Eva hopes the art made by her brother can be a memorial to him. Photograph: Felix Clay for the Guardian
Eva was saved from being sent straight to Auschwitz-Birkenau after her mother insisted she wore an overcoat and frumpy hat that made her look older than 15. She had many other narrow escapes, including being saved from typhus thanks to the intervention of a cousin, Minni, whose nursing experience had made her useful to the Nazis. She was also able to give Eva and her mother extra food. Mother and daughter were lucky to be sent to work in the block where murdered inmates possessions were searched for valuables. It was known as Canada as it seemed a land of plenty.
Minni even saved Fritzi from the gas chamber, getting her name taken off the list when she went before Dr Death, Josef Mengele. Then Evas mother escaped selection a third time. I survived through hope, says Eva. Hope keeps us going.
The emaciated Eva and Fritzi were nursed back to health by their Russian liberators, making their way back to the Netherlands via Odessa, Istanbul and Marseille. As the Holocaust survivors tried to rebuild their lives in Amsterdam, Otto Frank, who had also been in Auschwitz, visited them. He was the only survivor from his family Anne and her sister, Margot, had died of typhoid in Bergen-Belsen.
He was very lonely, said Eva. When he mentioned the diary he said he felt like his little girl was still with him I remembered the paintings. In Auschwitz, I had forgotten.
They were under the floorboards with a note that they belonged to Heinz Geiringer and after the war he would pick them up.
Eva admits struggling for years to readjust after the war, returning at 16 but with childhood already distant. I didnt play; I wasnt interested in sport or anything. But I was a good pupil, she says. I became very, very depressed. I have a note saying: I want to commit suicide, life is not worth living after having survived. There was no counselling then. You had to try to cope with it by yourself.
The family connection with Anne Frank was also difficult for the teenaged Eva. But just as her posthumous stepsister has lived on in her diary, so Eva hopes that the art made by her brother can be a memorial to him. I donated these paintings to the Resistance Museum in Amsterdam so people could see his work and know about him, she says.
Eva admits to mixed feelings about retrieving the paintings in 1945. We didnt really want to go to the house, she says, as we would have to return to the woman who had blackmailed my father and Heinz. We were scared to confront her. But, of course, we did want to retrieve the paintings. I had not known that Heinz had made so many and such meaningful and artistic paintings. My mother and I both stood over them and cried.
There is a special exhibition on Evas early life and Heinzs artwork at the Jewish Museum in London on 28-29 January, jewishmuseum.org.uk. Eva will give a witness testimony talk on Sunday, 29 January to mark Holocaust Memorial Day
The National Holocaust Centre & Museum, in Laxton, Nottinghamshire, is inviting applications from institutions that would like to host the exhibition. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org