Dark clouds gather over Europe.

Threat of War

German forces enter Warsaw in late September 1939
German forces enter Warsaw in late September 1939.
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Via their friends and acquaintances, the Frank family stays up-to-date regarding developments in Nazi Germany. The discrimination against Jews continues to increase. German Jews become second-class citizens in their own country. Jewish teachers and civil servants are fired from their jobs, marriages between Jews and non-Jews are forbidden, and Jews may no longer run their own businesses.

Anne writes:

“After May 1940, the good times were few and far between: first there was the war, then the capitulation and then the arrival of the Germans, which is when the trouble started for the Jews.”

Intocht Duitse leger

The Netherlands under German occupation

The Frank family is in danger once more.


Kristallnacht (Night of Broken Glass)

During the night of November 9, 1938, the Nazis organize a wave of violence against the Jews of Germany. More than 100 Jews are murdered during "Kristallnacht." Hundreds of synagogues and Jewish stores are destroyed, thousands of Jewish men rounded up and locked away in concentration camps and prisons. The Nazis also arrest Edith's two brothers, Julius and Walter Holländer. Because Julius fought for the Germans during World War I, he is released almost immediately. Walter is finally released on December 1, but only after he promises to leave Germany for good. After the Kristallnacht many Jews flee to The Netherlands and other countries.

Kristallnacht (Crystal Night) During Kristallnacht (The Night of Breaking Glass) the synagogue in Aachen is destroyed. Otto and Edith Frank were married in this synagogue.

Fleeing Aachen Germany

Grandmother Höllander arrives in The Netherlands. She had already asked permission in September 1938 and she manages to leave in March 1939. She has to leave all her possessions behind in Germany. Grandmother Höllander moves in with her daughter and son in law in Amsterdam. 

Walter goes to the Netherlands and ends up in a camp for Jewish refugees. Julius stays in Aachen until he can arrange a visa with the help of a family member in the United States. He departs in April 1939, followed by Walter in December.

Oma Holländer

War breaks out

National Socialist Germany has built up a large army. In 1938 Germany annexes Austria; the ‘Anschluss’. On 15 March 1939 German troops occupy Prague and Czechoslovakia is annexed.

On September 1, 1939, the German Army attacks Poland. This signals the beginning of World War II. The Dutch population and the refugees from Germany hope the Netherlands will remain neutral, just like they were during World War I.

SS'ers van het Regiment "Der Führer" bij het Hoornwerk - 12 mei 1940
The German army at the Grebbeberg

Netherlands is occupied

What everyone fears comes to pass on May 10 1940: the German Army attacks the Netherlands. After four days of fighting, German planes bombard the center of Rotterdam. When the German high command threatens to bomb other cities, the Dutch Army surrenders. The occupation of the Netherlands begins on May 15, 1940.

The centre of Rotterdam is bombed and destroyed in 1940.

A new start Otto goes to Amsterdam ahead of his family

Edith, Margot and Anne stay behind in Germany.

Anne met vriendinnetjes

In Amsterdam The Frank family feels safe and free again

During the early years, Edith Frank does not really feel at home in the Netherlands...

Düsseldorf, geschändete Synagoge

The oppression of the Jews Exclusion, discrimination and persecution in Germany 1933-1939

The oppression of the Jews in Germany begins when Hitler comes to power with the NSDAP in 1933. Anti-Jewish laws make life in Germany impossible for them. Many flee the country in desperation.


Otto Frank's businesses Otto works hard on his businesses and is rarely at home

Otto Frank works hard on his businesses and is rarely at home...

German forces enter Warsaw in late September 1939

Threat of War Dark clouds gather over Europe

Via their friends and acquaintances, the Frank family stays up-to-date regarding developments in Nazi Germany...