few weeks later, as the Allies began retaking Holland, inhabitants of
the Westerbork camp were moved to Auschwitz
and later to other camps. At the gates of Auschwitz, Otto Frank was
separated from his family for the last time. In January, 1945, the German
guards left the camp to the advancing Russian army.
Most of the prisoners, including Peter Van Pels, were herded along with
the troops, but Otto Frank was in the camp infirmary and was left behind.
Otto Frank tried to convince Peter to hide in the infirmary, but he was
afraid and ended in the KZ camp Mauthausen in Austria.
Otto Frank, barely alive, was discovered by the Russian army that
liberated Auschwitz. Upon recovering, he began to search for his family,
as shown in the letters that have only recently been discovered and have
never before been seen or heard by the public. En route home to Amsterdam,
he learned of his wife's death, but it was not until some time after
returning home that he discovered the facts of Margot and Anne's death.
Otto Frank was the only one of the original 8 residents of the secret
annex to survive the horrors of the Holocaust. Edith Frank died in Auschwitz on 6 January 1945
from hunger and exhaustion. Hermann Van Pels died in the Auschwitz gas chambers
in October or November 1944, Auguste van Pels did not survive
either though the date of her death is unknown. Peter van Pels died
in Mauthausen on 5 may 1945, three days before the camp was liberated. Fritz
died on 2o December 1944 at the Neuengamme KZ camp in Germany.
Anne and Margot ultimately ended up in the Bergen-Belsen
camp in Germany, after being evacuated from Auschwitz in October,
As starvation, cold and disease swept through the camp's population,
Margot developed typhus and died. A few days later, Anne herself succumbed to the disease a few weeks before the
camp was liberated by the British on 12 April 1945.
Anne Frank - Hitler's most famous victim and a symbol of 10 million
murdered - was 15 years old ...