Auschwitz survivor Eva Schloss, the 92-year old stepsister of Anne Frank, has become a citizen of Austria as well as receiving an award from the Austrian government.
When the Nazis invaded Austria on March 12, 1938, annexing the country into Germany, Schloss was nine years old and witnessed her friends and neighbours in Vienna turn against her family for being Jewish.
The family lost their Austrian citizenship and became Germans. Their new passports listed them as Jews.
They were able to flee to Belgium and then to Amsterdam where Schloss became friends with Anne Frank, who lived in her apartment block.
Both families separately hid from the Nazis. In May 1944, on Schloss’s 15th birthday, her family was arrested and sent to Auschwitz-Birkenau, turned in by a double agent in the Dutch resistance.
When Auschwitz was finally liberated by Soviet troops in 1945, only Schloss and her mother had survived.
They found themselves back in Amsterdam where her mother married Otto Frank, Ann Frank’s father.
In 1951, she moved to London to study photography.
At a small ceremony at the Austrian Embassy in London last week, Schloss was given back her Austrian citizenship and the Medaille für Verdienste um die Republik Österreich (Medal for Services to the Republic of Austria).
Schloss also has an MBE (Order of the British Empire) which was awarded to her by the British government for her work in Holocaust education.
Schloss, who is a co-founder of the Anne Frank Trust UK, has spent the last 40 years talking about the Holocaust and her experience, especially to young people. Her message is to never repeat what happened in the past, and to work against hate.
In 2020, Schloss was one of a group of Holocaust survivors from around the world who provided their support to a campaign targeting Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, urging him to take action to remove Holocaust denial from the social media site.