People Associated With Anne Frank
(Top Row: Left To Right: Otto Frank, Edith Frank, Margot Frank and Anne Frank
Middle Row: Left To Right: Hermann Van Pels, Auguste Van Pels, Peter Van Pels and Fritz Pfeffer
Bottom Row: Left To Right: Miep Gies, Victor Kugler, Johannes Kleiman and Bep Voskujil)
The other occupants of the Secret Annex:
1. Otto Frank (May 12, 1889 – August 19, 1980), (Anne and Margot's father, and husband to Edith) was in poor health, due primarily to malnutrition, when he was left behind in Auschwitz with the rest of those in the sick barracks, when the Nazis evacuated all the other prisoners on a 'death march'. He survived until the Russians liberated Auschwitz shortly afterward. In 1953, he married Elfride "Fritzi" Markovits-Geiringer, an Auschwitz survivor who lost her first husband and her son when they, too, were sent on a death march out of Auschwitz, and whose daughter Eva, also a survivor, was a neighborhood friend of the Frank sisters'. Otto devoted his life to spreading the message of his daughter and her diary, as well as to defending it against Neo-Nazi claims that it was a forgery or fake. He died in Birsfelden, Switzerland from lung cancer, on 19 August 1980 at the age of 91. His widow, Fritzi, continued his work until her own death in October 1998.
2. Edith Frank (January 16, 1900 – January 6, 1945), (Anne and Margot's mother, and Otto's wife) was left behind in Auschwitz-Birkenau when her daughters and Auguste van Pels were transferred to Bergen-Belsen, as her health had started to deteriorate. On October 30, 1944, a selection separated Edith from Anne and Margot. Edith was selected for the gas chambers, and her daughters were transported to Bergen-Belsen. Edith escaped with a friend to another section of the camp, where she remained through the winter. While here she hid every scrap of food she got and saved it for her daughters. Because she refused to eat any of the food she was saving for her daughters, she died from starvation on January 6, 1945, 21 days before the Red Army liberated the camp and 10 days before her 45th birthday. Her daughters outlived her by one month.
3. Margot Frank, (February 16, 1926 – February/March/April 1945) like her younger sister Anne, died of typhus in Bergen-Belsen. According to recollections of several eyewitnesses, this occurred "a few days" before Anne's death, most likely in early-mid February 1945, though like Anne's death, the exact date is not known.
4. Hermann van Pels, (March 31, 1898 – October 1944), known as Hermann (Hans in the first manuscript) van Daan in Anne's diary, died in Auschwitz, being the first of the eight to die. He was the only member of the group to be gassed. However, according to eyewitness testimony, this did not happen on the day he arrived there. Sal de Liema, an inmate at Auschwitz who knew both Otto Frank and Hermann van Pels, said that after two or three days in the camp, Van Pels mentally "gave up", which was generally the beginning of the end for any concentration camp inmate. He later injured his thumb on a work detail and requested to be sent to the sick barracks. Soon after that, during a sweep of the sick barracks for selection, he was sent to the gas chambers. This occurred about three weeks after his arrival at Auschwitz, most likely in very early October of 1944, and his selection was witnessed by both his son Peter and by Otto Frank.
5. Auguste van Pels (September 29, 1900 – April 1945), (Petronella van Daan in Anne's diary), born Auguste Röttgen (Hermann's wife), whose date and place of death are unknown. Witnesses testified that she was with the Frank sisters during part of their time in Bergen-Belsen, but that she was not present when they died in February/March. According to German records (her registration card), Mrs. Van Pels was sent to Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in Germany with a group of eight women on November 26, 1944. Hannah Goslar's testimony was that she spoke to Mrs. Van Pels through the barbed wire fence "in late January or early February". Auguste was transferred on February 6, 1945 to Raguhn (Buchenwald in Germany), then to the Czechoslovakia camp Theresienstadt ghetto on April 9, 1945. This same card lists her as being alive on April 11, 1945. As such, she must have died en route to Theresienstadt or shortly after her arrival there, the date of her death occurring most likely the either the first half or mid-April 1945, but before May 8, 1945, when the camp was liberated. Rachel van Amerongen-Frankfoorder, eyewitness of Auguste's death, states that the Nazis murdered her by throwing her on the train tracks during her last transport to Theresienstadt in April of 1945.
