An unopened cover sent to Otto Frank, the father of Anne Frank, in 1942 brought 9,500 euros (about $14,500 Cdn.) at auction last week.
The letter, which was offered as Lot 2230 of Dutch auction house Corinphilia Auctions‘ autumn auction, was penned while the Frank family was in hiding from the Nazis during the Second World War. Its cover was sent by an insurance company to Frank’s home at “Merwedeplein 37” in Amsterdam; however, when it reached the house, the family was already in hiding and the cover was returned. It bears a red “return to sender” stamp.
The family spent more than two years in hiding, which the teenage Anne Frank documented in her now-famous diary before they were discovered and sent to concentration camps.
The auction house hasn’t named the new owner of the letter, which is described in a statement as “a unique testimony of the times.”
“This period is described in detail in the diary of Anne Frank, and the sad fate of the family, her life in the hiding-place at the back of the building and the deportation to her death, is now world famous,” explained the auction house earlier this month.
The cover also bears a return arrival mark of Sept. 10, 1942 and a backstamp “woont niet op … / nader adres in de wijk onbekend” (“does not live at … / address unknown in the neighbourhood”) with a date of Sept. 11, 1942.
FAMILY IN HIDING
On July 5, 1942, the elder Frank 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 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. 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 survived and was freed in January 1945 from the Auschwitz concentration camp. He eventually died in 1980.
“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,” explained the auction house.
The letter was part of a collection of rare documents assembled by collector Stefan Drukker.