Eva Schloss, Holocaust survivor and Anne Frank’s stepsister, shares 'Eva’s Promise' at ASL

Eva Schloss, Holocaust survivor and Anne Frank’s stepsister, shares 'Eva’s Promise' at ASL

On Thursday, 23 March, the School was honored to welcome back longtime friend of ASL, Eva Schloss, for a screening of Eva’s Promise, a film about her family’s experiences during World War II, followed by a Q&A session.

The Commons, usually bustling with students during lunch, was transformed into a small-scale movie premier for our latest Speakers Series event. At 93 years of age, Eva is a tour de force, with three published works under her belt depicting her survival story. The film Eva’s Promise largely focuses on the story of Eva’s brother Heinz Geiringer, and her promise to him on the train to Auschwitz that she would retrieve his artwork and poetry from floorboards should he not survive, in order to preserve his story. Heinz was a remarkable, talented young man, whose passions were impeded by the Nazi invasion and antisemitic persecution, like many Jewish people during World War II.

Despite being partially sighted,Heinz was a gifted painter, poet and musician—and he continued to paint and write during the family’s time in hiding. The film depicts Eva sharing painful memories of the horrors that took place, emphasizing the importance of family and the power in not staying silent. Featuring some of the only video footage of Anne Frank in existence (the two being neighbors and eventual stepsisters), Eva’s life story is now featured in the children’s section of the Dutch Resistance Museum, as well as the still-life paintings and poetry of brother Heinz.

Eric Schloss, one of Eva’s grandchildren, is also a poet, and in the film recited some of Heinz’s wartime poetry. The words conveyed the gravity of the darkness that surrounded the family, as well as Heinz’s distinct love for life, nature and self-expression. Every victim of the Holocaust was a person with a tale to tell, with talents to share with the world; this is Heinz’s story. We commend Eva’s work in keeping her brother’s legacy alive, refusing to allow fascism to thrive, and preserving art even in the face of hatred.

Following the screening, Eva took to the stage and captivated the room. Susan Kerner, co-producer of Eva’s Promise and theater director of And Then They Came For Me, was present at the event via Zoom. Susan also participated in the Q&A, stating that “the most important work I’ve done in my career, both as a stage director and now my first work in film, has been with Eva. The privilege of helping her tell Heinz’s story and spreading her important message has been wonderful.”

Eva answered questions from guests, which was an extraordinary opportunity for all parents, employees and students in attendance. Eva’s responses yielded great insight on topics ranging from her experience of London, to the importance of remembering those lost to the Holocaust. When asked what her overarching message to the younger generation is, Eva stated,

“Around the world, we say “never again”—but unfortunately, we have definitely not learned anything. We are all human beings, we must realize that all people are equal no matter their color or religion. As long as you are a decent person, it does not matter. This is something the world must learn eventually, as hate has taken too many lives.”

At the end of the session, Eva was happy to sign copies of her books that were available for sale at the event.

Eva resides in London and has three daughters and five grandchildren, and shared the news at the screening that she is expecting a great granddaughter! We thank Eva Schloss and her team for taking the time to share her story and engage in such a poignant, invaluable and memorable discussion with the ASL community.

Take a look at our photos from the event and view the trailer of Eva’s Promise.