Anne Frank's Father Tried to Seek Refuge in U.S.

November 17th 2015

Taylor Bell

In light of the raging debate over refugees, many are pointing out that the U.S. failed to accept Jewish refugees fleeing Nazi Germany.

One of those denied refugees was Anne Frank, known to Americans worldwide as the Jewish girl who famously penned her experiences hiding from the Nazis in "The Diary of Anne Frank."

Frank Anne and Otto

In documents released in 2007 it was revealed that the father of Anne Frank was seeking help and money to obtain a U.S. visa to flee from Europe, Reuters reports.

According to Reuters, the documents include letters and telegrams from Otto Frank from April to December 1941 and highlight his efforts to escape to the United States and Cuba before ultimately going into hiding.

Frank asked a former classmate living in New York, Nathan Strauss, for a $5,000 deposit for a visa. The request for a visa was ultimately denied but Strauss' wife continued to seek help through appealing to several government contacts, according to Reuters. Otto also received aid from his brother-in-law in Boston, Julius Hollander.

Despite being denied entrance into the U.S., in December 1941 Frank received another opportunity to escape. The documents reveal that Cuba issued Frank a visa, but it was canceled 10 days after Germany declared war on the U.S, according to Reuters.

Anne Frank photos

Richard Breitman, a professor at American University explained to Reuters that Frank's escape was poorly timed—one year into the Nazi occupation—due to America's hesitancy to open its doors to immigrants, and Germany making it more difficult to leave.

Breitman notes that based on the evidence found in the documents there is reason to believe that Anne Frank—who died at age 15 in a concentration camp—could still be alive today had her father sought refuge outside of Germany sooner. "Anne Frank could be a 77-year-old woman living in Boston today, a writer," Breitman told Reuters. "That is what the YIVO's documents suggest."

But since Frank tried escaping during a time where America made it difficult for people to enter the country, he was left with no choice, according to Breitman.

The news comes in light of mounting controversy around whether countries should allow Syrian refugees to enter into the U.S and other countries. Already many U.S. governors have voiced their disapproval of keeping its doors open to refugees fleeing the war in Syria. On Monday, President Obama criticized political leaders for suggesting that refugees take religious tests. The State Department said it will take 10,000 Syrian refugees in the next year.



Pres. Obama just slammed the hypocrisy of politicians who want to refuse refugees on religious grounds. Read more here: http://bit.ly/1SUwLsJ

Posted by ATTN: on Monday, November 16, 2015


This article was corrected to reflect that the documents were discovered in 2007.