In a Remarkable and Unpublished Archive Spanning Decades, Otto Frank Fights to Defend Anne’s Legacy and Message, and Ensure That Her Death - and Those of Millions Like Her - Would Mean Something to Future Generations
76 letters of Frank show him building and maintaining the Anne Frank Foundation, reflecting back on Anne and captivity, defending Israel, and fighting those who deny the Holocaust and the authenticity of the Diary itself
He states the motto in the Annex: “Work and Hope”
Explore & Discover
- The letters - There are 76 letters and notes of Otto Frank in the archive, including post-cards and a couple of stamps that Frank sent
- The letters span 2 decades - The letters begin in the late 1950s and continue through nearly until Frank's death
- Envelopes - Most of the envelopes, with notations by Tenenbaum, are present
- Yiddish - Tenenbaum was sending to Frank articles in Yiddish about Anne, which Frank aimed to add to the Foundation. A couple after Frank's death, remain
76 letters of Frank show him building and maintaining the Anne Frank Foundation, reflecting back on Anne and captivity, defending Israel, and fighting those who deny the Holocaust and the authenticity of the Diary itself
He states the motto in the Annex: “Work and Hope”
“Anne really has many, many friends in the world.”; “I am sure that she will he remembered…”
“Anne was able even in the darkest hours to spread hope and optimism in our small community.”
“[Simon Wiesenthal] is doing a great work and always living in danger, having many enemies. My work is quite different, though it included also the idea ‘not to forget’.”
“It is necessary to spread Anne’s message for peace and understanding and to teach the younger generation whereto prejudice and discrimination are leading.”
“We have to do our best to influence people in the good direction – but we cannot change the world. In our hiding place we used to say: ‘fac et spera’, work and hope!”
The Legacy of Anne Frank
The story of Anne Frank and her family and friends in the Annex is too well-known to justify repeating here. What is less well-known, however, is the important work her father did after the Holocaust to preserve Anne’s memory, and views of life, into the future.
After Auschwitz is liberated, Anne’s father, Otto Frank, returned to Amsterdam. On his way back, he heard of his wife Edith’s death. Back in Amsterdam, he did everything he could to find out what had happened to his two daughters Anne and Margot. He placed an advertisement in the newspaper and talked to survivors who were returning from the camps. He wrote to his sister, “I just can’t think how I would go on without children having lost Edith already…It’s too upsetting for me to write about them. Naturally I still hope, and wait, wait, wait.
On July 18, 1945, he met two sisters who had been in Bergen-Belsen with Anne and Margot, and they told him that his daughters were dead. The next day Otto sent a postcard with this melancholy news to his family. Later he sent a letter to his brother Robert, asking him to forward it to their mother in Switzerland. As Otto wrote, “Again and again small groups of survivors returned from different concentration camps and I tried to hear something from them about Margot and Anne. I found two sisters who had been with Margot and Anne in Bergen-Belsen. They told me about the final sufferings and the death of my children.” After Otto told Miep Gies, who had hidden them in the Annex, about his daughters, she gave him Anne’s Diary papers. For all this time, she had been keeping them in the drawer of her desk, with the hope of returning them to Anne. She said to Otto as she handed him the Dairy: “Here is your daughter Anne’s legacy to you.” Miep herself stated, “I didn’t hand [Otto] Anne’s writings immediately on his arrival, as I still hoped, even though there was only a slight chance, that Anne would come back…When we heard in July 1945, that Anne, like Margot, had died in Bergen-Belsen, I gave what pieces of Anne’s writing I had back to Mr. Frank. I gave him everything I had stored in the desk drawer in my office.” . In August 1945, Otto wrote friends, “I know you were informed by Robert of all that happened and I am convinced you share the great loss I had to undergo. No use enlarging upon it, we all have to bear our fate. I try hard to stay firm…”
Otto first mentioned the Diary to his mother in a letter dated August 22, 1945: “As luck would have it, Miep was able to rescue a photo album and Anne’s Diary. I didn’t have the strength to read it.” Though a month later, Otto had begun reading it, writing to his mother: “I cannot put down Anne’s Diary. It is so unbelievably engrossing…” At the end of the 1960s, Otto recalled how he felt when he started to read the Diary that first time: “I began to read slowly, only a few pages each day, more would have been impossible, as I was overwhelmed by painful memories. For me, it was a revelation. There was revealed a completely different Anne to the child that I had lost. I had no idea of the depths of her thoughts and feelings.” In her Diary, Otto read about the plan Anne had to publish a book after the war about the time she spent in the Annex.
