Bep Voskuijl in 1945
5 July 1919|
|Died||6 May 1983
|Other names||Bep Vuskuil, Elli Vossen|
|Occupation||Secretary of Opekta|
Elisabeth "Bep" Voskuijl (Dutch pronunciation: [eːlisabɛt bɛp ˈfɔskœyɫ]) (Elli Vossen) (5 July 1919, Amsterdam – 6 May 1983, Amsterdam) helped conceal Anne Frank and her family from Nazi persecution during the occupation of the Netherlands.
Bep was born in Amsterdam. She was one of the eight children of Johannes Hendrik Voskuijl and Mrs Voskuijl. When still a teenager, Bep worked as a modiste and housekeeper in order to earn money for tuition and graduated as a secretary.
She was hired by Otto Frank in 1937 as a secretary and by 1942 was the administration manager of his company, Opekta, based at 263 Prinsengracht, the address which would become the Frank family's hiding place. In her book "Anne Frank Remembered", Miep Gies portraits Bep as a gentle and very shy girl and recalls they get sooner close friends. Elisabeth was a young typist who agreed to help bring provisions to his family and four other people concealed in the back rooms of the office building, from July 1942, until their betrayal and arrest on 4 August 1944. She also ordered correspondence courses, such as shorthand and Latin for those in hiding and spent several time with Anne, speaking about movies, dresses and books and sharing confidences about her sweetheart. During the Gestapo raid, she run into hysterics and managed to escape with a few documents which would have incriminated their black market contacts, but returned to assist Miep Gies in collecting the personal possessions of the captured Jews, amongst which were Anne Frank's diaries and manuscripts.
She left the company after her marriage to Cornelius van Wijk on 15 May 1946 and they went on to have four children: Ton, Cor, Joop, and a daughter, Anne-Marie, born in 1960, who was named after Anne.
After World War II
She was honoured in later years for her activities during the Second World War, but disliked publicity and gave few interviews about her association with Anne Frank. She did, however, remain in touch with Otto Frank until his death and kept a scrapbook of articles about Anne and her diary. Bep Voskuijl - van Wiij died in Amsterdam on May 6, 1983, due to a kidney disease.
References and further reading
- Anne Frank, edited by David Barnouw and Gerrold Van der Stroom, translated by Arnold J. Pomerans, compiled by H. J. J. Hardy (2003). The Diary of Anne Frank: The Revised Critical Edition (second ed.). Doubleday.
- Miep Gies with Alison Leslie Gold (1988). Anne Frank Remembered. Simon and Schuster.
- Carol Ann Lee (1999). Roses from the Earth: the Biography of Anne Frank. Penguin.
- Melissa Muller, foreword by Miep Gies (1999). Anne Frank: the Biography. Bloomsbury.
- Carol Ann Lee (2002). The Hidden Life of Otto Frank. Penguin.
- Interview with Bep Voskuijl
- The wedding photograph of Bep Voskuijl and Cor van Wijk taken a year after the war, showing Otto Frank, Pfeffer's partner Charlotte Kaletta, and Miep and Jan Gies
- Post war photo of Bep at home with her children