6. Peter van Pels (November 8, 1926 – May 10, 1945), (Hermann and Auguste's son, known as Peter van Daan in Anne's diary and Alfred van Daan in her first manuscript) died in Mauthausen. Otto Frank had protected him during their period of imprisonment together, as the two men had been assigned to the same work group. Frank later stated that he had urged Peter to hide in Auschwitz and remain behind with him, rather than set out on a forced march, but Peter believed he would have a better chance of survival if he joined the death march out of Auschwitz. Mauthausen Concentration Camp records indicate that Peter van Pels was registered upon his arrival there on January 25, 1945. Four days later, he was placed in an outdoor labor group, Quarz. On 11 April 1945, Peter was sent to the sick barracks. His exact death date is unknown, but the International Red Cross designated it as May 10, 1945, five days after Mauthausen was liberated by men from the 11th Armored Division of the U.S. Third Army. He was 18 years old, and was the last member of the group to die while imprisoned.
7. Fritz Pfeffer (April 30, 1889 – December 20, 1944), (who was the family dentist of Miep Gies and the van Pels), Albert Dussel in Anne's diary, died on 20 December 1944 in Neuengamme concentration camp. His cause of death was listed in the camp records as "enterocolitis", a catch-all term that covered, among other things, dysentery and cholera, both of which were common causes of death in the camps. Of all the stressful relationships precipitated by living in such close proximity with each other for two years, the relationship between Anne and Fritz Pfeffer was one of the most difficult for both, as her diary shows.
1.) Miep Gies saved Anne Frank's diary without reading it. She later said that if she had read it, she would have needed to destroy it, as it contained a great deal of incriminating information, such as the names of all of the annex helpers, as well as many of their Dutch Underground contacts. She and her husband, Jan, took Otto Frank into their home, where he lived from 1945 (after his liberation from Auschwitz concentration camp) until 1952. In 1994, she received the "Order of Merit" of the Federal Republic of Germany, and in 1995, received the highest honor from the Yad Vashem, the Righteous Among the Nations. She was appointed a "Knight of the Order of Orange-Nassau" by Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands. In 1996, Gies shared an Academy Award with Jon Blair for their documentary Anne Frank Remembered (1995), based largely on Gies' 1987 book of the same title. She also wrote the afterword for Melissa Müller's biography of Anne Frank. Gies stated that every year she spent the entire day of 4 August in mourning, the date those in the Annex were arrested. Gies died on January 11, 2010, following a short illness, at the age of 100.
2.) Jan Gies (Miep's husband) was a social worker and, for part of the war, a member of the Dutch Resistance; thus, he was able to procure things for the people in the annex that would have been almost impossible to obtain any other way. He left the Underground in 1944, when an incident caused him to believe his safety had been compromised. Jan died of complications from diabetes on 26 January 1993 in Amsterdam. He and Miep had been married for 51 years.
3.) Johannes Kleiman spent about six weeks in a work camp after his arrest and was released after intervention from the Red Cross, because of his fragile health. He returned to Opekta and took over the firm when Otto Frank moved to Basel in 1952. He died at his office desk of a stroke in 1959, aged 62.
4.) Victor Kugler spent seven months in various work camps and escaped into a farm field in March 1945, during the confusion that resulted when the prisoner march he was on that day was strafed by British Spitfires. Working his way back to his hometown of Hilversum on foot and by bicycle, he remained in hiding there until liberated by Canadian troops a few weeks later. After his wife died, he emigrated to Canada in 1955 (where several of his relatives already lived) and resided in Toronto. On September 16, 1958 he appeared on "To Tell the Truth", as "the hider" of Otto and Anne Frank. He received the "Medal of the Righteous" from Yad Vashem Memorial, with a tree planted in his honour on the Boulevard of the Righteous Among the Nations in 1973. He died on 16 December 1981 in Toronto, after a long illness, at the age of 81.
5.) Bep Voskuijl, like her colleagues, was instructed to stay in the office on the day the Franks were forced from their hiding place, but in the confusion that followed Bep managed to escape with a few documents which would have incriminated their black market contacts. Bep and Miep found Anne's diaries and papers after the eight prisoners, together with Kugler and Kleiman, had been arrested and removed from the building. Bep left Opekta shortly after the war and married Cornelius van Wijk in 1946. While she did grant an interview to a Dutch magazine some years after the war, she mostly shunned publicity. However, Bep kept her own scrapbook of Anne-related articles throughout her life. Bep and her husband had four children, the last a daughter whom she named "Anne Marie", in honor of Anne. Bep died in Amsterdam on 6 May 1983.