The edited and compiled manuscript of Anne’s Diary, typed by Otto Frank’s hand, found its way via a number of different contacts to the Dutch historians Jan Romein and his wife Annie. Annie attempted to find a publisher, but her attempts were unsuccessful. This led Jan to write a short article about the Diary, and the article appeared on April 3, 1946 on the front page of the Dutch newspaper “Het Parool”. Publishers then expressed interest. The Diary of Anne Frank was first published on June 25, 1947. Otto later said of this moment, “If she had been here, Anne would have been so proud.” In a 1947 letter to his cousin Dora in America, he explained that Anne’s Diary had been published and had surprised everyone with being hugely successful, with four public readings. He also noted that it might be translated into English, which it soon was.
Since it was first published, Anne Frank’s Diary has become the most powerful memoir of the Holocaust. Its message of courage and hope in the face of adversity have very broad appeal, and it is taught in many schools as part of the curriculum. It has been translated into 70 languages in over 60 countries, with over 30 million copies sold to date. The Anne Frank House at Prinsengracht 263 was established in 1957 with the aim of opening it to the public, but also to promote Anne’s ideals, a goal reflected in its charter from its very inception. It opened as a museum in 1960, and over a million people visit it each year. Otto was always interested in youth, and the International Youth Center at Anne Frank House opened on May 3, 1961. In 1963, having moved to Switzerland, Otto established the Anne Frank Foundation, for the purposes of promoting projects in the spirit of the message of Anne Frank, to contribute to better understanding between societies and religions, to play a part in encouraging peace between people and nationalities, and to promote international contact among young people. Otto designated the Foundation as his heir, and after his death in 1980 it became owner and administrator of all of Anne’s writings, and other documents, objects, photos and materials.
Shea Tenenbaum was a Yiddish author, essayist and poet who was born in Poland and immigrated to the United States in 1934. He wrote books and contributed to such Yiddish newspapers and publications as the Jewish Daily Forward in New York. He was moved to his core by the Anne Frank story, and in 1958 published a book entitled “Anne Frank, you who have drunk from God’s hand, and other essays, stories, miniatures.” From then on he dedicated himself to the project of memorializing Anne. As this book was on the press, in early in 1958, he opened a correspondence with Otto Frank, collecting and regularly sending him clippings from whatever publications he could find relating to Anne, a practice he continued for more than two decades. Over the course of those 21 years, he sent Otto Frank correspondence resulting in 76 letters, virtually all relating to Anne, her message, the clippings, the Anne Frank Foundation, important Jewish causes such as Israel, and world affairs. They are all in English, as Otto could write and speak English, Russian, French, Dutch, and German. This archive has been in a private collection for decades and has not been published.
Brief Excerpts from the voluminous correspondence, showing Otto’s acts and feelings during the years he administered Anne’s legacy, established the House and Museum, and fought to carry out their purposes
As Otto Frank gets to know Tenenbaum through the years, the letters gain in interest. In the beginning, Frank looks to build the Foundation and the Anne Frank House.
4-21-1958 – The play, “The Diary of Anne Frank”: He is meeting with the Albert Hackett, who wrote the script for the play, “The Diary of Anne Frank”.
4-7-1958 – The play, “The Diary of Anne Frank”: He informs Tenenbaum that the play will be produced in Israel.
8-18-1958 – The Anne Frank House: Everything Tenenbaum is sending “will get its place in the Anne Frank House, as soon as it will be ready.”
10-23-1958 – Tenenbaum’s book on Anne: About Tenenbaum’s new book on Anne, which was in Yiddish, he writes, “I received the nice book you did send to me. Though I cannot read it I understand that you started it with Anne and as soon as I have the occasion I shall ask somebody to translate it to me…I wish you much success with this book…” Frank asks for additional copies and that some be sent in his name to specific recipients.
11-19-1958 – Tenenbaum’s book on Anne Frank: About the favorable reviews Tenenbaum’s book on Anne had generated, he writes, “I am glad that you received so many appraisals and I am wishing you further such success.”
8-19-1959 – Anne Frank Foundation: The clippings relating to Anne “will be sorted out later and kept in the files of the Anne Frank Foundation.”
9-10-1959 – Anne’s diary: By the way do you know that there are several Yiddish editions of the Diary. One has been published in Argentina, one in Israel, and one in Rumania.”
2-2-1961 – Anne Frank Foundation: “My wife and I are well and we are concentrated on our work for the Anne Frank Foundation and the organization of the International Youth Center in Amsterdam at 263 Prinsengracht. All your clippings you sent me up to now, I handed over to them, and those relating to Anne will be kept in their files.”
