Found: war letters by Anne Frank’s father

Some 80 documents written by Anne Frank’s father Otto – including several letters from Amsterdam detailing his desperate attempts to save his family – have turned up in New York, Time Magazine reports today. The letters were discovered in a file by a volunteer archivist at the city’s YIVO Institute for Jewish Research two years ago.

The file included letters Otto Frank wrote between April 30 and December 11, 1941, when Germany declared war on the US, as well as correspondence from friends and family.
The family went into hiding in July 1942 but were betrayed in 1944 and sent to concentration camps. Otto survived the war; Anne died in Bergen-Belsen.
Time says the letters show how Otto tried to get his wife Edith, mother-in-law Rosa Hollander and daughters Anne and Margot out of the Nazi-occupied Netherlands. The US Consulate was closed, so he explored escape routes through Spain that would take the family to neutral Portugal. He also tried to get visas to Paris and arrange passage for his family to the US and Cuba, the letters show.
YIVO kept quiet about the letters while exploring legal and copyright issues. Anne’s legacy is guarded by a variety of organisations, including the Amsterdam-based Anne Frank Foundation. VIYO has said it will release the documents on February 14.
YIVO director Carl Rheins told Time the file raises profound questions about US immigration policy.

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