com.


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