Hannah Pick-Goslar met Anne Frank in 1933 in the Netherlands, where she had fled with her family from Nazi Germany. They became best friends, but were soon to get separated due to the outbreak of war and the exclusion and persecution of Jews. They met once again for the last time – at Bergen-Belsen. Hannah and her sister survived as the only members of their extended family.
Hannah Pick-Goslar was born to a religious Jewish family in Berlin. Her father, a soldier in World War I, worked for Otto Braun, Prime minister of Prussia (between 1920 and1932). When the Nazis came into power in 1933 the family fled from Nazi Germany to Amsterdam, Netherlands, where in 1940 Hannah’s sister was born. In Amsterdam her first friend and best friend was Anne Frank. They lived in the same neighborhood, went to the same school and spent their afternoons together. As the time passed by the anti-Jewish laws got stricter. When Anne Frank’s sister was about to be sent to a “working camp in the East” the family went into hiding, while Hannah thought they had fled to Switzerland. Hannah and her family were the last ones to be sent away to a transit camp.
Their Paraguayan Passport got them on an exchange list to Palestine, which bought them more time to stay at home. In 1943 Hannah, her sister, father and grandparents were sent to Westerbork, a transit camp in the Netherlands. From Westerbork they were sent to Bergen-Belsen, and not to Auschwitz or Sobibór, like most of the prisoners in the camp due to their foreign passport. In Bergen-Belsen, Hannah’s sister got very sick but thanks to the wife of her fathers’ friend, she recovered. Hannah and her sister were placed in a camp for prisoners with foreign passports. At that camp there was a fence and behind it was the “less privileged” camp. It was not allowed to talk to the prisoners on the other side. One day Hannah learned that Anne Frank, her old friend, was in the other camp and they managed to talk. Hannah tried to help Anne and shared food with her. The following day Hannah and her sister were taken to another camp, but on the way the Russian army attacked the train, and they fled away to a little village nearby until the end of the war. She met Anne’s father after the war in the hospital where she was placed, and learned that Anne did not survive the war. Otto Frank took care of the sisters and helped them to cross the border to Switzerland, where their uncle was living and in 1947 Hannah immigrated to Israel. Hannah and her sister are the only members of the family who survived. Their father and grandmother died in Bergen-Belsen and the grandfather in Westerbork.
An interview is available for further readings on Hannah Pick-Goslars’ life and her recollections of Anne Frank, her best friend: Read more.