Otto Frank

On this day 40 years ago. Otto Frank passed away, aged 91.

On may 15 1945 he wrote the following letter while on board the Monowai steamship. This was exactly 5 years after the Dutch had capitulated to the Germans.

“The closer we get to home the greater our impatience to hear from our loved ones. Everything that’s happened the past few years! Until our arrest I don’t know exactly what caused it, even now, at least we still had contact with each other. I don’t know what’s happened since then. Kugler and Kleiman and especially Miep and her husband and Bep Voskuil provided us with everything for two whole years, with incomparable devotion and sacrifice and despite all danger. I can’t even begin to describe it. How will I ever begin to repay everything they did. But what has happened since then? To them, to you to Robert [Otto’s brother]. Are you in touch with Julius and Walter? [Edith Frank’s brothers] All our possessions are gone. There won’t be a pin left, the Germans stole everything. Not a photo, letter or document remains. Financially we were fine in the past few years, I earned good money and saved it. Now it’s all gone. But I don’t think about any of that. We have lived through too much to worry about that kind of thing. Only the children matter, the children. I hope to get news from you immediately. Maybe you’ve already heard news about the girls”

We all know Anne and Margot’s history but we know little about their Fathert Otto.

During WW1 he enlisted in the German army 1915. He was part of a ‘Lichtmesstrupp’, a unit that analysed where enemy artillery fire came from.In 1917 he was promoted in the field to lieutenant and served at the Battle of CambraiIn

In 1933 due to the rise of Nazism in Germany he moved his family to the Netherlands, eventually settling in Amsterdam. In 1937 he had plans setting up a business in Great Britain, but the plans never worked out.

He tried to obtain a Visa for the USA but this was denied.

In July 1942 the Frank family and other went into hiding in the secret annex in the company building on the Prinsengracht.

On 4 August 1944, Dutch police officers headed by SS-Hauptscharführer Karl Josef Silberbauer unexpectedly raided the Secret Annex. The hiding place had been discovered. Otto and the other people in hiding were arrested.

In September,1944 Otto Frank was separated forever from his wife and daughters.

After the separation on the Auschwitz-Birkenau platform, Otto was at first as put to work outside the camp in the ‘Kommando Kiesgrube’, a gravel mine,whichl was used for construction projects. Then, he was transferred to the ‘Kommando Strassenbau’, building roads outside the camp. When the frost made working outdoors impossible, Otto ended up with less exhausting work like peeling potatoes. Otto felt greatly supported by Peter van Pels, who would sometimes be able to get some extra food through his job in the camp’s post office. He was also helped by other friends in the camp. When at one point, Otto lost hope after he had been beaten, his fellow inmates, with the help of a Dutch doctor, made sure that he was admitted to the sick barracks. When the Soviet troops came closer, the camp command cleared Auschwitz. Anyone who was able to walk, had to come along this march, which turned out to be a death march Otto stayed behind walkin the sick barracks. He was too weak to travel, weighed only 52 kg and was in no condition to join.He expected to be shot but was liberated by the Soviet troops on January 27,1945.

As soon as Otto regained his strenghth, he wanted nothing more than to return to the Netherlands. Since the war was still raging in large parts of Europe, he had to make a long detour. In Odessa (then in the Soviet Union, today in Ukraine) he got on board of the ‘Monowai’, a ship that was heading towards Marseille (France), with hundreds of other survivors.

Di

During this journey he found out that his wife had died in Auschwitz.

His hope that Anne and Margot might have survived were quashed in July 1945, when he met with the Brilleslijper sisters, who had been imprisoned in Bergen-Belsen with Anne and Margot. They told him about their miserable last months and about their deaths due to illness and exhaustion.

Otto Frank married former Amsterdam neighbor and fellow Auschwitz survivor,Elfriede Geiringer in Amsterdam on 10 November 1953, and the couple moved to Basel, Switzerland, where he had family, including relatives’ children, with whom he shared his experiences.

Source

https://www.annefrank.org/en/anne-frank/main-characters/otto-frank/

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Self Isolation

anne

In many countries around the globe people are being advised to self isolate when they have or think they may have symptoms of the Covid 19 infection. The recommended period vary between 7 and 14 days.

Many people say this has never happened before.However for many this was a reality due to the virus  created by Adolf Hitler and his like minded friends in Germany and other European countries, a virus fueled by hate and indifference. The difference though the Covid 19 virus has a high survival rate whereas the Nazi virus meant a certain death for many, especially when you were Jewish,Gypsy,Disabled or or other groups deemed sub human by the Nazis.

To survive many went into hiding, which was basically an extreme  form of self isolation. There are many examples but I am sticking to the most famous account of ‘ Self Isolation’ that of the Frank family.

annex

Of the Frank family only Otto, the Father, survived. He lost hos 2 daughters and his wife to this ‘virus of hate and indifference’

Below are some diary entries of Anne and also some words of Margot.

