The Anne Frank House was opened as a museum on 3 May 1960.

Otto Frank and the house

Otto Frank met met het bestuur van de Anne Frank Stichting voor Prinsengracht 263 (1957)
Otto Frank with three members of the first management board of the Anne Frank House in 1957. From right to left: Floris Bakels, Otto Frank, Truus Wijsmuller and Herman Heldring.
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When the eight people in hiding were arrested on 4 August 1944, their hiding place was soon emptied by the occupying forces. When Otto returned, he found the secret annexe bare and empty. In the 1950s the building was narrowly saved from demolition, partly thanks to the efforts of a committee of prominent Amsterdammers. The Anne Frank House organisation was set up in 1957, and the house was opened to the public on 3 May 1960. At Otto’s request, the secret annexe remained empty. Otto Frank remained involved in the activities of the Anne Frank House until his death.

Otto Frank, his mission

Otto was closely involved in the activities of the Anne Frank House until his death.

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Otto Frank and the diary

Otto published his daughter’s diary. He bequeathed Anne’s diary papers to the Dutch state after his death.

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Juli 1968, zomerconferentie

Otto Frank and his educational mission

Otto wanted the Anne Frank House to be a meeting place for young people, focussed on the future: a house of dialogue, with a warning from history.

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When Otto Frank returned from Auschwitz in June 1945, as the only one of the people in hiding to survive the war, the secret annexe was bare and empty. Together with his employees, who had helped him and his family during their time in hiding, Otto continued his businesses Gies & Co (formerly Opekta) and Pectacon.

The hiding place saved

To preserve the building that held the hiding place, Otto Frank bought the house in 1953. But Prinsengracht 263 was in poor condition, and Otto could not afford the cost of restoration. He therefore sold the house - a painful decision for him - in 1954. The threat of demolition loomed, but then a committee of prominent Amsterdammers took the initiative to save the building. The building was ultimately preserved thanks to a fundraising drive supported by the Mayor of Amsterdam, Gijsbert Van Hall.

The restauration of the house is now in full progress and we hope that the secret annexe will be open for visitors this summer. (…) The spiritual value of the house is a very great one. Thousands of people from all over the world have visited it the last years, many brought unforgettable impression on them. But more must be achieved. It is not enough that people are moved and come to think about all the terrible events. We must get to activity.

Otto Frank, New York, 24 March 1959

The organisation and the museum

In 1957 the Anne Frank House organisation was set up to preserve the building at Prinsengracht 263 and open it to the public, and to spread the message of Anne Frank’s ideals. The Anne Frank House was opened as a museum on 3 May 1960, with the secret annexe remaining empty at Otto Frank’s request. In the Vrije Volk newspaper of 24 May 196, he said of this: “After the Anne Frank House was restored, they asked me if the rooms should be refurnished. But I answered ‘No. During the war everything was taken out, and I want to leave it like that.’” Students guided visitors around the house. This choice for young guides was deliberate, because Otto saw the Anne Frank House as a meeting place for young people.

Otto Frank met Koningin Juliana bij draaibare boekenkast (1979)
Otto Frank, then aged 90, came from Basel to Amsterdam to personally guide Queen Juliana around the Anne Frank House.

Otto remains involved

Otto Frank moved to Basel in Switzerland in 1952, but remained closely involved with the plans concerning his former business premises and wartime hiding place. He was a member of the Anne Frank House’s management board from 1961 to 1976. During his time as a management board member Otto regularly travelled to Amsterdam to attend board meetings. After 1976 he remained closely involved with the Anne Frank House as a member of the board of governors. He continued to work to spread the message of his daughter’s life and ideals, and to combat prejudice and discrimination, until his death in 1980.

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Otto Frank, his mission Closely involved in the activities of the Anne Frank House

Otto Frank was the driving force behind the publication of his daughter’s diary, and was closely involved in the activities…

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Otto Frank and the diary Otto arranged for the publication of his daughter’s diary.

“I’ll make my voice heard, I’ll go out into the world and work for mankind”, wrote Anne in her diary on 11 April 1944...

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Juli 1968, zomerconferentie

Otto Frank and his educational mission A house of dialogue, with a warning from history.

Otto Frank’s ideal was that the house that bears his daughter’s name should be a meeting place for young people, focused on…

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