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The Correspondence of Otto Frank

The following documents were among those discovered in the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research archives. They reveal the efforts of Otto Frank, father of renowned diarist and Holocaust victim Anne Frank, to get his family out of Holland.

Letter from Otto Frank to a Friend in New York

April 30, 1941


Mr. Nathan Straus

New York, N.Y.

Dear Charley,

[Portion of letter redacted] I am forced to look out for emigration and as far as I can see U.S.A. is the only country we could go to. Perhaps you remember that we have two girls. It is for the sake of the children mainly that we have to care for. Our own fate is of less importance. Two brothers of Efith emigrated last year and they work as ordinary workmen around Boston. Both of them earn money, but not enough to have us come. They would be able to give an affidavit for their mother, living with us here, and they seaved [sic] enough as far as Ican [sic] make out, to pay the passage for my mother-in-law. [Portion redacted.]

In 1938 I filed an application in Rotterdam to emigrate to U.S.A. but all the papers have been destroyed there. [Portion redacted.] The dates of application are of no importance any longer, as everyone who has an effective affidavit from a member of his family and who can pay his passage may leave. One says that no special difficulties shall be made from the part of the German Authorities. But in the case that an affidavit from family members is not available or not sufficient the consul asks a bank deposit. How much he would ask in my case I dont [sic] know. I am not allowed to go to Rotterdam and without an introduction the consul would not even accept me. As far as I hear from other people it might be about $5000.-- for us four. You are the only person I know that I can ssk [sic]: Would it be possible for you to give a deposit in my favor?

Letter from Frank's Friend to Nathan Straus in Washington, D.C.

June 3rd, 1941


Mr. Nathan Straus

The Shoreham

Connecticut Avenue at Calvert Street

Washington, D.C.

My dear Mr. Straus,

Mrs. Straus and I discussed over the telephone the contents of the letter which you received from Mr. Otto Frank and agreed to request the following procedures

1. That you will undoubtedly wish to write directly to Mr. Frank in answer to his letter, in which you may wish to [illegible] him of your interest and advise him that you are preparing affidavits of support on behalf of him and his family. That your affidavits will be accompanied by a covering letter from you to the American consul in Amsterdam stating the reasons for your interest in Mr. Frank and his family and your concern about their welfare. That you hope your affidavit and the accompanying documents will satisfy the American consul, so that no deposit of $5000 will be necessary.

2. I will write to the brothers-in-law at your suggestion telling them of your interest and that you are preparing an affidavit of support for the American consul in Amsterdam. I will suggest to the brothers-in-law, that since you are not related to Mr. Frank, it is most desirable that one or both of them also send affidavits of support to strengthen the applicant's chance for visit.

3. With regard to overseas transportation, we will be pleased in cable the committee abroad requesting information and instructing in the matter of steamship reservations. It may be that Mr. Frank will be able to turn over to the relief agency abroad sufficient funds to give him special consideration for the purchase of tickets...

Documents reprinted courtesy of YIVO Institute for Jewish Research

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