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A Picture from History: Otto Frank

The year was 1933.

Fearing government persecution in Germany, Otto Frank voted with his feet — by moving to the Netherlands.

Otto Frank
Otto Frank

Safe, but in need of a means to keep his family fed, Frank opened up a factory in Amsterdam called Opekta.

They manufactured components for jams and jellies. Things seemed to be going particularly well for the family, especially after expanding into herbs and spices a few years later.

Then, in May of 1940, the Germans invaded the Netherlands.

Otto Frank now lived on Nazi soil.

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Living Under the Nazis

Frank did everything he could to keep his head low during this time.

Being Jewish, Frank was the victim of an ever-increasing number of anti-Semitic laws. Nazi propaganda touted Jews as spreaders of diseases, murderers of children, and a stain upon a functioning society.

German Signage WWII
Signs stating, “Don’t buy from Jews.”

Frank did what he could to abide by these laws — even going so far as to turn over his business to sympathetic employees when the law stated that he could no longer own it.

But things only continued to grow worse.

By 1941, Jewish men were sent to the Mauthausen concentration camp.

Voting with his feet was no longer an option.

A Secret Place

Frank set up a secret hiding place by 1942 in an unoccupied corner of his business’ warehouse. He asked four of his closest friends/employees to take care of his family should they go into hiding.

And on July 5, 1942, the culmination of years of discrimination hit the Frank family head-on. His wife received a notice to report to the nearest “labor” camp.

Frank took his family into hiding the next morning.

Frank Hiding Place
The bookcase concealing where the Frank family hid. (Photo: Anne Frank House via Facebook)

The Frank family successfully resided within the secret hideout for more than two years. However, everything came crashing down on August 4, 1944.

After someone placed an anonymous phone call to the Nazis, the SS found the family in a raid led by Karl Silberbauer. 

German SS
The SS (Photo: WikiCommons)

The Franks were taken to the Westerbork transit camp for a brief time before being shipped to Auschwitz.

It was there the family was separated.

The Allies eventually rescued the prisoners of Auschwitz, but for Frank it didn’t matter.

He later found that his wife died of starvation and heartbrokenness, while both of his teenage daughters died of typhus and starvation.

Frank Sisters Tombstone

It was then that one of the underground friends who aided his family provided him with his daughter’s diary — a full recording of the events the family suffered.

Frank did what he could to get copies of the diary to as many of his friends who were still alive.

You may know of the diary as that of Anne Frank.

Unveiling by Mayor Samkalden of the statue of Anne Frank on the Westermarkt in Amsterdam. (Photo: National Archives)

What About Silberbauer?

It wasn’t until 1963 that SS officer Karl Silberbauer was confronted about his role in the state-sponsored murder of the Frank family.

His excuse?

Karl Silberbauer
Karl Silberbauer

He was just following orders.

This is a new style of article for Pew Pew Tactical, if you liked it — let us know in the comments! If you didn’t enjoy it…well phooey. To catch up on previous Pictures from History, click on over to our History Category.

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17 Leave a Reply

  • Commenter Avatar
    L. H. Jackson

    This is a fine addition to your site. Thank you.

    July 31, 2021 1:45 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    joe costa

    Thank you for posting the article about the Frank family

    July 26, 2021 6:51 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    Paul P Gray

    great article on Ann Frank

    July 26, 2021 4:43 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    Robert Becker

    we all need to remember to look at history and not repeat mistakes. Need to be reminded often. Please keep publishing these articles. Thanks

    July 26, 2021 3:09 am
    • Commenter Avatar
      Aden Tate

      Glad you liked it, Bobby! More are on the way!

      July 26, 2021 4:48 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    Doug G

    Well paced summary from a new angle, a father’s heart during political and societal turmoil. “A wise man has great power; a man of knowledge increases strength.” Proverbs 24:5 I will be adding this to my 6th grade class analysis of the play. Much appreciated.

    July 25, 2021 9:51 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Aden Tate

      That actually is interesting.

      History truly does matter. The lessons it teaches are valuable, and I often find myself wondering what stories I would teach and books I would use if I were a high school history/English teacher. (I personally believe 'Dracula' is the best classic to get kids who hate reading interested in reading.)

      I'm glad that you've chosen Anne Frank's story to share to those kids. There is much they can glean from it.

      July 26, 2021 4:51 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    Len C.

    Thank you Robert Baublitz, you said everything I wanted but didn't know how to lay it out. I could never understand how 8 million people could be slandered for so long by the other 8 Billion of the world.

    July 25, 2021 6:40 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Robert Baublitz

    History is repeating itself. B.D.S. (Boycott, Diversify, and Sanction) movement against Israel is the same rabid animal as it was during the 1930's and 40's, and many times before in history.
    Centuries of evil against one of the smallest groups of nationalities in this world, and still they continue to bless the world. Almost one quarter of Nobel prizes awarded to Jews, even though they account for only about zero point two something percent of our world population. (Genesis 12:2&3)
    Talk about the bully picking on the little guy.
    Find something better to do, b.d.s. Like learn history and stop believing lies.
    Thank you for the history lesson Pew Pew.

    July 25, 2021 5:21 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    John Brennan

    Never forget or ignore history lest you be condemned to relive it.

    And the atrocities that went on during WW II should NEVER happen again.

    July 25, 2021 4:59 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Aden Tate

      They shouldn't, but history seems to be filled with similar events.

      July 26, 2021 4:52 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    Ed

    Good article.

    July 25, 2021 4:52 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Jamie

    Keep WW2 stuff coming please

    July 25, 2021 4:48 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Jack

    The history lessons are pretty brief, but it's important for people to know. America is far from perfect, but it's still so much better here than so many other countries. How many people "escape" from the U.S. to other countries?

    July 25, 2021 4:23 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Mike

    Keep the history lessons coming, good stuff

    July 23, 2021 7:16 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Mike OBoyle

      great stuff! Let's hope we don't repeat it.

      July 23, 2021 8:37 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Aden Tate

      Heyyyyyy, MikeMikeMike! (Geico reference)

      Glad you liked it!

      July 24, 2021 5:29 am