- NAME: Otto Frank
- OCCUPATION: Entrepreneur
- BIRTH DATE: May 12, 1889
- DEATH DATE: August 19, 1980
- Did You Know?: Since its 1947 publication (by Otto Frank), Anne Frank's Diary of a Young Girl has been translated in 67 languages.
- EDUCATION: University of Heidelberg
- PLACE OF BIRTH: Frankfurt am Main, Germany
- PLACE OF DEATH: Basel, Switzerland
Best Known For
Jewish businessman Otto Frank hid his family during the Holocaust and published daughter Anne Frank's Diary of a Young Girl after his release from Auschwitz.
Anne Frank - Legacy (2:20)
Anne Frank - The Diary (2:43)
The Anne Frank Center USA (1:28)
Dr. Robert Levin, Director of Education at the Anne Frank Center USA, and Executive Director Yvonne Simons discuss the founding of the Anne Frank House by Otto Frank. Images © AFF Basel/AFS Amsterdam, all rights reserved.
Dr. Robert Levin of the Anne Frank Center USA discusses the legacy of Anne Frank. Images © AFF Basel/AFS Amsterdam, all rights reserved.
Dr. Robert Levin, Director of Education for the Anne Frank Center USA, discusses the diary of Anne Frank. Images © AFF Basel/AFS Amsterdam, all rights reserved.
Dr. Robert Levin, Director of Education, Anne Frank Center USA, and Executive Director Yvonne Simons discuss the center’s mission to educate about the life and legacy of Anne Frank. Images © AFF Basel/AFS Amsterdam, all rights reserved.
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Otto Frank was born on May 12, 1889, in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. In 1942, Otto and his family went into hiding in a secret annex above his office. In 1944 the Gestapo raided the annex and the family was sent to Auschwitz. Otto was the only one to survive. In 1947, he published daughter Anne Frank's journal under the title The Diary of a Young Girl. He died in Basel, Switzerland, on August 19, 1980.
"There are no walls, no bolts, no locks that anyone can put on your mind."
"Every child has to raise itself."
"If she had been here, Anne would have been so proud."
[Stated after publishing his daughter's memoir, in 1947.]
"Though this did hurt me deeply, I realized that Germany was not the world, and I left my country forever."
"I can remember that as early as 1932, groups of Storm Troopers came marching by, singing, 'When Jewish blood splatters from the knife.'"
"I had no idea of the depths of her thoughts and feelings."
[On daughter Anne Frank's memoir, found after her death.]
Otto Frank was born to a liberal Jewish family on May 12, 1889, in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. Otto had three siblings: an older brother, and a younger brother and sister. His father, Michael, ran the family bank.
After graduating from high school, Frank spent a summer studying art history at the University of Heidelberg.
Following this summer semester, Otto Frank worked at a local bank for one year. He had also recently begun studying economics. When a former classmate set up an internship for Frank at Macy's Department Store in Manhattan, New York, he jumped at the chance to gain business experience. Unfortunately, in 1909, just a couple of weeks after Frank arrived in New York for his internship, his father passed away. Frank quickly headed home for the funeral. Determined to forge ahead in his career, Frank soon returned to the states and spent the next two years working there—first at Macy's and later at a bank.
In 1911, Frank went home to Germany and took a job with a company that fabricated window frames. During World War I, he worked for a manufacturer of horseshoes for the Germany military. In 1914, however, Frank was conscripted into the German army and sent to the Western front, where he achieved the rank of lieutenant. When the war ended, Frank took over the family bank, which his younger brother had been managing poorly.
Years later, in 1936, Frank would further exhibit his business acumen by establishing the Opekta Company and appointing himself its director. Two years later, he would set up a second company, Pectacon.
Frank married his first wife, Edith Holländer, on May 12, 1925. Edith gave birth to the couple's first child, a daughter named Margot, on February 16, 1926. On June 12, 1929, Edith and Otto Frank rejoiced in the birth of their youngest daughter, Annelies Marie Frank, more commonly known as Anne Frank. In 1933, Otto relocated the family to Holland to avoid the dangers of Germany once Hitler had risen to power.
When Holland was invaded by Germany in 1940, Jews were no longer allowed to run their own businesses. Frank was forced to appoint his Dutch colleagues as the official owners of his companies.
In 1942, Margot received a letter demanding that she report to a work camp. As a result, Otto and his family went into hiding in a secret annex just above his office. The Franks, along with four other Jews, spent two years in hiding. During that time, Anne coped with her feelings by keeping a diary.
On August 4, 1944, the Gestapo raided the annex. The Frank family was arrested and sent to the Westerbork transit concentration camp, then to the Auschwitz concentration camp.