12-13-1961 – The epic poem Babi Yar by Yevgeny Yevtushenko, mentioning Anne: In 1961, renowned Russian poet Yevgeny Yevtushenko published his epic poet Babi Yar in a leading Russian periodical to protest the Soviet Union’s refusal to recognize Babi Yar, where 33,000 Jews were killed, as a memorial site. Yevtushenko mentioned Anne in the poem. “Thank you for sending me clippings whenever you find anything relating to Anne. I am especially interested in the one re the poet Yevtushenko. I am every month in Amsterdam to help organize the Anne Frank International Youth Center.”
1-15-1962 – Anne Frank Foundation: “…I cannot give you a contribution this time. I have to concentrate all my means on two purposes: the Anne Frank Foundation, Amsterdam, and the Margot and Anne Frank Foundation in Israel. At the time I received royalties from play and film, I was able to support all sorts of projects, but this is not the case any more.”
“I cannot continue to carry the burden principally alone and we have to find a way to be able to go on. I never want to accost Jewish people for this purpose, as I think they should give as much as possible for Israel, therefore I have to choose other sources.”
3-4-1963 – Struggling to preserve the Anne Frank Foundation. “It was very kind of you to…draw my attention to the performance of the ‘Diary’ in Belgium. I did not know about it and I am glad that there is still a certain interest in the production. My main work concentrates on the Anne Frank Foundation in Amsterdam, and as you have troubles in financing your book, I have them in financing the Foundation. I cannot continue to carry the burden principally alone and we have to find a way to be able to go on. I never want to accost Jewish people for this purpose, as I think they should give as much as possible for Israel, therefore I have to choose other sources.”
5-15-1963 – The Anne Frank Gold Medal, and his opposition to monetizing Anne: “…You mention the Anne Frank golden medal. I know of the existence of this medal, and I did everything to prevent it being made, because it is only a matter of making money! Therefore I dissuade people to buy it. The people who manufacture it are in Frankfurt, not in Israel…Now you know my opinion of it.”
6-21-1963 – On people misunderstanding Anne’s work: “It seems that this man has no idea of the true reactions to Anne’s Diary…Here too I meet sometimes misunderstandings – or bad will.”
10-6-1963 – The play, “The Diary of Anne Frank”: “It was extremely thoughtful of you to send the postcard you received from the Anne Frank House and tell me about the reaction of your friend. The news that the play would be produced in Sweden again was new to me.”
“Of course we would like to know who betrayed us… The news of the assassination of President Kennedy overshadowed everything. All of us are terrified, it is a detesting crime. We looked up to Kennedy, we admired him, his ideals, his humanity. Again it comes true that those who create hatred are the real culprits”
11-28-1963 – One the apprehension of the man who arrested those in the Annex, and the assassination of President Kennedy. “Personally we had a lot of excitement too about the news of the arrest of [Karl] Silberbauer, the man who arrested us. The press made use of this fact to arise sensation. What does it help us? Of course we would like to know who betrayed us, but I do not believe that the man can be convicted….The news of the assassination of President Kennedy overshadowed everything. All of us are terrified, it is a detesting crime. We looked up to Kennedy, we admired him, his ideals, his humanity. Again it comes true that those who create hatred are the real culprits!.”
8-11-1964 – On receiving a copy of ‘The Babi Yar Sonata’ relating to Anne, from the composer; and the display of letters of Anne at the New York World’s Fair. Vladimir Heifetz, cousin of Jascha Heifetz, sends copy of his cantata based on Yevtushenko poem, ‘Babi Yar’, mentioning Anne. “I received the composition of Mr. Heifetz and thanked him for sending it. In fact it was your initiative that I got it. I took it to Amsterdam. Then you were so attentive to send the article of the Journal American and others. All this is interesting for me, and you are looking out always for articles concerning Anne. It really is moving and I want to thank you very much. As to the letter in the Israeli pavilion…I had another letter from a friend who saw it and told me that quite a number of people stood to look at it…Last week we attended a youth conference in Amsterdam, to which young people from 10 different countries attended. It was very interesting to hear them discuss the problem of ‘emancipation’.”
12-10-1964 – Tenenbaum’s admiration of Anne: “I know how deeply you admire Anne and her Diary and that you are using every opportunity to write about her. My work is concentrated on the activities of the Amsterdam Youth Center, about which I am going to send you more details.”
“Just as all Jewish organizations protested in the matter of the law in Germany which would give amnesty to the Nazi murderers, now similar protests should be organized in favor of Israel”
1-23-1965 – Otto forced himself to give an interview with reminiscences of Anne to honor her memory; also on Nazism, and Israel. “I understand that it was exciting for you to listen to the T.V. and see me after we are in correspondence for years. It goes without saying that I did not like to give the interview but I thought I had the duty to do so. Will it help? The biggest concern to all of us is…the situation in Israel and the threat of the Arab countries. The Western world is not acting firmly enough and this is their weakness. Just as all Jewish organizations protested in the matter of the law in Germany which would give amnesty to the Nazi murderers, now similar protests should be organized in favor of Israel.”
