Life in the Netherlands

Edith, Margot and Anne with an unknown lady and her son on a balcony in Amsterdam, October 1933.
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When Hitler comes to power in 1933, the family emigrates to Amsterdam. Otto and the girls quickly feel at home in the Netherlands but Edith finds it difficult to get used to her new life.

Edith’s youth

Edith Holländer was born on 16 January 1900 in Aachen, the fourth child of a well-off religious Jewish family.


Edith and her family

On 12 May 1925 Edith marries Otto Frank, eleven years her senior. Edith and Otto go to live in Frankfurt am Main. They have two daughters.

The forced emigration to the Netherlands put an end to this carefree time. Edith just couldn’t get used to life in Amsterdam. Here too the Frank family did not escape persecution by the Nazis. Edith died on 6 January 1945 in Auschwitz-Birkenau.

She’s often at home alone, doesn’t go out much and struggles with the language. She misses her family and friends and is concerned about the situation in Germany. Otto’s business also doesn’t go as well as they’d hoped.

AFF-OtF_Pdoc_16_01.JPGNo matter how difficult it is to settle down, earning a living remains the main issue and that’s increasingly difficult in the Netherlands.

, 24 December 1937
Series of passport photos of Edith from May 1936.

In 1938 Edith’s brothers, Julius and Walter, manage to flee Germany. They emigrate to the United States and survive the war. A year later Edith’s mother, Rosa, comes to live with the Frank family in Amsterdam. She dies here in 1942.

Edith and her mother walking with Margot in Aachen, April 1927.

In hiding

In the Netherlands too the Frank family do not escape persecution by the Nazis. In 1940 the Germans occupy the Netherlands and two years later, in July 1942, Edith and the Frank family go into hiding.

The Secret Annexe at number 263 Prinsengracht, where the Frank family were in hiding.

Tensions often run high in the Secret Annexe. The relationship between Edith and Anne becomes very stressful. Anne often writes about it in her diary in no uncertain words. Yet as time passes she becomes more sympathetic towards her mother:

AFS_A_AFrank_III_039 4mb.jpgThe period of tearfully passing judgement on Mother is over. I’ve grown wiser and Mother’s nerves are a bit steadier.

, 2 January 1944

After their arrest on 4 August 1944, Edith and her family are transported to Westerbork transit camp in the north-east of the Netherlands. A month later they are deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau. There Edith and the children are separated from Otto. Two months later Margot and Anne are deported to Bergen-Belsen. Edith remains behind, alone. She dies from deprivation and disease on 6 January 1945.


Women’s barracks in Auschwitz-Birkenau. Here Edith dies on 6 January 1945.
Declaration of death: I hereby declare that Mrs Edith Frank died near me on 6 January 1945 in the Birkenau concentration camp near Auschwitz in German-occupied Poland. I was there myself and I can vouch for this. Ro de Winter-Levy

Edith and her family Edith, Otto, Margot and Anne

On 12 May 1925 Edith Holländer marries Otto Frank, eleven years her senior.


Life in Amsterdam Emigration to the Netherlands

When Hitler comes to power in 1933, the family emigrates to Amsterdam.