Eva Schloss, an Auschwitz survivor and Anne Frank’s stepsister, is scheduled to meet Thursday with some of the California teenagers who are facing fierce backlash after forming a swastika out of red solo cups and performing the Nazi salute around it at a weekend party.
Schloss, 89, will meet with students from Newport Habor High School in a meeting arranged by Rabbi Reuven Mintz, director of the Chabad Center for Jewish Life in Newport Beach, Mintz wrote in a statement.
“Eva has an incredible story of survival, grit, loss and ultimate triumph of the human spirit against all odds. I am hopeful that despite their actions, these young individuals, with promising futures, have the potential to become advocates of tolerance, understanding and coexistence in the school, in our community and beyond,” Mintz wrote.
Schloss is a Holocaust survivor born in Austria who spent two years hiding in Amsterdam before being captured on her 15th birthday. She spent nine months in the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp before returning to Holland at the end of the war, following the death of her father and brother.
Her mother later married Otto Frank, the widowed father of internationally renowned diarist Anne Frank, who was killed during the Holocaust.
Schloss will meet with a group of students shown in the photos from the Saturday party currently under investigation by the Newport Beach Police Department.
The Newport-Mesa Unified School District said it is investigating the images and has so far interviewed more than two dozen students.
Photos on social media began circulating showing smiling young adults standing around the formed swastika during a drinking game, holding their arms up in an apparent “heil Hitler” salute.
Photos of a high school party shared all over social media showing red cups in a swastika shape all while doing the Nazi salute sparking outrage in the Orange County community. Students and parents spoke with @KimTobinNBCLA tonight. @NBCLA @TELEMUNDO52 pic.twitter.com/wSIW17O9j1
— Katherine Picazo (@KatPicazoo) March 4, 2019
The photos, which were first posted on Snapchat, featured the comments “master race” and “German rage cage.”
Some of the students wrote apology letters after the photos went viral, calling their actions “disgusting” and “appalling,” according to the Los Angeles Times.
“I am ashamed none of us stepped up to take down this sign, and we should have stepped up right then and there to say it’s not right,” one student wrote.
Newport-Mesa Unified School District board president Charlene Metoyer confirmed to The Orange County Register that several of the individuals in the photo are students who attend Newport Harbor High School, adding that she is “devastated” by the image.
“As a school board, we’re not only concerned by the underage drinking, but also the mental health of the students who participated in this horrendous act and all their fellow students who will be affected by it. This is appalling to not just our Jewish student community, but to all of us who care about human rights,” she said.