In March 1939, seven-year-old Eva Weiss’s innocence was shattered by Germany’s invasion of her homeland, Slovakia. Over the next five years, as the Nazi persecution of Europe’s Jews gathered momentum, Eva’s parents were forced to send their children into hiding, but she and her sister Marta could not avoid capture.
In this remarkable memoir, Eva recounts her experiences at the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp. There, she witnessed countless horrors and was herself subjected to torture, extreme deprivation, and medical experimentation at the hands of the notorious Dr Josef Mengele. When the Soviet army liberated the survivors of Auschwitz early in 1945, Eva and Marta faced a new challenge: crossing war-torn Europe to be reunited with their family.
Narrated with the heartbreaking innocence of a young girl and the wisdom of a woman of eighty-three, Gazing at the Stars is a record of survival in the face of unimaginable evil. It is the culmination of Eva Slonim’s lifelong commitment to educating the world about the Holocaust, and to keeping alive the memory of the many who perished.
Eva Slonim (née Weiss) was born in Bratislava, Slovakia, in 1931. A survivor of the Holocaust, Eva relocated with her family to Melbourne in 1948. She married Ben Slonim in 1953, and together they had five children, and many grandchildren and great- grandchildren, fulfilling Eva’s wish to rebuild what was lost in Europe. A gifted storyteller, and deeply passionate about the importance of education and community, Eva has for many years given public talks on her experiences during the war.