Eva Schloss is a Holocaust survivor, humanitarian, memoirist, wife, mother, daughter, sister, grandmother, and friend. Schloss has been honoured with the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, and more recently, the Medal for Services to the Republic of Austria on the occasion of her taking Austrian citizenship. In June 2021, Schloss became a dual citizen of the United Kingdom and Austria, taking up Austrian citizenship again as a gesture of reconciliation with her native country.
The 92-year old has survived escape from her birth country, Austria, two years hiding from the Nazis, capture on her 15th birthday, nine months in Auschwitz-Birkenau, the death of her father and brother, and repatriation to the Netherlands.
The decision to take Austrian citizenship, which is open to victims of the Nazi regime and their descendants, was not an easy one. “When I left Austria, I was very bitter. It took me a long time to get over it,” Schloss said.
When choosing to become Austrian again, Schloss said, “it was morally the right thing to do. The Austrians are sorry about what has happened. We can’t carry on the hatred and discrimination anymore. The Nazis are not with us,” she continued.
Eva Schloss: A Survivor’s Tale
Born Eva Geiringer in Vienna, Austria, on May 11, 1929, to a Jewish family, the Geiringer family lost their nationality and was forced to become German after the annexation of Austria by Germany. In 1938, Eva and her family were smuggled into Belgium, finally settling in the Netherlands, where they lived in the same apartment block in Amsterdam as Anne Frank. In order to avoid capture by the Nazis, both the Geiringer and Frank families went into hiding, separately, in 1942.
The Geiringer family was captured in May 1944 and transported to Auschwitz-Birkenau. Eva and her mother were barely alive when they were freed by Soviet troops in 1945, but unfortunately, her father and brother did not survive.
Returning to Amsterdam, Eva and her mother renewed their friendship with Otto Frank, Anne Frank’s father, and in November 1953, Eva’s mother married Otto Frank.
Eva moved to London in 1951 to study photography, and this is where she met her husband, Zvi Schloss, a German Jew who fled to Palestine during the war after his father was imprisoned at Dachau concentration camp. The couple became UK citizens, making London their home.
Schloss has co-founded the Anne Frank Trust UK, a foundation dedicated to Frank’s life, empowering young people with the knowledge, skills and confidence to challenge all forms of prejudice and discrimination.
Eva Schloss is known internationally through her books and many lectures sharing her remarkable survival story. Schloss has travelled across Europe, spreading a message not to repeat what has happened in the past.
“I have worked very, very hard to change people’s attitudes. Each person you convince not to be racist is a positive,” said Schloss.
Austrian Citizenship for Holocaust Survivors
In September 2019, the Austrian Parliament unanimously approved an amendment to the Austrian Nationality Act, introducing Section 58c, paragraph 1a. The amendment, which entered into force on 1 September 2020, formed part of Austria’s ongoing endeavour for reconciliation with all those who suffered under the totalitarian Nazi regime in Austria.
The amendment allows descendants, in the direct descending line, of victims of the National Socialist regime (who left Austria up to 15 May 1955) to receive Austrian citizenship without having to renounce their current citizenship. Under the amendment, descendants whose mothers were persecuted as citizens or residents of Austria can now obtain citizenship. Though the Act already provided for survivors of the National Socialist regime to re-apply for citizenship of Austria, the cut-off date for regaining Austrian citizenship has been extended.
For individuals and families who do not qualify for this option yet are still interested in investing in the country as a Plan B, Austria also offers citizenship through a citizenship by investment (CBI) programme. The Austrian CBI Programme is extremely exclusive and those interested in the Programme must invest substantially sums in Austria in order to cover the ‘outstanding achievement’ requirement outlined in Austria’s Nationality Act. The two-year process involves travel requirements and applicants must demonstrate a minimum level of business experience.
Just over a dozen countries in the world currently offer CBI. The highest concentration of CBI programmes is, a region considered the cradle of second citizenship by investment.
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