“All of a sudden we hear ‘Hitler's coming! Hitler's coming!’ And of course everybody had to give the Hitler salute, except Jews for whom it was forbidden. And so my mother said, ‘turn around.’ And we quickly turned around toward a jewelry shop and watched the reflection of Hitler passing by. A very scary moment.”
Eva Tannenbaum-Cummins was born in Berlin, Germany in 1922. She was an only child. In March 1933, when Hitler became the chancellor of Germany, Eva’s father came home early and explained that he had been fired from his job because he was Jewish. When Eva was in the 5th grade, her school principal called all the Jewish students in her school and explained that Nazi laws now required their expulsion.
In 1935, Eva’s father, who had taught her to appreciate opera, theater, and music, passed away from natural causes. This event may have spared her father from being one of 30,000 Jewish males imprisoned in Germany on Kristallnacht (The Night of Broken Glass). On the Kristallnacht, Nazi Party Officials and Storm Troopers instigated the destruction of hundreds of synagogues and thousands of Jewish stores.
After Kristallnacht, Eva and her mother spent nearly a year trying to leave Germany for Seattle where their cousin lived. Since Nazi laws restricted the amount of money emigrating Jews could take from Germany, Eva and her mother arrived in Seattle in 1939 with only $20. Two weeks later, on Sept. 1, 1939, Germany invaded Poland and ignited WWII.
Eva became an actress, and in 1995 she wrote her own one-woman show entitled, “A Page from the Past … Or is it?” The piece reflects on her memories during the Holocaust regarding antisemitism and racist laws in Nazi Germany.
Eva continues to live in Seattle and spreads her message through the work of the Holocaust Center for Humanity, where she often asks her audience: “Can any of this happen here? That’s something that’s up to each and every one of us.”
Video 1 – “Eva-Hitler 1”
Transcript 1 [PDF]
Video 2 – “Eva-Park Bench”
Transcript 2 [PDF]
Video 3 – “Eva-Kristallnacht”
Transcript 3 [PDF]
October of 1924, Eva at 2 years old
August of 1925, Eva and her father, Berlin, Germany.
April 30, 1926, Eva
April 11, 1929, Eva stands with her mother on her first day of school holding a Schultute, or “school cone,” filled with candy and school supplies."
December 1929, Eva and her father.
May 2, 1931, Eva.
May 1932, Eva posing outside, with her father behind the camera, a year before he dies.
Passport for Eva Tannenbaum