Ancestors of Anne Frank lived in Frankfurt Germany since the 17th century, Otto Frank, Anne’s father was born on 12 May 1889, in Frankfurt’s Westend, a well-to-do neighbourhood.
Otto Franks father was a banker, Otto attended high school, and briefly studied art at the University of Heideleberg. Via a friend he was then offered and accepted a job from 1908 to 1909 at Macy’s Department Store in New York, USA.
When his father died, Otto Frank returned to Germany and worked for a metal engineering company in Dusseldorf until 1914. During WW-1 he and his two brothers served in the German Army, where Otto attained the rank of lieutenant.
After the war he worked in his father’s bank, but banks did not fare well at that time, however whilst working in the bank he became acquainted with Edith Hollander, the daughter of a local manufacturer.
Born in 1900, she grew up in Aachen, Otto and Edith married in 1925 and settled in Frankfurt, they then have two daughters, Margot born in 1926 and Annelies (more commonly known as Anne), Marie born on 12 June 1929.
In 1933 after Hitler seizes power and anti- Jewish measures are introduced, Otto Frank leaves Frankfurt for Amsterdam. He starts a branch of the German Opteka Company there, and soon Edith, Margot and Anne joined him in Holland.
The Frank family moves into a house on Merwedeplein in the southern part of the city. Anne and Margot attend the nearby Montessori school. They are popular and make lots of friends, as do their parents with other Jewish refugees who settle in the same neighbourhood.
However, the German invasion of Holland on 10 May 1940 soon shatters this carefree life for the population of Holland.
During 1941 the Nazis increased the number of anti-Jewish, and the Franks started to prepare for going into hiding. Thanks to the cooperation of his staff – Miep Gies, Jo Kleiman, Viktor Kugler and Bep Voskuijl, Otto Frank was able to secretly prepare a hiding place for his family, the Van Pels family and others. Mr Van Pels worked at Otto Frank’s company.
On 12 June 1942 Anne celebrated her thirteenth birthday and her parents give her a present of a diary, in her diary she wrote about everything she experienced and felt.
On 5 July 1942 Margot Frank received the dreaded call to report to a labour camp, the next day the Frank family moved into the “Secret Annex,” on 263 Prinsengracht.
On 6 July 1942 Anne was awakened at five-thirty in the morning by her mother, the family dressed in thick layers of clothing. Miep Gies took Margot on a bicycle to the hiding place.
At seven-thirty in the morning the rest of the family went on foot to the “Secret Annex” located behind Otto Frank’s company. One week later Mr and Mrs Van Pels and their son Peter joined the Frank’s in hiding.
Later Fritz Pfeffer joined the other Jews in hiding, and Anne writes in her diary constantly, a few selected passages are recorded as such:
“Our little room looked very bare at first with nothing on the walls, but thanks to Daddy who had brought my film- star collection on beforehand, and with the aid of a paste pot and brush, I have transformed the walls into one gigantic picture. This makes it look much more cheerful.”
11 July 1942
“Countless friends and acquaintances have been taken off to a dreadful fate. Night after night, green and gray military vehicles cruise the streets. It is impossible to escape their clutches unless you go into hiding.”
19 November 1942
“As if I’d seen one of the World’s wonders, I saw two Jews through the curtain yesterday, it was a horrible feeling, just as if I had betrayed them to the authorities and was now watching them in their misery.”
13 December 1942
“A wooden staircase ascends from the floor where the offices are located to the landing in front of the movable bookcase. The helpers use this staircase when they want to go to the “Secret Annexe.”
Read more here: http://www.holocaustresearchproject.org/nazioccupation/annefrank.html
The Holocaust Education & Archive Research Team
Copyright Carmelo Lisciotto H.E.A.R.T 2010