Margot Frank, May 1942
|Born||Margot Betti Frank
16 February 1926
Frankfurt-am-Main, Weimar Germany
|Died||February 1945 (aged 19)
Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, Lower Saxony, Nazi Germany
Cause of death
|Known for||Sister of Anne Frank|
|Home town||Frankfurt am Main, Germany|
|Relatives||Anne Frank (sister)|
Margot Betti Frank (16 February 1926 – February 1945) was the elder daughter of Otto and Edith Frank, and the older sister of Anne Frank, whose deportation order from the Gestapo hastened the Frank family into hiding, and who subsequently perished in Bergen-Belsen. According to the diary of her younger sister Anne, Margot kept a diary of her own, but no trace of Margot's diary has ever been found. Visitors and tourists have searched for the missing diary to no avail. Buddy Elias (1925-2015) was the first cousin and last surviving close relative of Holocaust diarist Anne Frank, her sister.
Early life and education
Margot Betti Frank, named after her maternal aunt, Bettina Holländer (1898-1914), was born in Frankfurt, Germany to Jewish parents, and lived in the outer suburbs of the city with her parents, Otto Frank and Edith Frank-Holländer, and also her younger sister, Anne Frank, during the early years of her life. Margot Frank was sixteen years of age when she and her family went into hiding. Her family hid in the back upper floor of her father's office.
She attended the Ludwig-Richter School in Frankfurt until the appointment of Adolf Hitler on January 30, 1933 to the position of Chancellor in Germany brought an increase of anti-Jewish measures, among which was the expulsion of Jewish schoolchildren from non-denominational schools. In response to the rising tide of anti-semitism, the family decided to follow the 63,000 other Jews who had left Germany that year and immigrate to the Netherlands. Edith Frank-Holländer and her daughters moved in with her mother in Aachen in June 1934 until Otto Frank found accommodation in Amsterdam. Margot and her mother left Germany to join him on December 5, 1933, followed by Anne in February 1934. Margot was enrolled in an elementary school on Amsterdam's Jekerstraat, close to their new address in Amsterdam South, and achieved excellent academic results until an anti-Jewish law imposed a year after the 1940 German invasion of the Netherlands demanded her removal to a Jewish lyceum. There she displayed the studiousness and intelligence which had made her noteworthy at her previous schools, and was remembered by former pupils as virtuous, reserved, and deeply religious. In her diary, Anne recounted instances of their mother suggesting she emulate Margot, and although she wrote of admiring her sister in some respects for being handsome and clever, Anne sought to define her own individuality without role models. Margot is also shown to have a much better relationship with at least her mother, and had a much shyer and more tolerant nature as opposed to Anne, who was determined and often spoke her mind.
While Anne inherited her father's ambivalence towards the Torah, Margot followed her mother's example and became involved in Amsterdam's Jewish community. She took Hebrew classes, attended synagogue, and in 1941 joined a Dutch Zionist club for young people who wanted to immigrate to Israel to found a Jewish state, where, according to Anne, she wished to become a midwife.
On July 5, 1942, she received a notice to report to a labor camp and the next day went into hiding with her family at her father's office building. They were later joined by four other Jewish refugees and remained hidden for two years until they were betrayed on August 4, 1944 by Tonny Ahler, who was not identified or apprehended at the time of the incident.
Arrest and death
Along with the other occupants of the hiding place, Margot Frank was arrested by the Gestapo and detained in their headquarters overnight before being taken to a cell in a nearby prison for three days. From here they were taken by train, on 8 August, to the Dutch Westerbork concentration camp. As the Frank family had failed to respond to Margot's call-up notice in 1942, and had been discovered in hiding, they (along with Fritz Pfeffer and the Van Pels family) were declared criminals by the camp's officials and detained in its punishment block to be sentenced to hard labor in the battery dismantling plant. They remained there until they were selected for Westerbork's last deportation to Auschwitz on September 3, 1944. Margot and Anne were transferred to Bergen-Belsen concentration camp on October 30, where both contracted typhus in the winter of 1944.
Margot Frank died sometime in early March, 1945 at the age of 19. A few days later, Anne died (research published in 2015 has revised these deaths to likely have occurred in February, but still with Anne dying a few days after Margot). Janny Brandes-Brilleslijper and her sister Lin Jaldati buried them together in one of the camp's mass graves; in August 1945, once she came back to Netherlands and recovered from typhus, Janny wrote to Otto Frank and informed him that both his daughters had died.
Otto Frank was the only one to survive out of the eight people that went into hiding. When he returned to Amsterdam he was given Anne's diary by Miep Gies, which he later published as a remembrance to her. A diary kept by Margot Frank during her time in hiding is mentioned by Anne in her own diary entry writings but has never been found. However, letters written by both Frank sisters to American pen pals were published in 2003.
- Park, Madison (1 April 2015). "Researchers say Anne Frank perished earlier than thought". CNN.com. Retrieved 2 April 2015.
- Rittner, Carol (1998). Anne Frank in the world: essays and reflections. M.E. Sharpe. p. 111. ISBN 978-0-7656-0020-2.
- Barnouw, David; Van Der Stroom, Gerrold, eds. (2003). The Diary of Anne Frank: The Revised Critical Edition. New York: Doubleday. p. 21. ISBN 0-385-50847-6.
- Golan, Ori. "Inside story: Who betrayed Anne Frank?". The Guardian. Retrieved May 7, 2015.
- Frank, Anne. The Diary of Anne Frank: The Revised Critical Edition, edited by David Barnouw and Gerrold Van der Stroom, translated by Arnold J. Pomerans, compiled by H. J. J. Hardy, second edition, Doubleday 2001.
- Lindwer, Willy. The Last Seven Months of Anne Frank, Pan Macmillan, 1989.
- Rubin, Susan Goldman. Searching for Anne Frank: Letters from Amsterdam to Iowa, Abrams 2003.
- Gies, Miep; with Alison Leslie Gold. Anne Frank Remembered, Simon and Schuster, 1988.
- Lee, Carol Ann. Roses from the Earth: the Biography of Anne Frank, Penguin 1999.
- Muller, Melissa. Anne Frank: the Biography, foreword by Miep Gies, Bloomsbury, 1999.
- Schnabel, Ernst.The Footsteps of Anne Frank, Pan, 1988.
- Interview with a schoolfriend of Margot Frank
- Rare school photo of Margot Frank taken in 1941, with comments by her friend
- Poem written by Otto Frank for Margot's 15th birthday