Newport Beach, CA – Anne Frank’s stepsister has a message for teens celebrating with Nazi imagery and symbols: It is an insult to me and all who died in the Holocaust.
They should “stop it,” said Eva Schloss, 89, who hid from the Nazis with Anne in the same apartment block and was also imprisoned in a concentration camp.
Eva Schloss, a Holocaust survivor and step-sister of Anne Frank, spoke to children who posted photos online with Nazi imagery.
Schloss went to Newport Beach, California, on Thursday to talk to students after some posted pictures on social media from a party where they laughed as they raised their arms in the Nazi salute next to a swastika made of plastic cups.
The photos posted on social media sparked outrage nationwide.
Captions on the image of the swastika read “German rage cage,” “German engineering” and a photo of a group chat labeled “master race” showed the comment: “phones gonna die. just like the jews.”
The photos generated outrage, and while some parents addressed the issue with their children, Schloss said she wanted to speak directly to the students to show how hurtful their actions were to millions.
“When I heard the incident here, I was shocked that, in 2019, in a well-educated town, in a very highly educated school, that incidents like this should still happen,” Schloss said.
Messages on Snapchat include a joke about Jews.
“I was very keen and willing to come and speak and hear from the children themselves why they were able to do anything like that, being so, so hurtful to millions of other people.”
She was surprised to hear their answer: They didn’t know what their actions meant. Not the swastika. Not the Hitler salute.
At least one student from the school told the Los Angeles Times they had just learned about the Holocaust in school last month, at least in her history class, watching graphic videos of concentration camps like the one Schloss was in.
But Schloss said even if the lessons had been given, the children had not fully understood or internalized the horror of the camps that she survived and the broader Holocaust that killed 6 million Jews.
When she was their age, she was liberated only to find the Nazis had killed many of her relatives. And Anne Frank died before her 16th birthday.
“Perhaps they didn’t really think about it,” Schloss told reporters later.
She talked to students and their parents of the Nazi horrors — gassing Jewish people, targeting disabled people and their children.
She said she noticed “some had tears in their eyes. They didn’t realize the impact. They were very sorry.”