Otto Frank: Wikis


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Otto Frank

Otto Frank
Born Otto Heinrich Frank
12 May 1889(1889-05-12)
Frankfurt am Main, Germany
Died 19 August 1980 (aged 91)
Birsfelden, Switzerland
Cause of death Lung cancer
Nationality German (rev), Dutch, Swiss
Occupation Banker, spice merchant[1]
Known for The Diary of a Young Girl
Religion Jewish
Spouse(s) 1) Edith Holländer
2) Elfriede Geiringer
Children Margot Frank, Anne Frank

Oberleutnant Otto Heinrich "Pim" Frank (12 May 1889 – 19 August 1980) was the father of Anne and Margot Frank. As the sole member of his family to survive the Holocaust, he inherited Anne's manuscripts after her death, and arranged for the publication of her diary in 1947.


World War II

Born in Frankfurt am Main, Germany, Frank was a son of Michael Frank (died 1909), a prominent Jewish banker who owned a cough-drop factory and co-owned an art gallery, and his wife, the former Alice Stern. His childhood was spent in considerable comfort, with what he called "parties every week, balls, festivities, beautiful girls, waltzing, dinners".[2] The Frank children--Otto (pronounced untoon)and his two brothers, Robert and Herbert--were taught to ride and attended the opera, where their parents owned a box. Among his cousins was French furniture designer Jean-Michel Frank, the son of his father's brother Léon Frank.[3] He was educated in private schools, studied economics at the University of Heidelberg, and spent a year living and working in New York City, where his family had relatives and business associates.

He married Edith Holländer—an heiress to a scrap-metal and industrial-supply business—on 12 May 1925 in Frankfurt-am-Main, and their first daughter, Margot Betti, was born on 16 February 1926, followed by Anne (Annelies Marie) on 12 June 1929.[4]

As the tide of Nazism rose in Germany and anti-Jewish decrees encouraged attacks on Jewish individuals and families, Frank decided to evacuate his family to the safer western nations of Europe. In the summer of 1933 he moved his family to Aachen, where his wife's mother resided, in preparation for a subsequent and final move to Amsterdam in the Netherlands. In 1938 and in 1941 he attempted to obtain visas for his family to emigrate to the United States or Cuba. He was granted a single visa for himself to Cuba on 1 December 1941, but no one knows if it ever reached him. Ten days later, when Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy declared war on the United States, the visa was canceled by Havana.[5][6]

Otto had been making plans for his family to go into hiding for over a year, the plan was for the family to move into The Annex later that July, however they were forced to flee to the Annex early in response to a call-up notice sent to his daughter Margot on July 5, 1942 to go to a work camp. Frank took his family into hiding on 6 July 1942 in the upper rear rooms of the Opekta premises on the Prinsengracht. They were joined a week later by Hermann van Pels and his wife and son, and in November by Fritz Pfeffer also known in Anne's diary as Mr. Dussel. Their concealment was aided by Otto Frank's colleagues Johannes Kleiman, whom he had known since 1923, Miep Gies, Victor Kugler, and Bep Voskuijl.

They were concealed for two years, until they were betrayed by an anonymous informant in August 1944. Frank, his family, the four people he hid with, and Kugler and Kleiman were arrested by SS Officer Karl Silberbauer. After being imprisoned in Amsterdam, the Jewish prisoners were sent to the Dutch transit camp of Westerbork and finally to Auschwitz. Here Frank was separated from his wife and daughters. He was sent to the men's barracks and found himself in the sick barracks when he was liberated by Soviet troops on 27 January 1945. He travelled back to the Netherlands over the next six months and set about tracing his arrested family and friends. By the end of 1945, he knew he was the sole survivor of the family, and of those who had hidden in the house on the Prinsengracht.

Post war

After Anne Frank's death was confirmed in the summer of 1945, her diary and papers were given to Otto Frank by Miep Gies, who had rescued them from the ransacked hiding place. He left them unread for some time but eventually began transcribing them from Dutch for his relatives in Switzerland. He was persuaded that Anne's writing shed light into the experiences of many of those who suffered persecution under Nazis and was urged to consider publishing it. He typed out the diary papers into a single manuscript and edited out sections he thought too personal to his family or too mundane to be of interest to the general reader. The manuscript was read by Dutch historian Jan Romein, who reviewed it on 3 April 1946, for the Het Parool newspaper. This attracted the interest of Amsterdam's Contact Publishing, and in the summer of 1946, they accepted it for publication.

On 25 June 1947, the first Dutch edition of the diary was issued under the title Het Achterhuis (lit.: "the rear annexe"). Its success led to an English translation in 1952, which subsequently led to a theatrical dramatisation, and a cinematic version.

Otto Frank married a former neighbour from Amsterdam and fellow Auschwitz survivor, Elfriede Geiringer (1905–1998), in Amsterdam on 10 November 1953, and both moved to Basel, Switzerland, where he had family.

In response to a demolition order placed on the building in which Otto Frank and his family had hidden during the war, he and Johannes Kleiman helped establish The Anne Frank Foundation on 3 May 1957, with the principal aim of saving and restoring the building, to allow it to be opened to the general public. With the aid of public donations, the building (and its adjacent neighbour) was purchased by the Foundation. It opened as a museum (the Anne Frank House) on 3 May 1960, which can still be visited today.

Otto Frank died of lung cancer on 19 August, 1980.


  1. ^ Carol Ann Lee, The Hidden Life of Otto Frank (Harper Collins, 2003) |home_town = Frankfurt am Main, Germany
  2. ^ Carol Ann Lee, The Hidden Life of Otto Frank (Harper Collins, 2003), pages 8-9
  3. ^ Carol Ann Lee, The Hidden Life of Otto Frank (Harper Collins, 2003), pages 8-9
  4. ^ Carol Ann Lee, The Hidden Life of Otto Frank (Harper Collins, 2003), pages 8-9
  5. ^ "Anne Frank family letters released". 2007-02-14. Retrieved 2007-02-14. 
  6. ^ "In Old Files, Fading Hopes of Anne Frank’s Family". 2007-02-15. Retrieved 2007-02-15. 

Further reading

  • The Diary of a Young Girl, Anne Frank ISBN 0-553-29698-1
  • Anne Frank Remembered, Miep Gies and Alison Leslie Gold ISBN 0-671-66234-1
  • The Hidden Life of Otto Frank, Carol Ann Lee ISBN 0-670-91331-6
  • Roses from the Earth: the biography of Anne Frank, Carol Ann Lee ISBN 0-670-88140-6
  • Love, Otto, Cara Wilson ISBN 0-8362-7032-0
  • Eva's Story, Eva Schloss ISBN 0-9523716-9-3

External links

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