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February 18, 2010

Anne Frank – What if…?

Filed under: Holocaust, World War II — Tags: , , , , , , — furtherglory @ 2:56 am

Statue of Anne Frank in Amsterdam

In July 1942, Anne Frank and her family went into hiding along with four other people, in an annex behind her father’s office building. They stayed there for a little more than two years until some unknown person betrayed them and they were arrested by the Gestapo.  Anne’s father, Otto Frank, was the only survivor.

What if Anne and her family had not gone into hiding?  Would they have had a better chance of surviving?

A few years ago, I visited the Anne Frank house in Amsterdam which has been turned into a Museum.  There are TV monitors on the wall and visitors can watch interviews with some of Anne’s Jewish school friends who are still alive and well, living in Israel. They didn’t go into hiding and they survived.

Otto Frank office and factory building in Amsterdam

After they were arrested by the Gestapo, Anne and the others who hid in the annex were sent to the Westerbork transit camp in Holland. Westerbork had originally been set up as an internment camp for Jews who were illegal immigrants in Holland, so it was a nice camp, not like the typical Nazi concentration camp.

But Anne didn’t get to enjoy her time in Westerbork. Because Anne’s family had gone into hiding, they were put into the “punishment” section of Westerbork.  There, Anne and her sister Margot and her mother were put to work taking apart old batteries.

I wouldn’t touch an old battery with a ten foot pole, much less take one apart.  Think of what being exposed to battery acid for a couple of months will do to your health.  Anne’s mother died of tuberculosis, or possibly some other lung condition, after five months at the Auschwitz II camp, also known as Birkenau.

After less than two months at Birkenau, Anne and her sister Margot were transferred to the Bergen Belsen camp in Germany in October 1944.  We know that the train carrying Anne and Margot to Bergen-Belsen was a “sick transport” because the Red Cross was asked to monitor the train along the way.

The Bergen-Belsen camp had 8 different sections, including a sick camp where prisoners who were terminally ill, and could no longer work, were sent to die. But Anne and her sister were not being sent to the sick camp at Bergen-Belsen.

Anne and Margot Frank were put into a new section in Bergen-Belsen where prefabricated barracks from the abandoned Plaszow camp were supposed to have been set up.  (Plaszow was the camp shown in Schindler’s List where the Commandant shot prisoners from the balcony.)

For some reason, the barracks from Plaszow never arrived at Bergen-Belsen and tents had to be set up for the sick prisoners on this transport.  If Anne and Margot were not sick already, they certainly would be after a few weeks of sleeping on the ground inside a canvas tent in October.

The tents blew down during a storm a few weeks later, and Anne and Margot were put into barracks that were already full.  A typhus epidemic started at Bergen-Belsen in December 1944 and Anne and Margo had virtually no chance of surviving in an over-crowded barrack.

Meanwhile, Anne’s school friends from Amsterdam were living in the Star camp at Bergen-Belsen where they had uncrowded barracks and received better food, including Red Cross packages.  The Red Cross packages were important for survival because they contained oranges and other items necessary for maintaining good health.

Anne and Margot Frank didn’t get Red Cross packages at Bergen-Belsen because they were being punished for going into hiding.

So how did Anne’s childhood friends get into the best section of Bergen-Belsen?  Their families  were Zionists who wanted to go to Palestine.

Bergen-Belsen was originally set up as a holding camp for Jews who wanted to go to Palestine; they were available to be exchanged for German citizens being held in prison by the Allies.  It was not until December 1944 that Bergen Belsen became a concentration camp.

Anne Frank’s mother was an Orthodox Jew but her father was not very religious; he was not a  Zionist.  Besides that, the Franks didn’t qualify for the prisoner exchange camp at Bergen-Belsen because Otto Frank was a fugitive from justice.

In 1933, when Hitler came to power, Otto Frank was not in danger of being persecuted — he was in danger of being prosecuted.  That’s right, Otto Frank and his brother were both indicted for bank fraud in 1933, and were scheduled to be put on trial.  Otto Frank tried to get a visa to come to America, but was denied, so he escaped to Holland and entered the country illegally.  His family followed him a few months later.

Otto Frank had been preparing a hiding place for months, while he told everyone that the family was planning to escape to Switzerland. In July 1942, Margot Frank received a letter from the Zentralstelle für jüdische Auswanderung (Central Office for Jewish Emigration), ordering her to report to a work camp. The next day, the Frank family moved into the annex.

Otto Frank’s family had been rich for  many years, and his wife’s family was even richer.  For centuries, no one in either of their families had ever worked a day doing manual labor.  It was unthinkable that 16-year-old Margot would have to work with her hands on a farm or in a factory.

But what if Margot had reported for work?  She would have worked in a labor camp for a year or two and then would have been allowed to return to her family. She would have been paid a small amount of money for her work and she would have been allowed to send food home to the family. On weekends, she would have been allowed to go into a nearby town.  (Source: “The Nazi Officer’s Wife by Edith Hahn Beer, published in 2003.)