6.) Johannes Hendrik Voskuijl, Bep's father, was lauded constantly by the eight in hiding as a tremendous help with all matters during their early days in the achterhuis. For example, he designed and built the "swinging bookcase" that concealed the entrance to the annex. However, Anne often mentioned his health problems in her diary, and he became incapacitated after a diagnosis of abdominal cancer. He ultimately died of the disease in late November 1945, and Otto Frank attended his funeral on December 1st.
Friends and extended family:
1.) Hanneli Goslar (born Nov 12, 1928), known as "Hannah" and to most of her childhood friends as "Lies", was Anne's oldest friend, along with Sanne Ledermann. While Hannah was in Bergen-Belsen, she met Auguste van Pels by asking through a hay-filled barbed wire fence if anyone who could hear her voice spoke Dutch. Mrs. van Pels answered her and remembered Hannah from peacetime in Amsterdam. Mrs. van Pels then told Hannah that Anne was a prisoner in the section of the camp van Pels herself was in. Hannah was astonished, as she, like most people back in Amsterdam, believed the Franks had escaped to Switzerland. Hannah was able to talk to Anne several times through the barrier and to toss some essentials over it for her. Anne had told Hannah, at this point, that she believed both of her parents were dead, and in later years Hannah reflected that if Anne had known her father were still alive, she might have found the strength to survive until the camp was liberated. Shortly after Hannah threw the bundle over the fence for Anne, Anne's contingent of prisoners was moved, and Hannah never heard from her again. Hannah and her little sister Gabi were the only members of their family to survive the war, and Hannah was near death from typhus and tuberculosis when the Russians liberated the train in which she and Gabi were being transported, reportedly to Theresienstadt. After recovering, Hannah emigrated to Israel, became a nurse, and ultimately a grandmother of ten.
2.) Susanne "Sanne" Ledermann was Anne's constant companion from the time of her arrival in Amsterdam and is mentioned several times at the beginning of the diary. She was considered the "quiet" one of the trio of "Anne, Hanne and Sanne". She was very intelligent, and according to Anne, very facile with poetry. Sanne's full first name is variously listed in different sources as both "Susanne" and "Susanna". Only her friends called her "Sanne"; her family used the more Germanic "Susi". After his return to Amsterdam, Otto Frank learned that Sanne and her parents, Franz and Ilse, were arrested on June 20, 1943. Sanne and her parents were sent first to Westerbork, then on November 16th to Auschwitz, where all three were gassed upon arrival. Sanne's sister Barbara Ledermann, who was a friend of Margot's, had, through contacts in the Dutch Underground, acquired an Aryan ID card (becoming "Barbara Waarts") and worked as a courier for the Underground. She survived the war and later married the Nobel Prize–winning biochemist Martin Rodbell.
3.) Jacqueline van Maarsen (born Jan 30, 1929), or "Jacque", as she was known to everyone, was Anne's "best" friend at the time the Frank family went into hiding. Jacque sincerely liked Anne, but found her at times too demanding in her friendship. Anne, in her diary later, was remorseful for her own attitude toward Jacque, regarding with better understanding Jacque's desire to have other close girlfriends as well - "I just want to apologize and explain things", Anne wrote. After two and a half months in hiding, Anne composed a farewell letter to Jacque in her diary, vowing her lifelong friendship. Jacque read this passage much later, after the publication of the diary. Jacque's French-born mother was a Christian, and that, along with several other extenuating circumstances, combined to get the "J" (for "Jew") removed from the family's identification cards. The van Maarsens were thus able to live out the war years in Amsterdam. Jacque later married her childhood sweetheart Ruud Sanders and still lives in Amsterdam, where she is an award-winning bookbinder and has written four books on their notable friendship: Anne and Jopie (1990), My Friend, Anne Frank (1996), My Name Is Anne, She Said, Anne Frank (2003), and Inheriting Anne Frank (2009).
