Both of their families hid from the Nazis during World War II but were discovered and taken to concentration camps. Schloss and her mother survived and were freed by the Russians in January 1945. Anne Frank died at age 15 in March 1945, with her sister, in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp.
The Geiringer family had lived in the same apartment building as the Frank family, but the families were not in hiding together. To keep occupied while in hiding, Erich and Heinz began to paint. The family eventually was found and sent to Auschwitz, where the men died.
Anne’s father Otto Frank (who also survived) became a friend of Schloss’ mother, and they married in 1953.
Eva — now a 93-year-old resident of London — began speaking of her experiences later in life. Her father and brother died only weeks before liberation, while Eva and her mother survived returning to Amsterdam.
“My Brother’s Gift” — a play adapted by Claudia Haas based on the memories of Eva Geiringer Schloss and the paintings and poetry of Heinz Geiringer — will be produced by Moline’s Black Box Theatre from Sept. 2-11 at 1623 5th Ave.
It is part of the Quad Cities series, “Out of Darkness: Holocaust Messages for Today” (outofdarknessqc.com).
Designed and directed by Black Box co-founder Lora Adams, the production features Patti Flaherty as adult Eva, Wrigley Mancha as young Eva, Charles Thomas Budan as Heinz, Jennifer Cook Gregory as Mutti, Mischa Hooker as Pappy, Ben Bergthold as Herman, Paige Jackson as Sanna and Lily Critchfield as Mrs. Jansen.
This production will be taped and air on WQPT in November 2023.
“One of the challenges in directing this play for stage knowing that it will be taped for television is the addition of visual elements in the studio that would not be possible on stage,” Adams said this week. “However, key to both versions is the artwork of Heinz.”
According to a synopsis, we follow the story of a young artist and loving brother living in unconscionable circumstances. A trained musician at 15 and now forced to live in hiding and silence, Heinz turns to painting and poetry to express his everyday terror, but also hope for the future. Through Heinz’s inspired paintings, nostalgic love of life, and his sister Eva’s remembrances, we are shown the power of art to offer hope and healing.
Schloss has been in QC
Eva Schloss spoke at Augustana College, Rock Island, in 2008, and returned to the QC for five days in early April 2012. She gave a public talk at the Putnam Museum, Davenport, in conjunction with the exhibit “Anne Frank: A History for Today,” which was on display that spring, and is returning in an updated form at the Putnam Sept. 2-Oct. 30, 2022.
Part of the 2012 exhibit was “Paintings Created in Hiding,” which features 30 reproductions of artworks by Erich and Heinz Geiringer, Schloss’ father and brother.
Anne Frank’s diary has been translated into over 70 languages, inspired a 1955 play by screenwriters Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett, which they adapted to the screen for a 1959 movie.
Schloss decided to become an outspoken messenger of tolerance and compassion in 1985, five years after the death of Otto Frank. She has lived in London since 1951, when she became a professional photographer. For 25 years, she also ran an antiques shop.
Schloss received an honorary doctorate in civil law from the University of Northumbria, Newcastle, England, and was a trustee of the Anne Frank Educational Trust, U.K.
“I realized nothing much had really changed. There was still prejudice, discrimination,” she said in a 2012 interview. “People were still ignorant; I had to really talk about it.”
Schloss has written two books about her experiences, and, in 1995, she co-created the educational play “And Then They Came for Me: Remembering the World of Anne Frank,” about teenagers in the Holocaust. It has been performed throughout the world, including several stagings in the Quad-Cities.
“It gives a good message,” Schloss said in 2012. “It shows how people were brainwashed to believe all the propaganda that came out of Germany. It teaches people to think about what’s going on in the world, speak up, not like the Germans, but have the courage to speak out, as well as to forgive. The younger generation had nothing to do with it. You can’t carry on the hate.”
The multimedia play weaves together videotaped interviews of two Holocaust survivors, including Schloss, and re-created scenes from World War II performed by live actors.
The Putnam’s Anne Frank traveling exhibit (opening in a private reception Sept. 1) brings to life the famous story of the young Jewish girl who – in the pages of her world-renowned diary – documented two years of hiding in German-occupied Amsterdam during World War II.
By sharing Anne’s legacy with visitors, students, and teachers, this exhibit seeks to “inspire our commitment to never be bystanders but instead to stand up together against antisemitism, bigotry, and inequality wherever they may exist today,” according to the Putnam website.
Tickets for “My Brother’s Gift” are available at the Black Box Theatre website.