Instead Margot spent the next two years cooped up in a room where she had to be quiet the whole day.

Otto Frank’s office and the annex behind it

Photo Credit: Anne Frank Stichting, Tekening: Eric van Rootselaar

Shown above is a cross section of the house and the Annex. On the left is the main house, with the annex on the right. Tourists enter the house through a door that has been cut into the wall of the passageway which connects the main building and the annex on the ground floor. Anne Frank’s room is on the 2nd floor (3rd floor in American terms) on the side nearest to the viewer.

The officer who came to arrest the Franks in August 1944 was Karl Silberbauer.  He noticed that Otto Frank had an Iron Cross medal that he had received in World War I.  Silberbauer asked Otto why he had gone into hiding when Jewish veterans of World War I were initially exempt from being sent to a concentration camp, and were later sent to the Theresienstadt ghetto. In other words, Otto Frank would have been one of the “prominent” Jews because of his status as a veteran and a holder of the Iron Cross, and as a prominent Jew, he could have stayed at Theresienstadt throughout the war. (Source: Anne Frank, the Biography by Melissa Mueller)

It is possible that Otto Frank was never in the military in World War I and that he purchased his Iron Cross medal like many other Jews.  This was so common that Hitler commissioned a study to find out exactly how many Jews had served in the Army in World War I.

Anne Frank at age 13

If Anne Frank had survived, she would be 80 years old in June this year.

What if Anne Frank had lived? What kind of person would she be?

Here is a clue:

The first thing you see, on your way through the building at 265 Prinsengracht, is the famous photo of Anne (shown above) which appears on the cover of the American edition of The Diary of Anne Frank, and a large poster with one of the most famous quotations from her diary, written on April 9, 1944.

“One day this terrible war will be over. The time will come when we will be people again, and not just Jews! We can never be just Dutch, or just English, or whatever, we will always be Jews as well. But then, we’ll want to be.”

That quote from Anne Frank’s diary reveals that Anne herself was a Zionist.  If she were alive today, she would probably be living in Israel with her childhood friends.

15 Comments

  1. Anne Frank a zionist? Have you actually read the entire diary or do you just randomly quote things that fit your opinion?
    Would she and her family had a better chance of surviving if they wouldn’t have gone into hiding? Seriously? To use her surviving class mates as a pro-point is beyond ridiculous. How many of them did NOT survive? How many of her family and friends didn’t stand a chance? I know, your entire blog is about how the holocaust did not happen, so arguing with you is useless to begin with.
    By the way, best part of your web page is how you couldn’t get a block with your real name. That’s hilarious! Too scared to post your real name in the about section then? Hiding behind the security of the web? Very brave… NOT!

    Comment by see the lies — July 20, 2013 @ 1:22 pm

    • I have read the Diary of Anne Frank from cover to cover several times. I have “The Diary of Anne Frank, the Critical Edition,” which is 700 pages long and weighs about 10 pounds. The Critical Edition gives three different editions of the book side by side and compares them. I have read the entire 700 pages very carefully.

      You wrote: “Anne Frank a zionist?”

      Here is the definition of Zionism from this website: http://www.thefreedictionary.com/Zionist

      “A Jewish movement that arose in the late 19th century in response to growing anti-Semitism and sought to reestablish a Jewish homeland in Palestine. Modern Zionism is concerned with the support and development of the state of Israel.”

      The original definition of “anti-Semite” was a person who wanted the Jews to assimilate into the country where they lived. The opposite of an “anti-Semite” was a Zionist or a person who wanted the Jews to have their own country, preferably in Palestine.

      Anne revealed herself as a Zionist when she rejected the idea of assimilating into the country where she lived; she wrote that she could never be just Dutch, because she would always be a Jew as well.

      On my blog post I wrote:
      “…one of the most famous quotations from her diary, written on April 9, 1944.

      “One day this terrible war will be over. The time will come when we will be people again, and not just Jews! We can never be just Dutch, or just English, or whatever, we will always be Jews as well. But then, we’ll want to be.”

      Some of her girl friends did not go into hiding; instead their families went to Bergen-Belsen when it was an EXCHANGE camp because they wanted to go to Israel. After the war, her girl friends DID go to Palestine and became citizens of Israel when it became a country.

      The Holocaust was “The Final Solution to the JEWISH QUESTION.” The Jewish question was “Should the Jews assimilate into the country where they live, or should they form their own country? The Jews who wanted to form their own country were Zionists. The Jews who wanted to assimilate were “anti-Semites.”

      Read the Jewish explanation of “The Jewish Question” at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jewish_question

      Comment by furtherglory — July 20, 2013 @ 2:36 pm

  2. […] of my earliest blog posts, written two weeks after I started blogging, was entitled Anne Frank –What If.  This quote is from that blog […]

    Pingback by Breckinridge Long (America’s Eichmann???) who denied Otto Frank a visa to enter the USA | Scrapbookpages Blog — July 15, 2013 @ 9:01 am

  3. I enjoy reading about Anne Frank and her family.Not because of her story,but beacause of the things she went threw. When I read books like that or watch movies like that i put myself in there potistion and I understand. I feel bad for what happen to her but if she didn’t go threw it her book wouldn’t be published it would be menmorys to her!

