Why Did the Frank Family Leave Germany?


Anne Frank’s parents, Otto and Edith Frank, decided to leave Germany in 1933 due to the economic crisis, Hitler’s rise to power and the growing anti-Semitism in the country. The Franks were a liberal, middle-class Jewish family living in Frankfurt am Main before they decided to move to the Netherlands to escape the persecution of Jews in Germany.

Otto set up a business in Amsterdam that produced and sold pectin, which is used to make jelly. The family rebuilt their lives in Amsterdam until 1940, when Germany took over the Netherlands. The Nazis began issuing anti-Jewish laws, and the Frank family realized that death and deportation were coming for the Jews in the Netherlands, as it had happened to the Jews in Germany. After unsuccessfully attempting to emigrate from the Netherlands, the Franks decided they had to go into hiding to escape the Nazis, and began organizing. After Anne’s sister Margot received a call-up notice in 1942, the Frank family moved into a secret annex in the upper-back portion of Otto’s business. They were joined by the van Pels family and a dentist named Friedrich Pfeffer. Anne’s diary chronicles the two years they lived in hiding. In 1944, they were discovered, arrested, and sent to concentration camps. Everyone except Otto died before the end of World War II.