Addressing a ballroom at Melia Nassau Beach packed with over 650 primary and high school students from nine schools in New Providence, Eva Schloss, one of the last living Holocaust survivors, childhood friend and stepsister of Anne Frank shared her story of hope, determination and tolerance.
During the Nazi invasion, Ms. Schloss’ family was forced into hiding, sharing cramped space, at times afraid even to whisper. Living in fear for two years, her worst nightmare was realized when her family was captured by the Nazis and held in a concentration camp in Auschwitz-Birkenau.
“The conditions were terrible there,” she said. “You got very, very little food, you got no water. …Of course many people got terrible illnesses typhus, dysentery, cholera which in normal circumstances are curable but if you don’t get any medication and still have to work, you die. So many, many, many persons died.”
Shocked by the extreme and unimaginable conditions faced by one so young, when asked ‘how did you not give up during this time?’ Ms. Schloss said, “I was 15 and I wanted to live. You have one life on earth and you don’t want to give that up easily.”
There was no shortage of questions during the question and answer session where the students asked all manner of questions and satisfied their curiosities.
“I felt it was inspiring having someone so historical come and talk to us and share her story,” shared a student of the Windsor Preparatory School. “She’s such a strong person having gone through all of that and it was very inspirational.”
Students attended the private presentation from Genesis Academy, Lyford Cay International School, Meridian School, Queen’s College, Simpson Penn Centre for Boys, St. Andrews School, Willie Mae Pratt Centre for Girls, Windsor Preparatory School & Xavier’s Lower School.
“I felt great about the encouraging words she said,” said a student of the Willie Mae Pratt School for Girls. “I was encouraged to know that she never gave up. It made me realize that I have to be grateful for what I have. The time and things that she lived through, I don’t think I could survive that so it really encouraged me to never give up and always, always keep hope.”
The program was organized by the Nassau Jewish Community. Mrs. Schloss will speak at a public forum Thursday at Melia. Doors open at 6 pm and the program starts at 6:30. There is no charge. More than a dozen sponsors have come forth to cover all expenses.