3-31-1965 – Anne’s letter on display at the World’s Fair. “As to the letter exhibited at the World’s Fair, this is Anne’s draft for the letter published in her Diary on May 5, 1944, thus the letter she wrote to me. It is not an unknown letter.”
“The author attributes the existence of concentration camps to war but as we all know the persecution of Jews and others by the Nazis took already place long before the war.”
7-14-1965 – Nazi persecution predated the war and cannot be attributed to it. “It was very thoughtful to send me the book ‘Child of Our Time’, as Anne’s name is mentioned on the cover. The book itself is very moving and sad and shows the cruelty of men. One point which struck me is that the author attributes the existence of concentration camps to war but as we all know the persecution of Jews and others by the Nazis took already place long before the war. You ask about the Yiddish editions of the Diary. I have two Argentine editions, an additional printed in Israel, and two printed in Romania.”
2-6-1966 – Otto encloses a brochure for the Anne Frank Foundation; also discusses the Anne Frank school in Budapest, the extinction of the Yiddish language, and his trip to Israel. “That there is an Anne Frank school in Budapest was new to me…I know how difficult it is to propagate Yiddish literature and to try to help the language to survive. I am afraid that in the course of time Yiddish will belong to history as the younger generation adapts and is speaking the language of their new home lands…I send you a brochure about the Anne Frank Foundation [which is present]. As you know, I am working for the Foundation daily and I am going to Amsterdam nearly every month. My wife and I are planning to go to Israel in March and are looking forward to this trip with great expectations.”
“I even cannot bear to see so many Vietnamese killed. For me these are fathers and sons, just as every other father and son…”
7-20-1966 – Otto hates war, and with his experience is saddened by the killing: “Really, you always find ‘Anne’ mentioned in different articles and books. It’s amazing!…Generally you do not mention politics, but now you did. We are all shocked about the war in Vietnam and do not see any solution. I even cannot bear to see so many Vietnamese killed. For me these are fathers and sons, just as every other father and son…We read about the protests and we read about those who strengthen Pres. Johnson’s politic. It is a sad affair.”
11-28-1966 – The play, “The Diary of Anne Frank”: “The play is produced in Russia not only in Yiddish but also in Russian. I received a letter from a lady…telling me about the performance of the Leningrad group…”
1-26-1967 – On the war crimes trial of Wilhelm Harster, who deported over 80,000 Jews to their deaths, including Anne and Otto, when he led German security police during the German occupation of the Netherlands. “At present I have a lot of harassment through the trial at Munich. Journalists always make things sensational. I never intended to go to Munich personally, but the press wrote in this direction and so every paper wanted to interview me. I declined of course.”
2-28-1967 – The play, “The Diary of Anne Frank”, reaches television. “I was very glad to receive the little volume written by Moshe Taif containing one poem about Anne. You really always find something special…You surely have heard about a new TV film based on the Diary directed by [David] Susskind. If you have seen it, I would like to hear your reaction…I have been asked by the organizers of the Pavilion of Judaism at the World Exhibition in Montreal to send them material about Anne which will be shown there.”
5-24-1967 – Otto praises Simon Wiesenthal, and days before the Six Day War, frets over Israel’s safety. “I never met Mr. Wiesenthal personally, but I know much about his important work. In Holland a collection was held to raise funds for his work and the result was in excess of $60,000. His address is Simon Wiesenthal, Rudolfsplatz 7, Vienna, Austria. As you can imagine, we are very worried of the situation of Israel and the behavior of its so-called friends…Only a combined action of USA, Great Britain and France can prevent a war…I have to await events with courage, this time I cannot say – with optimism.”
9-1-1967 – On the Six Day War and Israel: We were “in Israel and very much impressed by the optimism and energy of the Israelis. Everything is done to show the new Arabs of the country the progress of the country and one does not feel any tension…Anyhow we are still far from peace, but I hope that time is working for Israel. I am very angry and exicted about…the weakness of America and Great Britain towards the Arabs.I just can’t understand why the lies of Israeli ‘aggression’ are not counteracted…I wonder when the Susskind film will be released in USA. It has been shown already in London.”
“The Arabs learned from Hitler that repeating lies is rewarding. People believe them at last! And the countries who know the truth are too cowardly to repulse the lies with the exception of Israel itself.”
