Dr. Eva Olsson uses the Holocaust and her experiences in it as a springboard to discuss the following key issues:
Eva's PowerPoint presentation contains pictures from the Holocaust and pictures taken when she retraced her life in 2007, visiting her birthplace and three concentration camps.
Eva was born in Szatsmar, Hungary in October of 1924 into a poor family of Hasidic Jews. This was the beginning of her lifelong struggle against other people’s attempts to control her.
She is a survivor – of a repressive religious upbringing, World War II, the deaths of many of her loved ones, bigotry and racism, and being ostracized because of her determination to live life on her own terms. Eva’s innate curiosity and need to develop along a different spiritual path would not be stifled and she struggled against this restrictive life.
The outbreak of World War II plunged Eva into the heart of the Holocaust concentration camps, slave labour factories, disease, and the deaths of millions, including most of her family. Eva’s strong faith in God and in herself has enabled her to maintain a positive focus throughout the rest of her life.
For fifty years she remained silent about her experiences during the Holocaust, partly out of denial and partly out of fear it might happen again. Since 1996 Eva has been speaking about her life in over 3000 schools, churches, meeting halls, conference rooms, colleges and universities, and to over one-and-a-half million individuals throughout Canada, in the hope that people who hear her story will know that it is possible to survive the worst life has to throw at them.
An author and widely acclaimed speaker, Eva makes presentations throughout Canada and the United States at schools, colleges and universities about tolerance and compassion. Her national bestselling book entitled, Unlocking the Doors: A Woman’s Struggle Against Intolerance, which was released in the winter of 2001, has sold 24,000 copies. Eva received an Honorary Doctorate from Nipissing University in June 2005 and Lakehead University in 2013, and is the recipient of the Order of Ontario. In September 2008, Eva was made an honourary follow of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada.