People often hear “never again” and “never forget” in reference to one of the most brutal events in world history, the Holocaust, known to some as Shoah. But, will the survivors stories of tolerance, diversity and perseverance be remembered? Or will they pass on with the remaining survivors?
The Cal Poly community has an opportunity to hear a personal life story shared by Anne Frank’s stepsister and Holocaust survivor, Eva Schloss, 89, on Sunday, March 10, at 7 p.m. in Chumash Auditorium.
Chabad of San Luis Obispo and Cal Poly planned a night for Schloss to share her story of survival and personal memories of her stepsister. Schloss is on a west coast tour and Cal Poly was able to set a date for her to visit, according to Rabbi Chaim Hilel, one of the event organizers.
“To hear from someone firsthand that lived through this part of history and to have her talk about tolerance and how we should respect each other, that is the most powerful message I hope people take away,” Hilel said.
Schloss and Frank were childhood friends before both girls and their families went into hiding in Holland. Both families were then betrayed, captured and sent to Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp. Frank’s father survived, and after the war, he married Schloss’s mother.
Sociology senior Noah Krigel has been going to Chabad Cal Poly since freshman year.
“I’ll absolutely be at the event,” Krigel said. “We think of the Holocaust as just a singular, isolated event that happened. But in reality, it just follows a pattern of hate. On-campus events like Eva Schloss serve not only an educational purpose, but a reminder that we truly must do as much as we can to prevent future atrocities from occurring.”
The community can expect Schloss to tell her story through a question and answer format. Her story will be heightened with a display of world-famous paintings done while in hiding by her father and brother, Heinz and Erich Geiringer.
According Hilel, people are under the impression that because the Holocaust did not happen yesterday, then it did not happen at all.
“Right now statistics show you that if you pull aside an average student and ask them ‘What happened in Auschwitz?’ they won’t be able to tell you,” Hilel said. “If you ask them ‘How many people died in the Holocaust?’ They won’t be able to tell you.”
The event is free to Cal Poly students. Tickets are available to high school students for $10, $25 for the public and $180 for VIP reception and seats.
“I’m hoping people remember. We say ‘never forget,’ but it’s not just about ‘never forget.’It’s about using the lesson [to ensure that] history doesn’t repeat itself,” Hilel said.