I came across some old photos and have been inspired to write blogs about them. This one is a photo of Otto Frank upon his return to the attic where his family hid from the Nazis for two years. I can’t even imagine the emotions he felt upon seeing the place fifteen years later.
His daughter, Anne Frank, was born in Frankfurt, Germany on 12 June 1929. She was the second daughter of Otto and Edith Frank, and she had a sister, Margot, who was three years older.
If you haven’t read The Diary of Anne Frank, I’ll shorten it for you.
Hitler came into power in the 1930s, and Otto thought his family would be safer in Amsterdam, away from the Nazis. All went well for a while, but in May of 1940, Germany invaded the Netherlands. The first step they took against the Jews was to force them to register with the ‘state,’ thereby identifying and isolating them. As a Jew, Otto Frank was no longer allowed to own his own business, and soon, teenage Margot was called up for duty at a ‘work camp.’ Otto needed to protect his family, so they went into hiding in the attic of the family business. Friends took care of them while they were in hiding, and this is the place Anne wrote her diary.
Anne made the last entry in her diary on August 1, 1944, and on August 4th, the family’s hiding place was found out. Anne was now fifteen years old and had been in hiding for two years. Anne, Margot, and their mother were initially sent to a concentration camp in Holland, then moved to Auschwitz, and then they were split up and the girls moved to Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in Germany. Their mother, left behind at Auschwitz, took ill and died in January of 1945. Both of the girls caught typhoid in the deplorable conditions of the camp. Margot died in February and Anne died in March of 1945.
Otto was the only survivor. When he returned to Amsterdam, he was given Anne’s diary, which had been overlooked by the Nazis in the raid and held in keeping by a former employee who had help guard the family.
The diary was published in 1947 and has been translated into more than fifty languages. The hideaway in Amsterdam was eventually turned into a museum in 1960, and this is when Otto visited. The photo of his visit is very haunting.