SURPRISE SQUAD: Holocaust Survivor and Theft Victim Proves Love Stronger Than Hate


Despite an unimaginable past, Holocaust survivor Eva Hance views life as an opportunity to spread love and compassion to those around her.

As a little girl Hance, who’s now 83, lived in Hungary with her mother and younger brother while her father was away serving in the army. One day, Nazis took Hance’s family and other Jews out of their homes and forced them into a boxcar train.

“No food, no water, many people died,” said Hance.

Hance and her family were taken to the Dachau Concentration Camp where they were starved, receiving little food and no water for two or three days at a time. The 83-year-old was even shot in the leg by a guard after sneaking a sip of water.

“I didn’t want to live no more, it was too much. A child can only take so much,” said Hance.

After several months of being forced to work in a factory that made soap out of the skin of Jews, the concentration camp was liberated by American soldiers.

Hance, who was eleven years old at the time, was so frail at 23.5 pounds she couldn’t even walk. An American soldier carried her out of the gates.

After moving to Peoria to be closer to family, Hance’s son-in-law Don O’Brien wrote to Arizona’s Family Surprise Squad saying the 83-year-old was saving up to buy a bed when the money was stolen.

In his nomination, O’Brien wrote:

“She was saving money to get a bedroom set since she sleeps on a couch and didn’t have money since she just buried her hubby who had Alzheimer’s. Someone stole $800 cash that she has been saving for months. This woman deserves so much more. She has a heart of gold…and only has love for everyone.”

Hance thought 3TV’s Gina Maravilla was there to interview Hance about being a Holocaust Survivor, but Arizona’s Family Surprise Squad had a different plan.

“Your son in law wrote us,” said Maravilla.

“You were trying to save money to buy a bed and that money…”

“It’s gone,” said Hance.

“It was stolen. Well you know what Eva, we’re going to buy you that bedroom set,” said Maravilla.

With tears in her eyes, Hance embraced Maravilla with a hug.

“Are you ready to go shopping?” said Maravilla.

“YES! Yes yes yes!” exclaimed Hance.

American Furniture Warehouse partnered with Arizona’s Family Surprise Squad to give Hance the opportunity to pick out the bedroom set of her dreams.

“We’re not done honoring you,” said Maravilla as she hands Hance a red box.

“I want you to open that because you’ve got one more surprise,” she said.

“Oh I don’t believe this!” exclaimed Hance.

Hance received gift cards for six months of free groceries.

“I can’t even thank you enough,” she said.

Arizona’s Family Surprise Squad is powered by “Valley Toyota Dealers.”

If you would like to nominate a deserving person for our next surprise, click here.

Click/tap here to download the free azfamily mobile app.

Copyright 2017 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

Copyright 2018 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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