Anne Frankel was born in 1920 in Esslingen, Germany as Anne Liebel. The family was Jewish but Anne’s parents decided to observe Christian holidays, and Anne was brought up Protestant. Her father made this decision to protect the family.
In Esslingen, she was bullied for her Jewish heritage upon the rise of Nazism. In 1936, her family sent her to England where she was, ironically, mistreated by the British for her German heritage.
For years, Anne was unsure about her parents’ fate. Anne suspected they had died when the Red Cross returned a letter that she sent to them. Eventually she learned that they were sent to Stuttgart and then to the Treblinka gas chambers.
During the war years, Anne was very poor and worked tirelessly to earn money for school. She worked for the British Army and was enlisted by the American army after the war. They sent Anne to France and Germany. To her surprise, she was stationed in Esslingen, her hometown, for two years.
Anne returned to England and eventually immigrated to the United States. She boarded a ship to New York and met her brother who she had not seen for nine years. Judaism became important in Anne’s life.
The family was invited back to Esslingen for a ceremony in which brass stones were set in the pavement with the names of Anne, her brother and Jews who had perished in the Holocaust. Anne set a tombstone in Esslingen dedicated to her parents.
Listen to Anne Frankel discuss her personal experience with anti Semitism