Anneliesse Marie Frank was born on June 12, 1929, in Frankfurt-am-Main, Germany, the second daughter of Otto and Edith Frank. Anne and her older sister Margot (born February 6, 1926), were born in the post-World War 1 era and they, along with their parents, were German citizens under the laws of the Weimar Republic (1918-33). Otto, Anne’s father, was born in 1889, in Frankfurt, Germany-where his family could trace their roots back to the 17th century. Edith Holl\”nder Frank, Anne’s mother, was born in Aachen in 1900.
Against the background of the Wilhelmian Empire, they grew up in an era of fierce European nationalism and rivalry along with extraordinary cultural and technological achievements. In 1914, their lives, like millions of others throughout the world, were dramatically changed when World War I began. Otto Frank and one of his brothers were among the men who enlisted in the German Army to serve the German \”fatherland. \” Adolf Hitler also volunteered, serving in the List infantry of the Bavarian Army as a dispatch runner on the front for more than four years.
The effects of World War I would transform the lives of both Otto Frank and Adolf Hitler. It would also transform the world around them. Amidst the turmoil of Weimar Germany, Otto and Edith Frank married in 1925, and Otto pursued an industrial career. In 1929, the year Anne Frank was born, the stock market in New York crashed, and an already unstable Weimar government was further undermined by economic depression, unemployment, and inflation.
In 1933 the Nazis came into power. The Franks decided to move to Amsterdam in the Netherlands, which had been neutral during World War I. The Netherlands had the reputation of being a safe haven for religious minorities. Otto Frank left for Amsterdam first. He established a branch of his uncle’s company called the \”Opekta Works. \” The company produced pectin, an ingredient used in jam. This is a quote from her diary in 1942 \”I lived in Frankfurt until I was four.
Because we’re Jewish, my father immigrated to Holland in 1933 . . . My mother, Edith Hollander Frank went with him to Holland in September, while Margot and I were sent to Aachen to stay with our grandmother. Margot went to Holland in December, and I followed in February, when I was plunked down on the table as a birthday present for Margot. \”The Nazis appointed Arthur Seyss-Inquart as Reich Commissioner for the Occupied Dutch Territories.
He was an Austrian Nazi who had demonstrated his brutal anti-Semitic feelings in the early Austrian union with Germany. At first Anne and Margot were still able to socialize with their friends and attend school. However, soon the Nazi administration in the Netherlands, along with the Dutch civil service, began issuing and carrying out anti-Jewish decrees. This included stripping Jews of their rights as citizens and human beings and isolating them from their fellow Dutch citizens.
Otto Frank, aware of what the Nazi decrees had done to Jews in Germany, anticipated as best he could what was going to happen to by turning his business over to his non-Jewish colleagues. ? Anne had to leave her Montessori School to attend the Jewish Lyceum. \” Our freedom was severely restricted by a series of anti-Jewish decrees; Jews were required to wear a yellow star; Jews were forbidden to use streetcars; Jews were forbidden to ride in cars, even their own; Jews were required to do their shopping between 3 and 5 p. m.
Jews were required to frequent only Jewish owned barbershops and beauty parlors; Jews were forbidden to be out on the streets between 8 pm and 6 am . . . Jews were forbidden to visit Christians in their homes; Jews were required to attend Jewish schools. You couldn’t do this and you couldn’t do that. But life went on. \” (June 29, 1942)The first brutal round up (razzia) of 400 Jewish men and boys in Holland occurred on February 25, 1941. It was in response to earlier riots by Dutch Nazis and a counter attack by a small Jewish resistance group.
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