Eyewitness Accounts

Bella van der Wilk-Kohlwey in a photo taken in the summer of 1943.
  • Print

The Anne Frank House has documented the stories of people who were acquainted with the Frank family, the other inhabitants of the Secret Annex and the helpers on film. Moving images are a powerful means of communication and can have a huge impact, particularly on young people. These eyewitness accounts can be seen in the museum and are included in travelling exhibitions and on a variety of websites.

Around a dozen new eyewitnesses were interviewed in 2011, mainly friends and former classmates of Anne and Margot Frank. These individuals talked about their own experiences before and during the war and provided a more in-depth look at the life of the Frank family.

Bella van der Wilk-Kohlwey during her interview in 2011. Bella was a classmate of Margot Frank at the Municipal Lyceum for Girls. They belonged to the same rowing club.

A number of these eyewitnesses originally came from Germany just like the Frank family. They explained how conditions in Germany influenced their decision to emigrate and how adjusting to life in the Netherlands went. Former classmates talked about their time at school and their friendships with Anne and Margot. They spoke about their parents, about living in the South of Amsterdam, but also about the occupation of the Netherlands, the anti-Jewish measures and how the lives of Jewish children changed during that wartime period. The classmates and friends from those days discussed the implications: how it felt as a Jewish child to be forced to go to another school or as non-Jewish child, to see your schoolmates disappear from class.

… you know, you didn’t really pay any attention to who was a Jewish girl and who wasn’t.

These filmed eyewitness accounts give a personal and in-depth look at the history of the Frank family, the Van Pels family, Fritz Pfeffer and the helpers.

Foreword By Ronald Leopold, executive director

My first year as executive director of the Anne Frank House is now behind me: it was both a unique and exciting year...

More...

Museum Many visitors and lots of groups.

The Anne Frank House received a record number of visitors in 2011...

More...

Temporary Exhibitions In 2011 in the Anne Frank House

Every six months, a new exhibition is put on display at the Anne Frank House...

More...

Online The Secret Annex Online and the Anne Frank Timeline

In the three-dimensional virtual environment The Secret Annex Online visitors can explore – via their computers – the…

More...

Anne Frank’s Amsterdam New website with unique footage

In October, the Anne Frank House presented a new Dutch website Het Amsterdam van Anne Frank (Anne Frank’s Amsterdam)...

More...

Eyewitness Accounts A personal and in-depth look at the history of the Frank family.

The Anne Frank House has documented the stories of people who were acquainted with the Frank family, the other inhabitants of…

More...

Education Educational programmes and products for an international audience.

The Anne Frank House develops educational programmes and products for an international audience about Anne Frank, World War…

More...

Holocaust Education Teacher trainings and international conferences.

Every year, the Anne Frank House organises trainings at home and abroad on teaching about the Holocaust and participates in…

More...

Travelling Exhibitions All over the world

The international travelling exhibition Anne Frank - A History for Today places the story of Anne Frank against the backdrop…

More...

Anne Frank’s Manuscripts Scientific Research

The Huygens Institute for Netherlands History (Huygens ING) and the Anne Frank House have agreed to cooperate on a new…

More...

Anne Frank House Mission and partners

The Anne Frank House is an independent organisation entrusted with the care of the Secret Annex, the place where Anne Frank…

More...