4.) Nanette "Nanny" Blitz (born Apr 6, 1929) was another schoolmate of Anne's. Nannette, by her own admission, was the girl given the made-up initials "E. S." in the early pages of Anne's diary. While they were not always on the best of terms during school days (their personalities were much too similar), Nanny had been invited to Anne's 13th birthday party, and when they met in Bergen-Belsen, their reunion was enthusiastic. With prisoners constantly being shifted around in the huge camp, Nanny quickly lost track of Anne. Nannette was the only member of her family to survive the war. While she was recovering from tuberculosis in a hospital immediately after the war, Otto Frank got in touch with her, and she was able to write and give him some information about her encounter with Anne at Belsen. Nanette and her family, as of 1998, resided in São Paulo, Brazil.
5.) Ilse Wagner, whom Jacque van Maarsen described as "a sweet and sensible girl", is mentioned several times in the early part of the diary. Ilse's family had a table tennis set, and Anne and Margot frequently went to her house to play. Wagner was the first of Anne's circle of friends to be deported. Along with her mother and grandmother, she was sent to Westerbork in January 1943, then to Sobibór extermination camp, where all three were gassed upon arrival on April 2, 1943.
6.) Lutz Peter Schiff: For all the admiring boys Anne was surrounded with during her school days, she said repeatedly in her diary that the only one she deeply cared about was Peter Schiff, whom she called "Petel". He was three years older than Anne and they had, according to Anne, been "inseparable" during the summer of 1940, when Anne turned 11. Then, Peter changed addresses and a new acquaintance slightly older than Peter convinced him Anne was "just a child". Anne had several vivid dreams of Peter while in hiding, wrote about them in her diary, and realized herself that she saw Peter van Pels, at least partially, as a surrogate for Peter Schiff. Anne implies in her diary (January 12, 1944) that Peter Schiff gave her a pendant as a gift, which she cherished from then on. Schiff was also a prisoner at Bergen-Belsen, though he was transported from there to Auschwitz before Anne and Margot arrived at Belsen. It is known for certain that he died in Auschwitz, although the exact date of his death is unclear. In 2009, the Anne Frank House received a photograph of Schiff as a boy, donated by one of his former classmates; it can be seen, along with the story of its donation, on the Anne Frank House website.
7.) Helmuth "Hello" Silberberg was the boy Anne was closest to at the time her family went into hiding, though they had only known each other about two weeks at that time. Born in Gelsenkirchen, Germany, his parents sent him to Amsterdam to live with his grandparents, believing, like Otto Frank, that Hitler would respect The Netherlands' neutrality. Silberberg's grandfather, who disliked the name Helmuth, dubbed him "Hello". Hello was 16 and adored Anne, but she wrote in her diary that she was "not in love with Hello, he is just a friend, or as mummy would say, one of my 'beaux'", though Anne also remarked in her diary on how much she enjoyed Hello's company, and she speculated that he might become "a real friend" over time. By a very convoluted series of events, including several narrow escapes from the Nazis, Hello eventually reunited with his parents in Belgium. Belgium was also an occupied country, however, and he and his family were still "in hiding", though not under circumstances as difficult as the Franks'. The American forces liberated the town where the Silberbergs were hiding on September 3, 1944, and Hello was free — tragically on the same day that Anne and her family left on the last transport from Westerbork to Auschwitz. Hello emigrated to the United States after the war and was later known as Ed Silverberg. He appeared as Ed Silverberg in the multimedia stage presentation about the Holocaust called, And Then They Came for Me. He died in 2015 at age 89.