11-17-1967 – On Hitler’s lies, and not learning the lessons of World War II. “As you can imagine we are following all the news of the Middle East and Vietnam…We are living in a crazy world. It seems that World War II was not enough as a lesson. It is evident that it is Russia that is inciting the Arabs to start the war and it is Russia that is not interested in peace in this part of the world…The Arabs learned from Hitler that repeating lies is rewarding. People believe them at last! And the countries who know the truth are too cowardly to repulse the lies with the exception of Israel itself.”
1-14-1968 – On the film and play, “The Diary of Anne Frank”, and actresses who played Anne. “Your critique about the TV is very valuable for me and you described every role in detail. I never liked the film, reading all about it and hearing critics and knew, that Milly Perkins was not the right Anne (I met her). I am glad that the girl now portrayed Anne so well.”
“I want to tell you that she was very much interested in our family history and felt very close to all its members. You are right that Anne was able even in the darkest hours to spread hope and optimism in our small community.”
1-15-1968 – Otto writes the author of a poem about Anne, discussing Anne in personal terms. “You can imagine that I read it with greatest interest and read it again and again… I could feel some of the meaning of it expressed with an unusual sensibility, coming from the depth of your heart. As you connect Anne so strongly with her ancestors, I want to tell you that she was very much interested in our family history and felt very close to all its members. You are right that Anne was able even in the darkest hours to spread hope and optimism in our small community. Your poem moved me very much as it expresses your love and deep understanding for Anne and her fate.” This is his unsigned, retained copy, and not addressed to Tenenbaum.
4-8-1968 – On the death of fellow peace advocate, Martin Luther King, Jr.: “…now we had the great shock of the terrible murder of M.L. King. We are following the news all the time and only hope that the memory of this great man will lead to the development of a better life for the Negroes. The riots now are terrible, again destruction, pillage, murder! Where will it lead to?”
“We all knew the name…In spite of all the terrible events in the world we must not give up to work for peace and understanding.”
6-29-1968 – On not giving up hope in working for peace, and mentioning the Nazi who arrested the Frank family: “I never had contact with him [Simon Wiesenthal]. If he would have addressed Miep in Amsterdam, his search for the name of Silberbauer would not have been necessary. We all knew the name…In spite of all the terrible events in the world we must not give up to work for peace and understanding. I do not believe in results of the peace talks about Vietnam…For us the question of peace in Israel is near to our heart.”
10-9-1969 – Otto is happy with the work of the Anne Frank Foundation: “Now we are at work again. The Anne Frank Foundation keeps me busy and I am quite satisfied with the progress of the work there.”
2-19-1970 – On his book, “A Tribute to Anne Frank”, his avoiding interviews about Anne because they make him upset, and Tenenbaum’s dogged search for all things Anne: “ I have been…working on a new book, which will be published in Holland at the beginning of April. The title will be ‘Response to Anne Frank’, and it will contain reactions to the ‘Diary’ of every kind. In fact it was not my idea nor am I really doing the work, but I had to sort out material and have to control everything. It is hoped that Doubleday will decide to publish the American edition. It will be a unique book – a book about a book and will contain about 120 illustrations…Thanks for…all that you are doing…you asked for the text of the ‘Legacy of Anne Frank’ which I received today. It is moving how much you exert yourself in collecting everything about Anne. I also received the TV program. Many thanks for everything. I can imagine seeing the ‘Legacy’ made a deep impression on you. Again and again I am asked to speak on TV. But I do it only exceptionally. It is too much of a strain for me and I get very excited when I do it…My wife and I are going to Israel. We simply want to show our sympathy with the people and the country.”
“Our great distress is the situation in Israel respecting the danger of the country’s existence. The world has not learned anything”
6-12-1970 – On his book, “A Tribute to Anne Frank” and fears for Israel: “You asked about the new book about Anne. It came out April 4 as the ‘book of the month’ and sold 40,000 copies…Doubleday agreed to publish an American edition in fall. So you will get it… Arthur Goldberg visited the Anne Frank House some years ago and the Anne Frank Foundation kept up contact with him… Our great distress is the situation in Israel respecting the danger of the country’s existence. The world has not learned anything…We can only hope that USA will take a firm stand now as Kennedy did in Cuba.”
1-28-1971 – On his book, “A Tribute to Anne Frank”, and the Anne Frank Foundation: “I am 81 and refrain from my work a little. There is still enough to do with the Anne Frank Foundation and some urgent correspondence with people who have questions about Anne’s Diary or wants to have advice…I do not know if Doubleday started now to propagate the book ‘A Tribute to Anne Frank’. I received already copies of it… it is a shame that there are a number of misprints and errors in it. As a whole it is a very interesting book, of pedagogical and psychological value.”
