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January 25, 2013

How Anne Frank’s step sister fooled Dr. Death and survived Auschwitz

Filed under: Holocaust — Tags: , , , , — furtherglory @ 11:41 am

Eva Schloss, who is Anne Frank’s step sister, survived the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp by wearing her mother’s coat.

This quote is from a recent news article which you can read in full here:

They [the incoming prisoners] only knew him as Dr. Death.

He [Dr. Josef Mengele] was the man who went through the lines of men and women, pulling the weak from the strong. He was the one at the Auschwitz concentration camp who decided who would live and who would die.

Eva Schloss remembered how she wore her mother’s coat on the day she got there. It covered part of her face, hiding her youth, which if discovered by Dr. Death, would have sent her straight to the gas chambers.

“It saved my life,” she said of her mother’s coat.

According to the article, Eva was born in 1929, the same year as Anne Frank, so she was 15 years old when she arrived at Auschwitz-Birkenau where Dr. Josef Mengele was one of more than 30 doctors and SS men who made the selections.  Prisoners under the age of 15 were sent to the gas chamber, but Eva was in no danger because she was 15.  Anne Frank, who was also 15, had no trouble getting past Dr. Death, even though she was barely 5 feet tall.

This quote is from the same article:

In the summer of 1942, Eva’s world was shaken again.

As many of the young people in the area were deported to Germany to work in factories, lots of parents decided to move their families into hiding, which she said was “far from easy.”

(This was the same reason that Anne Frank’s family decided to go into hiding.  Anne’s sister Margo was given a notice that she would have to go to Germany to work in a factory.)

She and her mother separated from her father and brother because no one wanted to shelter four people in small apartments. They acquired fake identification, and she and her mother would occasionally venture out to visit her father and brother, though it was always risky.

Eventually, the family was told they needed to find a new hiding place. Schloss’ mother heard of a safe house from a nurse in Amsterdam, but when they arrived, it turned out to be a trap — a Nazi house. The Nazis captured all four family members on May 11, 1944, Eva’s 15th birthday.

The family was taken to the Auschwitz death camp, she said.

“We knew about Auschwitz. We knew it was a death camp, not a work camp, not a labor camp,” she said.

That’s where they saw Dr. Death. Only Eva and her mother survived.

They were evacuated by a Russian army in 1945, and taken east, as fighting was still going on in the west. Her mother went on to marry Otto Frank, the widowed father of Anna Frank in 1953, making Eva Anna’s stepsister.

Eva Schloss was saved because, apparently, she did not get typhus at Auschwitz.  She was not transferred to Bergen-Belsen, like Anne Frank, because she was not sick.  She was saved from the typhus epidemic at Bergen-Belsen which killed Anne Frank.  I previously blogged about the fate of Anne Frank here.

Eva Schloss wants the world to think that there was only one doctor at Auschwitz and that the prisoners knew him as “Dr. Death” even before they arrived.  Ms. Schloss wants the world to think that the only reason that anyone survived Auschwitz was because the one and only doctor, who selected the prisoners for the gas chamber, was completely unable to determine a person’s age.

According to Wikipedia, Otto Frank was born in 1889, so he was 56 years old when he arrived at Auschwitz in 1944.  Everyone older than 35 was immediately sent to the gas chamber, according to Holocaust historians, yet Otto Frank passed the selection by Dr. Death.  Did he wear Anne’s coat to make himself look younger?

Dr. Friedrich Pfeffer, the dentist who hid with Anne Frank’s family, was the same age as Anne’s father; both were born in 1889, the same year as their arch enemy, Adolf Hitler. How did he pass the selection process at Auschwitz?

Another person who arrived at Auschwitz, along with Otto Frank and his family, was Hermann van Pels.  There is a photo of him on display in the exhibits at the Anne Frank House; the text accompanying the photo says that he died in the gas chamber at Auschwitz in either September or October 1944, several months after he arrived.

Hermann van Pels was the youngest of the three adult men who hid along with Anne Frank; he was born in 1890 and was a year younger than both Otto Frank and Dr. Fritz Pfeffer, but still not young enough to pass the selection by Dr. Death when he arrived at Auschwitz.

The exact date of the death of Hermann van Pels in the Auschwitz gas chamber is apparently unknown, but there is no doubt, among Holocaust historians, that he was gassed. Some sources say that he was gassed immediately upon arrival. In her book entitled Anne Frank, a biography, Melissa Müller wrote the following:

Peter [van Pels] seems to have worked in the camp post office and he held up well. His father, however, like Otto Frank and Fritz Pfeffer, was assigned an outdoor job. When Hermann injured his finger, probably in early October, he gave up and asked his kapo to assign him to a barracks detail the next day, even though he must have known how dangerous that was for anyone who, like himself, was injured or in ill health. And indeed on that very day, the SS made a clean sweep of the barracks. Selection. Hermann van Pels fell victim to this arbitrary system.

In a book published by the Anne Frank Stichting in Amsterdam in 1966, entitled Anne Frank, A History for Today there is the following quotation from Otto Frank regarding the selection of Hermann van Pels for the gas chamber:

And I’ll never forget the time in Auschwitz when seventeen-year-old Peter van Pels and I saw a group of selected men. Among those men was Peter’s father. The men marched away. Two hours later a truck came by loaded with their clothing.

So there you have it.  Otto Frank proved that Hermann van Pels was gassed because he had injured his finger.  Otto saw the clothing worn by Hermann van Pels on a truck, which proves that he had been gassed.  Van Pels was 55 years old when he arrived, yet he had passed the selection by Dr. Death, and was not selected to be gassed until he injured his finger.

Eva Schloss needn’t have worried.  The famous Dr. Death absolutely could not determine age, to within 20 years.  Because of this, every survivor alive today has his or her story of how they fooled Dr. Death.