8.) Eva Geiringer (now Eva Schloss) shared a remarkably similar history with Anne. The Geiringers lived on the opposite side of Merwedeplein, the square where the Franks' apartment was located, and Eva and Anne were almost exactly the same age. Eva was also a close friend of Sanne Ledermann's, and she knew both Anne and Margot. Eva described herself as an out-and-out tomboy, and hence she was in awe of Anne's fashion sense and worldliness, but she was somewhat puzzled by Anne's fascination with boys. "I had a brother, so boys were no big thing to me", Eva wrote. But Anne had introduced Eva to Otto Frank when the Geiringers first came to Amsterdam "so you can speak German with someone", as Anne had said, and Eva never forgot Otto's warmth and kindness to her. Though they were acquainted on a first-name basis, Eva and Anne were not especially close, as they had different groups of friends aside from their mutual close friendship with Sanne Ledermann. Eva's brother Heinz was called up for deportation to labor camp on the same day as Margot Frank, and the Geiringers went into hiding at the same time the Franks did, though the Geiringer family split into two groups to do so - Eva and her mother in one location, and Heinz and his father at another. Though hiding in two separate locations, all four of the Geiringers were betrayed on the same day, about three months before the Frank family. Eva survived Auschwitz, and when the Russians liberated Birkenau, the women's sector of the camp, she walked the mile-and-a-half distance to the men's camp to look for her father and brother, finding out much later that they had not survived the prisoner march out of Auschwitz. But when she entered the sick barracks of the men's camp, she recognized Otto Frank and had a warm reunion with him. Eight years later, Otto married Eva's widowed mother Elfriede (Fritzi) Geiringer, thereby making Eva a stepsister of Anne and Margot's. Eva later wrote her autobiography Eva's Story: A Survivor's Tale by the Stepsister of Anne Frank (1988), which served as the inspiration for the development of a popular multimedia stage presentation about the Holocaust called And Then They Came for Me. Eva also co-authored, with Barbara Powers, an autobiography targeted to younger readers and considered a suitable companion book to Anne's diary, titled Promise, in which she describes her family's happy life before going into hiding, and the experiences of living in hiding during the Nazi occupation, of going to the concentration camps, and finally, of going after liberation to the house where Heinz and their father had hidden, to retrieve the paintings Heinz had hidden beneath the floorboards there. Heinz's paintings have been displayed in exhibitions in the United States and are now a part of a permanent exhibition in Amsterdam's war museum. In 2013, Eva Schloss' memoir of life after the Holocaust, After Auschwitz: A Story of Heartbreak and Survival by the stepsister of Anne Frank, was published. After the war, Eva eventually built a new life in London with her husband of 60 years, Zvi Schloss, with whom she has three daughters. In May 2013, she was featured on BBC Radio 4's Woman's Hour.
9.) Charlotte Kaletta, the common law wife of Fritz Pfeffer, was not Jewish and therefore was able to remain in her Amsterdam apartment during the occupation. Kaletta and Pfeffer had been regulars at the Sunday afternoon "coffees" hosted by the Franks before the war, and hence she knew the entire Frank family. Miep Gies was especially touched by the devotion Pfeffer and Kaletta displayed to each other, and frequently passed letters from one to the other, an act which the other members of the household viewed as imprudent, but which Gies felt was important. Kaletta's Jewish husband and their son both died in Auschwitz, but she held hope for some time after the war's end that Pfeffer had survived. When she learned of his death, she married him posthumously; Otto Frank made the arrangements for her. Frank was always sympathetic to her and continued to offer her assistance, but in the mid-1950s she severed all contact with him, and with Miep and Jan Gies, because she was offended by the unflattering depiction of Pfeffer in Anne's diary and later by the way his character was written in the stage play The Diary of Anne Frank by Goodrich and Hackett. Charlotte died in Amsterdam on June 13, 1985.
10.) Several members of the Frank and Holländer families fled Germany, including Otto's mother and sister, who fled to Switzerland, and Edith's two brothers, Julius and Walter, who fled to the United States. All of them survived the war. In his later years, Otto Frank lamented his decision to take his own family to the Netherlands.
Janny Brandes-Brilleslijper (October 24, 1916 – August 15, 2003) and her sister Rebekka (Lien) Brilleslijper (December 13, 1912 – August 31, 1988) , Anne and Margot's fellow prisoners in all three camps, had both trained as nurse aides and were among the last people to see Anne and Margot Frank alive.
Karl Silberbauer (June 21, 1911 – September 2, 1972) was the Sicherheitsdienst (Nazi Security Service) officer who arrested Anne Frank and her family in their hiding place in 1944. He was tracked down and identified as the arresting officer in October 1963 by the Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal. Although his memories of the arrest were notably vivid, Silberbauer had not been told by his superior officer, Julius Dettmann, who had made the tip-off, only that it came from a "reliable source", and was unable to provide any information that would further a police investigation. Silberbauer's confession helped discredit claims that The Diary of Anne Frank was a forgery. Given Otto Frank's crucial declaration that Silberbauer had obviously acted on orders and behaved correctly and without cruelty during the arrest, judicial investigation of Silberbauer was dropped, and he was able to continue in his career as a police officer. Silberbauer died in 1972.