Anne Frank's Family

My father, the most adorable father I've ever seen, didn't marry my mother until he was thirty-six and she was twenty-five. My sister Margot was born in Frankfurt am Main in Germany in 1926. I was born on June 12, 1929."
Anne Frank

Otto Frank and Edith Holländer are married in Aachen on May 12, 1925. After a honeymoon in Italy, they go to live in Frankfurt am Main. Nine months later, on February 16, 1926, their first daughter is born: Margot Betti. Anne(lies) Marie follows around three years later. Otto Frank’s family has lived in Frankfurt am Main for generations. Edith’s family originates from Aachen, close to the Dutch border.

Otto Frank

Otto Frank is born on May 12, 1889 in Frankfurt am Main. He has an older brother Robert (1886), a younger brother Herbert (1891) and a sister Helene (1893). His father Michael heads the family bank, which specializes in currency trading. The Franks are liberal Jews. Otto does not attend a Jewish school, he goes to a public high school called the Lessing Gymnasium.

Study and Internship

After completing high school, Otto studies economics at the University of Heidelberg for a few months, but quickly interrupts his study. He works at a bank for a year and then has the opportunity, via a school friend, to do an internship at Macy’s Department Store in New York City. Otto leaves for the States at the beginning of September 1909. Unfortunately, he must return shortly after his arrival due his father's death on September 17, 1909.

Window Frames and Horseshoes

After a short time, Otto Frank once again leaves for the United States. This visit lasts two years. He first works for Macy’s Department Store and then in a bank. In the fall of 1911, Otto returns to Germany. He lands a job working for a company in Düsseldorf that manufactures window frames, then he changes over to a company that produces horseshoes for the German Army.


World War One begins in 1914. Otto Frank is drafted into the German Army that next year, just like his brothers. His mother and sister work as volunteers at a military hospital in Frankfurt. Otto is sent to the western front and during the war is promoted to the rank of lieutenant. The war comes to an end in 1918, having claimed a million lives. Otto Frank and his brothers, as well as his mother and sister, survive the war.

In Love, Engaged, Married

After World War One, Otto Frank reluctantly takes over the family bank from his mother and brother Herbert. Herbert has not shown a real talent for banking and the family business does not interest his older brother Robert. Otto Frank meets Edith Holländer in 1924. They announce their engagement on April 5, 1925. A Jewish wedding is planned, a month later in the Aachen synagogue, at the request of the Holländer family.

Edith Frank-Holländer

Edith Holländer is born in Aachen on January 16, 1900.
She has two older brothers, named Julius (1894) and
Walter (1897), and an older sister called Bettina (1898).
The Holländer family celebrates the Jewish holidays and observes Jewish dietary law by keeping kosher. The Holländers are leading members of Aachen’s Jewish community. Father Holländer trades in scrap metal and
owns several industrial processing plants.


Edith Holländer attends the Protestant Victoriaschule, a private school. In 1914, shortly after the outbreak of World War One, there is an unexpected family tragedy: Edith's sister Betti dies of appendicitus. Twelve years later, in memory of her sister, Edith will give her first child Margot the middle name Betti. In 1916, Edith graduates from high school.

Private Balls and Engagements

Not much is known about the years following Edith’s graduation from high school or how she and Otto Frank first meet. There are, however, photos of carefree vacations on the German coast. In her diary, Anne later writes about her mother’s life: “Mother's family wasn't as wealthy, but still fairly well-off, and we've listened open-mouthed to stories of private balls, dinners and engage-
ment parties with 250 guests.”