Last night my folks, husband and I witnessed the intensity of living in an upstairs room, maybe attic of an Amsterdam business. Ken and I have walked by this place and so it was easy for me to imagine what they could see out their windows when they referred to the channel next to their place. The sound effects also could be the goose step sounds of the Nazi soldiers marching down the narrow streets next to their building. Apparently Mr. Otto Frank was a very highly respected man, in whatever profession he had been in before he and his wife and two daughters went into hiding. Then you see the Von Daan family joined them because the father of Peter Von Daan had helped Mr. Frank move into the Netherlands.
The Frank family had originally lived and had come from Frankfurt, Germany. When escaping their home in a rush, Mr. Frank had purposely put an address in the wastebasket for Zurich, Switzerland so that had thrown the enemy off thinking that is where they had escaped to. Instead, they were in Amsterdam and holed up in the one place without going outside for over a year and a half.
The eight people were fed by kind people who were downstairs with an office, Mr. Kaler and a lady named Miep. They had added on a Mr. Dussel who was NOT a likeable character at all. Food became short and tempers became shorter. On Sept. 4, 1944, the Green Police stormed into their attic and they had five minutes to bring their belongings with them where the women were separated. Otto went to Auschwitz and Anne and her sister Margot went to Bergen Belsen where they may have died of typhus six months after their capture in Feb. or March of 1945. Apparently their mother had stayed behind and died of starvation. Otto Frank was in the concentration camp that was liberated and he returned to Amsterdam to find out about his family’s fate.
He found Anne’s diary and did all he could to preserve her memory of what she captured from her 13-15 year old perspective of life in hiding. Otto Frank died in 1980. An estimated 30,000 Dutch Jews stayed in hiding in the Netherlands but 100,000 perished in the Nazi death camps. I would tell my writing students that writing our memories down in whatever format is important for posterity’s sake. What an evening it was and now my day will begin with a 5K walk and then birthday brunch with my husband then a birthday party at the Carnegie and then finally this evening we will have a jazz band concert/dance at the Carnegie. Better get ready for the day!!!!!!