7-8-1971 – On music compositions in honor of Anne, one by Peter Nero naming Anne as lyricist: “Dr. Morawetz, with whom I was in correspondence when his composition was performed did not write to me that he received a prize for it… Peter Nero also composed a work based on the Diary. It is for me a certain satisfaction that artists are still inspired by Anne’s writings. In London publishers invited me to present me with a ‘golden Pan’ in memoriam for Anne, as they published now 1 million pocket books.” In 1971 Morawetz won an award for “the most important contribution to Jewish culture and music in Canada”. Nero composed “The Diary of a Young Girl (A Pops Cantata for Symphony Orchestra”. He listed the lyricist as Anne Frank.
“I know how deeply you understand her. I am sure that she will he remembered for many years to come and hope that the work in the Anne Frank House will have fruitful effects on all the students, who after having followed the lectures will work against discrimination and prejudice.”
11-17-1971 – Otto says Anne will be remembered: “In all you are writing your great love and admiration for Anne is shown. I know how deeply you understand her. I am sure that she will he remembered for many years to come and hope that the work in the Anne Frank House will have fruitful effects on all the students, who after having followed the lectures will work against discrimination and prejudice.”
3-10-1972 – The play, “The Diary of Anne Frank” is a weapon against anti-semitism: “Most of the time young people who are playing a role in the dramatization are emotionally involved and realize that they are playing a true story. This is understandable in a Jewish school, but it is the same in non-Jewish productions and this is very important as it works against anti-Semitism.”
3-13-1972 – Otto is “sad” about the evils in the world: “In Amsterdam work is going on and our courses about discrimination and prejudice are in demand. We get more groups who want to follow them than we can accept. As a consequence, we are always short of funds, though a part of our expenses are subsidized…. We have very mild weather and flowers are starting blooming. When the sun is shining one hardly can think of all the evil in the world! If one does anyhow, one must be sad about all the crimes, the wars, the pollution, etc.”
10-21-1972 – On a painting of Anne, and discrimination against Jews in Russia; The passage of Anne about Israel: “It is a very interesting painting and very impressive. It is giving me a certain satisfaction that the artist took Anne as one of the symbols he used. Lately the passage in which Anne wrote over the mission of the Jews has been used…for a musical work… We still have many visitors at present and are very busy. During the weekend we shall attend a meeting between Jews, Christians and Muslims (Arabs) about peace in the Middle East. In Amsterdam they shall have an exhibition in December against ‘discrimination of the Jews in Russia’.”
6-30-1973 – On his own fame and dislike for the spotlight: “It is not at all necessary to have my picture. There are many people who take a snapshot of me when I am in the Anne Frank House. Generally I tell the staff never to mention my name, so that people do not know that I am there. Very seldom I am recognized in going around.”
10-2-1973 – He is surprised how much interest is still being shown in Anne: “it is astonishing how many clippings about Anne you are still finding. Reactions to her Diary continue to come in, of course not as many as at the time of the play or film, but enough for me, as I really cannot sit at my desk the whole day to answer the letters I receive. Thank you for all your interest in Anne, which has not diminished.”
“In Frankfurt there is a plaque on the house where we last lived (Ganghoferstr. 24) dedicated from the youth groups of the city and engraved with the words, ‘Her death, our responsibility’.”
2-6-1974 – On the birth of Anne Frank: “In Frankfurt there is a plaque on the house where we last lived (Ganghoferstr. 24) dedicated from the youth groups of the city and engraved with the words, ‘Her death, our responsibility’. It is not the house Anne was born. She was born in hospital.”
4-26-1974 – Otto is excited upon learning that a quotation from Anne has been included in a Passover Haggadah for the first time: In 1974 the New Union Haggadah was published by the Central Conference of American Rabbis. This was the first Haggadah to incorporate Holocaust remembrance, and it did so by quoting Anne Frank. Tenenbaum informed Otto, who responded. “It is really great that a quotation from Anne’s Diary has been reprinted in the new Haggadah by the Central Conference of American Rabbis. I…would be very grateful to you if you could buy it for me…Thank you very much in advance for helping me to get the Haggadah.”
10-14-1974 – Most visitors to the Anne Frank House are Americans: “Being ill and weak you should now think only about your health and do not worry about ‘Anne material’. In the course of time you sent so much that it is enough for some time. By the way there were about 170,000 American visitors each year out of 230,000. Most visitors are Americans.”
12-7-1974 – People around the world still maintain a strong interest in Anne: “There is always such interest in Anne in many countries. Last month two TV teams came to see me, one from Japan and one from the Netherlands. Both are preparing films about Anne and made many photos here and in Amsterdam. They also interviewed me. Being now 85 all this makes me tired and I hardly can attend to all the correspondence I still receive… As you can imagine now our thoughts are with Israel and we are wishing for peace of this beloved country as well for the world.”
