Last surviving photo of the Frank family.Hans Meesters /
Diary of Anne Frank
describes the two years that the author of the best-known Holocaust diary was in hiding with her parents and sister, and four other people, in the annex of a house in Amsterdam, the capital of the Netherlands.
But what happened after August 4, 1944, when they were all discovered by the Nazis and deported to concentration camps?
A book published this Tuesday in Dutch and titled
Na het Achterhuis
, which could be translated as
After the Hideout
, reveals how the place and the changing circumstances of the Holocaust defined survival or death.
How at the beginning of World War II between 80 and 90% of the deportees perished in the gas chambers, while in the second half of 1944 the demand for labor power could reach 65% of the internees.
The historian Bas von Benda-Beckmann, a researcher at the Anne Frank Foundation, signs this work, which tries to keep alive the most human memory of the tragedy.
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The eight hiding in the annex were Ana, her sister Margot, and their parents, Otto and Edith.
They were accompanied by the marriage of Hermann and Auguste van Pels, with their son, Peter, and Fritz Pfeffer, a dentist.
Hermann van Pels was an employee of Otto Frank, who ran a business for pectin, a food thickener.
The group was taken in 1944 first to the Westerbork transit camp, in the south of the Netherlands, and then deported to Auschwitz.
From there, their lives split up and rebuilding their trajectory has required oral testimonies from survivors or friends, official documents, such as the deportation and camp lists, and other diaries similar to Ana's.
“The puzzle will remain incomplete, but we have seen that Ana, Margot and their mother arrived at Auschwitz, in occupied Poland.
Edith Frank stayed there and the girls were transferred to Bergen-Belsen, Germany, together with Auguste van Pels.
In the course of their investigations, my colleagues Gertjan Broek and Erika Prins concluded that the sisters must have died of typhus around February 1945, and not in March, as the Red Cross data indicated, due to the rapid development of the infection.
They were inseparable, and we know that when Margot got worse and could no longer get up or walk, Ana lost hope of living, her motor, "explains the author, in a telephone conversation.
Ana was 15 and Margot 18.
The sisters died without knowing that their mother had passed away in January of that same year, from exhaustion and malnutrition.
“The story of Peter van Pels [the boy mentioned in
as his illusion]
Transferred with his father and Ana's to Auschwitz, he delivered packages and could move around the countryside with some ease.
The shipments were not for Jews, but came from families of political prisoners or others held for other reasons.
But there were clothes and food, and it is possible that Peter helped Otto Frank survive.
Ana's father was ill and the boy brought him something to eat and visited him ”.
In 1945, before the advance of the Russian troops, the field was evacuated and only the sick, like Otto, were left behind.
Peter ended up in Mauthausen, Austria, “where he was forced to work in an arms factory, contracted typhus, and died shortly after Allied liberation, at the age of 18.
His mother, Auguste, died on a train on the way to Theresienstadt countryside in Czechoslovakia.
Wounded in the hand, his father was gassed at Auschwitz.
And the dentist Pfeffer, transferred with other doctors, a habitual practice of the Nazis, perished of dysentery in the Neuengame camp, in Germany ”.
Bas von Benda-Beckmann says that he cannot escape the hard theme of the book, not even with the distance of the historian, and that is why it is important to publish this type of work.