CORINPHILA veilingen

Unopened letter to Otto Frank in autumn auction

Addressee unknown - The fate of Anne Frank’s family reflected in an ordinary letter

Her fate is one of the best-known personal experiences of the Second World War and is still a deeply moving story, documented in the diaries of the young Anne Frank. Representing the fate of countless Jews in Germany and Europe in the period before and during the Second World War, the story of the Frank family was and is of the utmost importance for future generations. The intensity of the observations made by Anne Frank in her diary entries, the insights into the (emotional) life of her protagonist and her environment are witnesses of the times, which are the subject of teaching and research to this day - from school to university.

The fate of the Frank family is reflected in a recently discovered (still unopened!) letter to the head of the family Otto Heinrich Frank, which is being offered in September 2018 as part of the auction of the Dutch auction house Corinphila Veilingen. What seems at first glance to be a comparatively inconspicuous envelope from the office of the “Gresham Engelsche Maatschappij van levensverzekering lokaal Amsterdam” insurance company could not be delivered, as indicated by the handwritten note "onbekend" (unknown). A “TERUG AFZENDER” (“return to sender”) mark, the return arrival mark of 10 September 1942 and a backstamp “woont niet op ... / nader adres in de wijk onbekend” (“does not live at … / address unknown in the neighbourhood”) with the date of 11 September 1942 provide additional evidence of this.

It was no coincidence that the Frank family was no longer at their former home, and the letter addressed to “Merwedeplein 37”, which since 1934 had been the residence of the Frank family, could not be delivered. In the previous months Otto Frank had been preparing a hiding place at the back of his company. On 5 July 1942 the elder daughter, Margot, received an order from the Central Office for Jewish Emigration in Amsterdam for her deportation to a labour camp. The family went into hiding there the following day and from then on lived in secret for more than two years. During this time, the inhabitants could neither go outside nor were they allowed to attract any attention, as is clearly described in the diary of Anne Frank. A fateful betrayal ended this “underground” life in August 1944, and led to the arrest of the Frank family and ultimately to the death of Anne, her sister Margot and mother Edith. Only the father, Otto Frank, survived and was freed in January 1945 from the Auschwitz concentration camp.

This letter is a testimony to the sad fate of the Frank family. Why it has still not been opened today is not clear. The letter was in the estate of the collector Stefan Drukker, whose “Postal History of World War II collection” (Part II) is being offered as part of the autumn auction of Corinphila Veilingen. Far beyond the ordinary, this compilation of rare evidence is impressive as a comprehensive contemporary historical documentation of the difficult years of the Second World War. Historically, the undelivered letter to Otto Frank is of paramount importance, a testament to the most difficult period in the life of the Frank family, their underground existence.

The letter will be offered on Friday 21 September as lot 2230

Further Information and High Quality Image:
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