4-21-1975 – Even as he gets older, Otto feels obligated to respond to letters of Anne, especially with young people, and he ruminates (from painful experience) about people not being able to predict future developments: “I still get letters from readers of the Diary and so I cannot stop my correspondence. It is a task for me and important to answer letters written by young people…As you can imagine we are worried about Israel and the role the USA are playing at the present… the interests of industry and oil play a big role and frequently people do not realize the problems of the future.”
8-1-1975 – Otto is moved by the realization that Anne has untold millions of friends through her Diary; he is pleased with the first audio book of the Diary; and people try to get closer to Anne through Otto: Noted American actress Julie Harris did an audio book for Anne’s Diary, the first of its kind. “At this time of year we get many visitors and though I like people and contacts it makes me tired anyhow. Yesterday a nun from Cincinnati came after she had written us, that her only aim to come to Europe respectively Switzerland was to get acquainted with me. She only stays one week. Then there were people from Israel, USA, Holland, and England… Your description of the part Miss Harris read from Anne’s Diary was very moving. Anne really has many, many friends in the world.”
“Similar accusations were published in Germany and Austria and I started a lawsuit against some of them….The worst is a pamphlet ‘Did 6 millions really die?’”
6-17-1976 – Otto defends the authenticity of the Diary, and attacks Holocaust denial slanderers: Jamil Baroody, who represented Saudi Arabia in the U.N., claimed that six million Jews were not done in by the Nazis, that there were no death camps, and that Anne Frank did not write that diary. This was just too much for Otto: “I am following up the matter of Baroody and am in contact with the Dutch government trying to influence it to give an answer to the slanderous speech he made. I furnished all the necessary documents proving the originality of the Diary. Similar accusations were published in Germany and Austria and I started a lawsuit against some of them….The worst is a pamphlet ‘Did 6 millions really die?’…I am just as sad as you are about the situation of and in Israel. We all are feeling very close to the country and are disturbed… I still can see no solution of the different problems and the war in the Lebanon does not make peace easier. Anyhow, we must keep up our hope, that finally peace must come.”
10-27-1976 – Otto feels a personal responsibility to fight neo-Nazis, and does so: “You are right, the neo-Nazis are terrible people. There are rather small groups in different countries and in their newspapers especially bulletins they propagate incredible lies… I sued one of these men and am included in a second lawsuit against another of these idiots. They are dangerous. Many friends told me ‘Don’t bother’, it is not worthwhile. But I think one has the duty to act against them.”
3-22-1977 – Otto is emotional at the dedication of a statue to Anne in Amsterdam, and compares his work to Nazi-hunter Simon Wiesenthal: “I was there [in Amsterdam] last week as a small statue of Anne has been unveiled, placed next to the Westerkerk. Of course it was emotional to be present at this occasion and to listen to all the speeches, but on the other hand it gave me satisfaction that Anne is honored in that way by the city and the citizens. Mr. Wiesenthal did send me the documentation… He is doing a great work and always living in danger, having many enemies. My work is quite different, though it included also the idea ‘not to forget’ but at the same time trying to influence people of many countries to work for better understanding in the world.”
6-4-1977 – Otto fights Holocaust deniers, even taking the matter to the U.N.; and artists continue to draw pictures of Anne: “Besides there was a small photo of the painting Gavriel Glickman made, shown in a New York gallery. I understand that you went to see the picture and that you were struck by it. It is exceptional and very sad. I am in loose contact with Mr. [Ernst] Neistwestny who also is very highly impressed by Anne’s Diary and made a drawing which I possess. There are many others too and the Anne Frank Foundation just received a triptichon from a Yugoslavian painter which I have not seen you up to now but which seems to be very exceptional too. The expression ‘From out the depths’ is certainly good… I have a lot of work and new strength to fight against the new Nazis calling the book a hoax and am just coming from Frankfurt where I had a meeting with the lawyer in a lawsuit against one of these fellows. The affair Baroody I had taken up with the Dutch government, who got in touch with the English representative of the Security Council and who told Baroody that he was wrong and the Diary original. To my idea this was not enough, It ought to have said at a meeting of the Security Council, but what can I do? I must be satisfied that Baroody was told the truth.”
8-13-1977 – On the desecration of Holocaust memorials, one depicting Anne: Muralist Bernard Zackheim created a monument depicting martyrs of Nazism, and one bearing the title, “Anne Frank’s Ark.” These were attacked. “I was shocked to hear about the desecration of the Zackheim monument…No one except you informed me of the attack on it…I was asked if it could be bought by the Anne Frank Foundation, but this is not possible as they have not enough funds….Where should I put the many pieces of art about Anne that exist? I have no room in my house, and only keep photos for documentation. Did you ever see the engraving made by Chagall of Anne?”