    Comment by Nikira Hickey — June 3, 2013 @ 4:01 pm

  4. […] Eva Schloss was saved because, apparently, she did not get typhus at Auschwitz.  She was not transferred to Bergen-Belsen, like Anne Frank, because she was not sick.  She was saved from the typhus epidemic at Bergen-Belsen which killed Anne Frank.  I previously blogged about the fate of Anne Frank here. […]

    Pingback by How Anne Frank’s step sister fooled Dr. Death and survived Auschwitz « Scrapbookpages Blog — January 25, 2013 @ 11:41 am

  5. […] previously blogged here about how Anne Frank would have fared if her family had not gone into […]

    Pingback by Maryland students hear a talk by a survivor of the Bergen-Belsen exchange camp « Scrapbookpages Blog — November 1, 2012 @ 11:16 am

  6. This may sound rather fanciful: but if time travel was possible would you be tempted to travel back in time and ‘rescue’ Anne Frank, along with other people who were hiding for their lives? I’ve often wondered about this myself and wouldn’t hesitate to do this.

    Comment by Robert Douglas — January 7, 2012 @ 5:23 pm

    • Forget about time travel. Think about today, instead. Would you rescue Bernie Madoff? Madoff is pronounced “Made off” as in “Bernie made off with other people’s money.” Otto Frank and his brother had made off with other people’s money while they were in the banking business in Frnakfurt, Germany. They were caught stealing money from their banking customers, so they had to get out of town. Otto’s brother got a visa to come to America but Otto did not. America was severely limiting the number of Jews who could come here at that time. So Otto Frank left his family behind in Germany while he sneaked into The Netherlands. The Dutch had already set up a camp for illegal Jewish immigrants at Westerbork, but Otto did not get caught. A few months later, Otto brought his family over to join him. Food was rationed because it was war time. The people who helped the Frank family while they were hiding had to use fake ration books to buy food for them. This took food out of the mouths of the legal residents of The Netherlands and the Dutch people began to resent the Jews who had come to their country to hide. That’s why someone ratted them out. They were taken to Westerbork which had become a transit camp where all the Jews were taken before being sent out of the country.

      Food was also rationed in America during World War II. If I had known of a criminal who sneaked over the border to hide in America and was using fake ration coupons to take food away from Americans, I don’t think that I would have helped them.

      Comment by furtherglory — January 8, 2012 @ 7:25 am

  7. The mother was said to have passed away from hunger from not eating.

    Comment by T.Harding — December 3, 2010 @ 5:56 am

    • The mother may have stopped eating because she was too sick to eat. She was suffering from tuberculosis or maybe some other lung disease. If she had tuberculosis, she had it before she arrived in the camp.

      Comment by furtherglory — December 3, 2010 @ 9:48 am

    • the mother lost her mind at the end she was hording her food for her daughters even though they were shipped out to a different camp, the mother in her sate thought they were just lost and kept looking for them

      Comment by mark — June 8, 2013 @ 10:13 pm

  8. Your blogs are so interesting because you’ve read and traveled so much, and you are not overly pushing a certain point of view. The information about what the Franks would have experienced if they had not gone into hiding is new to me and very interesting. It has been my opinion that Otto Frank put his family in a lot of danger because of his own culpibility over his criminal banking practices and a desire to save his money and continue his businesses. The whole story is laid over with pure legend.

    Another thing against Otto Frank is that he laid in a hospital at Auschwitz with a minor complaint for 2 or 3 months while his daughters were being transported away from there to Bergen-Belson. He appears to me to be an self-centered opportunist of the first order.

    I wish you would talk more about that A.F. house diagram that is so clear and colorful. Just which attic did the Frank family live in, and where did the Dutch people (employees of Otto Frank) who stayed in that house live?

    I have read that it was impossible for them to have remained unseen considering the position of the attic relative to the neighboring houses, and for other reasons such as the noise they made.

    Can you write a Part II and tell us some more about this story? Thanks.

    Comment by sceptic — February 18, 2010 @ 5:49 am

    • The Frank family and the four other people that were in hiding with them did not live in an attic. They lived in an annex, which was called “the house behind.” The annex was a separate building behind “the Anne Frank house” which faces the street. The annex has an attic, which the people in hiding used to store food and to hang up their laundry. The annex was connected to the main house by a short hallway on the ground floor and by another hallway which connected Otto Frank’s office on the second floor with the second floor of the annex. (In American terms, the second floor would be called the third floor.)

      The Dutch employees did not live in the Anne Frank house nor in the annex. They went home at 5 p.m. to their own houses.

      Comment by furtherglory — February 18, 2010 @ 9:29 am

    • they lived in the building to the right on the green floors and up to that attic..the building to the left was used as office space , remember otto frank was part of 2 companies

      Comment by mark — June 8, 2013 @ 10:09 pm


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