A special screening of Eva’s Promise will take place on Tuesday, August 8, as part of the programming for the exhibit, “Auschwitz. Not Long Ago. Not Far Away.” at the Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley.
Following the screening, audience members are invited to join in conversation with the film’s director, Steve McCarthy, and the film’s producer, Susan Kerner.
The documentary follows Holocaust survivor Eva Schloss’ effort to share her brother Heinz Geiringer’s hidden artwork after he died in a concentration camp.
After being discovered by the Nazis in an Amsterdam hideaway during World War II, Schloss (then Geiringer) and her parents and brother Heinz were sent to Auschwitz/Birkenau.
On a train to Auschwitz, 15-year-old Eva promised her brother that if he did not survive the camps, she would retrieve the 17-year-old’s paintings and poetry he had hidden under the floorboards of his attic hiding place.
Only she and her mother survived. For 40 years she kept her story to herself, because of the horror, and also out of deference to her stepfather, Otto Frank, who married her mother, Fritzi, after the war.
Frank had lost his daughters and wife in the concentration camps and was consumed with sharing Anne’s diary, which, like Heinz’s paintings, had been stashed in an Amsterdam-area hiding place.
Schloss began to speak out about her experience in the ’80s, after Otto Frank died, and traveled the world as a Holocaust speaker. That’s when her nightmares started to subside, Kerner said.
Schloss was part of the campaign to convince Mark Zuckerberg to ban Holocaust deniers from Facebook, and she is prominently featured in this year’s Ken Burns documentary, The U.S. and the Holocaust.
Schloss had focused generally on her family’s experiences during the war, not on her brother’s hidden artwork and poetry.
She realized that her brother’s story might die, unless she could bring attention to it.
She called Kerner to ask for her help in getting Heinz’s story out to the world. Kerner immediately thought of McCarthy, an Emmy-award-winning filmmaker previously with Dateline and 60 Minutes.
Given Schloss’ age, time was of the essence. Filmmakers visited her in London and then traveled to Amsterdam’s Dutch Resistance Museum, to which Schloss had donated Heinz’s paintings and poems in 2006.
They were able access to the house where Heinz had hidden his poetry and art. “We didn’t have a phone number, so we took the train and knocked on the door,” McCarthy said. “The people knew the story, were very warm and allowed us to film inside.”
To register for the event,click here. The event will also be streamed live on our YouTube channel.