Anne Frank, a 15-year-old victim of World War II, died due to typhus in a German concentration camp seventy years ago.
Her death on March 31, 1945 – two weeks before the liberation of the Bergen-Belsen camp – indicated just how close she was to making it through the Holocaust.
However, recent studies by the Anne Frank House reveal that Anne and Margot Frank, her sister, perished a month earlier than what was earlier believed.
These findings have been derived from accounts of survivors and archives of the Bergen-Belsen Memorial, Red Cross and the International Tracing Service.
The Anne Frank House said, “It is unlikely that they were still alive in March; their deaths must have occurred in February 1945.”
The exact date of their deaths hasn’t been estimated yet.
A friend of the sisters said, “One day they simply weren’t there anymore.”
The diary of Anne Frank describes how her family and other Jews remained hidden in rooms behind a bookcase before they were discovered by Nazis and subsequently transported to death camps. The two girls and their mother were sent to Auschwitz-Birkenau on early September 1944.
The two sisters were then taken to Bergen-Belsen after two months.
Nanette Konig, a former classmate, recounted how she found Anne in the camp.
“She was no more than a skeleton by then,” she said.
“She was wrapped in a blanket; she couldn’t bear to wear her clothes anymore because they were crawling with lice.”
By January 1945, according to Nanette, Anne “was clearly already gravely ill,” and Margot “was in an even worse condition than her sister.”
Relying on accounts and considering Anne and Margot’s deteriorating health by the time they arrived at Bergen-Belsen, “it is unlikely that they survived until the end of March. In view of this, the date of their death is more likely to be sometime in February.”
Erika Prins, a researcher at the Anne Frank House, said that Anne and Margot’s established date of death indicates they were very close from being saved.
“When you say they died at the end of March, it gives you a feeling that they died just before liberation,” she said.
“Well, that’s not true anymore.”
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