“These Nazis are exciting anyway and have to be repulsed. I have two lawsuits in Germany running, they all take a long time to be handled.”
11-9-1977 – Fighting Today’s Nazis: “Here I have also consultations with a lawyer trying to sue the author of ‘Did 6 millions really die’ in which the Diary is called a hoax. As a whole I get many positive reactions to the Diary, but these Nazis are exciting anyway and have to be repulsed. I have two lawsuits in Germany running, they all take a long time to be handled.”
3-7-1978 – Otto is shocked at the neo-Nazi movement: “The Vatican is not strongly against Israel, of course the Pope is cautious in his statements, but there are quite a number of high personalities ‘pro’. We are shocked about the Nazi movement everywhere and read that in Chicago they are even allowed to walk around in uniforms. In Switzerland they do not play a role.”
“We have to do our best to influence people in the good direction – but we cannot change the world. In our hiding place we used to say: ‘fac et spera’, work and hope!”
7-5-1978 – The motto in the Annex was “Work and Hope”: “I got the wonderful book of the Warsaw Ghetto Organization and I thank you again for your kindness…We have to do our best to influence people in the good direction – but we cannot change the world. In our hiding place we used to say: ‘fac et spera’, work and hope!”
10-4-1978 – On Germany issuing a stamp with Anne on the face: “We still have a lot of correspondence and besides I am suing two Nazis who called the Diary a falsification. This all is very nasty. On the other hand, there are lots of positive reactions, for example the big exhibition about Anne and the Diary in Japan. In five days there were 48,000 visitors. I also got the news that the German post office is bringing out a stamp with the picture of Anne next year commemorating her 50th anniversary.”
“It is necessary to spread Anne’s message for peace and understanding and to teach the younger generation whereto prejudice and discrimination are leading”
1-19-1979 – On Anne’s message of peace and understanding, and the dangers of prejudice and discrimination; and the newest version of the play, “The Diary of Anne Frank”: “I heard from several friends who visited the performance that the public was deeply impressed and I know that the theater is sold out right from the beginning for two weeks. So I hope that the play will continue for some time and it may be that it will be taken to Broadway. It is necessary to spread Anne’s message for peace and understanding and to teach the younger generation whereto prejudice and discrimination are leading…The Anne Frank Foundation is preparing a special exhibition to be opened on June 12th, Anne’s 50th birthday by the Queen [Queen Juliana].”
3-12-1979 – Living with Anne in mind: “I do not know how much I can appreciate your endeavor to influence Mr. Bardach to leave in his well a bigger amount to the Anne Frank Foundation. You really are living in your spirit all the time with Anne and the institution carrying her name.”
6-20-1979 – The final letter: Otto became emotional showing the Queen around the Anne Frank House; and because of age he must stop corresponding after 21 years: “Having been 90 years old and Anne would be 50, I had a tremendous amount of mail, more than 350 letters, cards or telegrams. I do not know where to start work! I was in Amsterdam on June 12th and met the Queen…I had to lead her through the House and you can imagine that it was very emotional…In consequence of the Holocaust film I get naturally many reactions from different countries…Now I must tell you that I am not able anymore to handle all the clippings and even if I regret it immensely, I must ask you not to continue to send them.” Otto died in 1980, aged 91.
Included is a New Year’s card with a handwritten note from Otto to Tenenbaum, a few mounted clippings of the type Tenenbaum sent to Frank all those years, and a card from Mrs. Frank thanking Tenenbaum for his sympathy upon Otto’s death. There is also a letter from Walter Pick to Tenenbaum; Walter’s wife was one of the last people to see Anne alive at Bergen-Belsen. Dated February 4, 1958, it provided Tenenbaum with information on how to find Otto’s address so that he could commence this correspondence. “Mr. Otto Frank usually lives in Switzerland, but I think you will be staying in England for the next few months where I do not have his address. I suggest therefore that you contact the publishers of the ‘Anne Frank Diary’…Doubleday-Doran – who will no doubt have his forwarding address. Quite possibly 20th Century Fox films in New York who are now filming the diary will also know his present whereabouts.”
Frame, Display, Preserve
Each frame is custom constructed, using only proper museum archival materials. This includes:The finest frames, tailored to match the document you have chosen. These can period style, antiqued, gilded, wood, etc. Fabric mats, including silk and satin, as well as museum mat board with hand painted bevels. Attachment of the document to the matting to ensure its protection. This "hinging" is done according to archival standards. Protective "glass," or Tru Vue Optium Acrylic glazing, which is shatter resistant, 99% UV protective, and anti-reflective. You benefit from our decades of experience in designing and creating beautiful, compelling, and protective framed historical documents.Learn more about our Framing Services