EVA'S STORY: A Survivor's Tale by the Step-Sister  by Eva Schloss

EVA'S STORY: A Survivor's Tale by the Step-Sister

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At first, this memoir by the stepsister of Anne Frank seems not very different from other terrible tales of Holocaust victims. In rather pedestrian prose, we are told about eight-year-old Eva and her much-loved mother, father, and brother leaving Vienna because of the Nazi's. The year 1939 finds them refugees in Amsterdam, with Eva and her mother separated from the men, and all of them hidden by the Dutch. In 1944, on her 15th birthday, the Nazis discover and arrest the whole family. After that, then, Pappy and Heinz (Eva's father and brother) are taken to Auschwitz and she and her mother to the women's camp at Birkenau, Poland. The chapters that follow gain terror and pathos almost because of the flatness of the language: especially touching is Eva's remaining an adolescent in the hellish surroundings. One of the youngest prisoners, she is a pet not only of her mother but of the other camp-mates and sometimes even of a sympathetic Kappo in charge of the prisoners. Under dehumanizing conditions, under the constant threat of being "selected" for the ovens, her "mutti" provides Eva with the will to survive: mother and daughter are chosen to work in "Canada," a land of plenty in the camp, where they slit fur coat linings to look for hidden money, cadging what they can for themselves. In January 1945, Birkenau is liberated and the women travel east through Poland to Russia with the Russian troops. Eva tells of the Russians' exuberance and kindness in the midst of chaos and the poor but generous local Jews they met along the way. Eventually Eva and her mother return to Holland to find that Heinz and his father have died at the very end of the war. Eight years later, Eva's mother marries Otto Frank, the father of Anne Frank. Several chapters are related by Eva's mother, detailing the time when she was separated from her daughter. Although the entire book might have benefited from more of her adult point of view, this remains one more necessary testament bearing witness to the Holocaust.

Pub Date: May 11th, 1989
ISBN: 312-02913-6
Publisher: St. Martin's
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