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Eva Schloss, a Holocaust survivor and friend of Anne Frank, was at Stuttgart’s Kelley Theater on Friday for a production of "And Then They Came for Me," based largely on her experiences during World War II.
Eva Schloss, a Holocaust survivor and friend of Anne Frank, was at Stuttgart’s Kelley Theater on Friday for a production of "And Then They Came for Me," based largely on her experiences during World War II. (Charlie Coon / S&S)

STUTTGART, Germany — Troops in Iraq sometimes wonder what they’re fighting for.

Maybe they’re fighting to prevent a bad situation from getting worse, according to Eva Schloss.

“If the Allies had gone in in 1936 and stopped Hitler at the time, all this wouldn’t have happened,” said Schloss, a Holocaust survivor who on Friday attended the Kelley Theater production of “And Then They Came for Me,” which is based largely on her memories.

“There would have been a very short war with perhaps very little casualties. Perhaps now as well, one has to go in at an early stage and help the people who are being murdered for no reason at all.”

Schloss was a friend of Anne Frank, and the two were taken prisoner by the Nazis in August 1944. Anne died at age 15 while imprisoned at the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. A diary she kept while her family was hiding in Amsterdam was found after the war, and has been used for movies and productions.

Schloss survived. So did Ed Silverberg, who was briefly Anne’s boyfriend before her family went into hiding and he escaped to Belgium.

Their recollections are featured in the multimedia production being presented at the Kelley Theater. It involves live actors, videotaped interviews and historic newsreels.

Schloss was in San Francisco when the war in Iraq began and was asked to participate in anti-war demonstrations there.

“I said, ‘Of course I’m against war. Who wants war?’ ” she said. “But those people there, the Kurds and other people, are being killed by a tyrant, and how grateful we would have been if the Americans had come and helped us at the time. So [the U.S. troops] do a good job.”

Schloss, 76, who lives in London and was invited by the theater company to attend its production, said it’s a difficult decision for the U.S. to act as the peacekeeper of the world. But perhaps the troops in Iraq prevented Saddam Hussein’s regime from committing further atrocities.

“For soldiers, I think it is important to see that they don’t risk their life for nothing,” Schloss said. “You know people are desperate for help of the people who fight for the freedom of people who are suppressed.

“I’m very grateful for soldiers who go into countries and help where suppression is, to free the people from tyranny.”

“And Then They Came For Me” will be presented at Kelley Theater three more times: 3 p.m. Sunday; 7:30 p.m. April 21; and 3 p.m. April 23.

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