Margot

Margot Frank

“Times change, people change, thoughts about good and evil change, about true and false. But what always remains fast and steady is the affection that your friends feel for you, those who always have your best interest at heart.”

anne frank

Anne Frank

“Last night Margot and I were lying side by side in my bed. It was incredibly cramped, but that’s what made it fun. She asked if she could read my diary once in a while. ‘Parts of it,’ I said, and asked about hers. She gave me permission to read her diary as well.”

“Everyone has inside of him a piece of good news. The good news is that you don’t know how great you can be! How much you can love! What you can accomplish! And what your potential is!”

margot and anne

A vaccine against the Covid 19/Corona virus is currently in development, especially scientists in Israel are making a good progress on a vaccine and a treatment. Just imagine what could have been if the Nazis hadn’t been able to carry out their final solution.

Unfortunately there is no vaccine as of yet against hate and indifference.

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The last single Journey: Westerbork-Auschwitz

Sign

One of the cruel jokes the Nazis played on their victims was giving them hope. Like a railway sign indicating a return journey that was never to be. Only empty trains returned ready to pick up more victims like lambs led to the slaughter.

Trein

On September 3,1944 the last transport by train from Westerbork Transit Camp to Auschwitz took place.

Westerbork

Between July 15 ,1942 and September 13,1944 a total of 99 trains had left Westerbork for either Auschwitz,Sobibor,Theresienstadt and Bergen Belsen.

On the September 3rd transport 1019 victims were transported to Auschwitz. A journey which would take 3 days. Even before they reached Auschwitz they endured hell, because they were cramped in cattle cars, quite literally like cattle. There were no toilets, barely any food or water, nowhere to sleep. Some would die even before they reached their final destination.

What makes this transport special is because of one family, A Father,mother and 2 daugthers, only the father would eventually survive. This family was the Frank Family.

scheule

Anne and Margot Frank had one more journey to make on 28 October they were selected to be transported to Bergen-Belsen, where both girls died. Otto and Edith Frank remained in Auschwitz but Edith eventually died of starvation in January 1945.

Frank Family

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The lonely journey of Otto Frank on the Monowai steamship.

Monowai

I am a father of 3 children and every time they leave the house a million scenarios go through my head of things that could happen to them, but I am not unique in this for it  is what fathers and mothers do, they worry for their kids.

Otto Frank was a father and a husband to 2 beautiful daughters and a remarkable wife, I just can’t fathom the anxiety he must have felt on the 4th of August 1944, when the Gestapo raided the annex of the building, Otto and his family had been hiding in since July 6 1942.

annex

The uncertainty of the fate of his family must have driven him to the brink of insanity.

On the 22nd of  April 1945, a few weeks before the end of the war in Europe, the Monowai,flying the New Zealand flag,  set sail from England for Odessa on the Black Sea.it was carrying 1600 Soviets who had been captured serving with the Germans in France. The Manowai then embarked Jewish Holocaust survivors from Western Europe, on of them was Otto Frank – who had been liberated from the Auschwitz death camp on January 27th 1945. by the Soviet army. On 21 May the ship traveled with the Jewish survivors   from Odessa to Marseille, where it arrived on the 27th of May.

Marseille

While aboard the Monowai, Otto Frank wrote the following letter:

“The closer we get to home the greater our impatience to hear from our loved ones. Everything that’s happened the past few years! Until our arrest I don’t know exactly what caused it, even now, at least we still had contact with each other. I don’t know what’s happened since then. Kugler and Kleiman and especially Miep and her husband and Bep Voskuil provided us with everything for two whole years, with incomparable devotion and sacrifice and despite all danger.

I can’t even begin to describe it. How will I ever begin to repay everything they did. But what has happened since then? To them, to you to Robert (His brother). Are you in touch with Julius and Walter? (Edith’s brothers) All our possessions are gone. There won’t be a pin left, the Germans stole everything. Not a photo, letter or document remains. Financially we were fine in the past few years, I earned good money and saved it. Now it’s all gone. But I don’t think about any of that. We have lived through too much to worry about that kind of thing. Only the children matter, the children. I hope to get news from you immediately. Maybe you’ve already heard news about the girls”

By this time Otto had discovered that his wife, Edith, had died at Auschwitz

This letter broke my heart. We know so much about Anne through her diary and also but to a lesser extend about Margot, but none of us can ever imagine the pain Otto felt when he heard the news about his daughters.

Frank

The sad thing is that Anne Frank’s diary did not have to be published if the US had not cancelled the Frank’s visa in December 1941, just after Germany had declared war to the US.  I am not accusing the US government but it is sad nonetheless.

The even sadder thing is that Otto Frank was accused of tempering with Anne’s diary. I really don’t understand the mindset of people like that. accusing a man who lost everything. To me he is a hero who despite everything kept his sanity and ensured that the story of his daughter and the rest of his family would be told.

Otto Frank died of lung cancer on 19 August 1980 in Basel.

Donation

I am passionate about my site and I know you all like reading my blogs. I have been doing this at no cost and will continue to do so. All I ask is for a voluntary donation of $2 ,however if you are not in a position to do so I can fully understand, maybe next time then. Thanks To donate click on the credit/debit card icon of the card you will use. If you want to donate more then $2 just add a higher number in the box left from the paypal link. Many thanks

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Source

New Zealand History

Wikipedia