After the death of her husband, Hilde Frank moved from Leipzig with her children, Anita and Reinhard, to Berlin. Here, Anita went to grammar school but, being Jewish, was forced to leave before she had completed her education. She attended a Jewish school for her final year.
Anita Frank chose one of the few professions which was still open to Jews and became a nurse. Her mother married a Swiss national. In 1939, Anita’s mother applied for British visas for her children. The visas arrived; the children were due to emigrate on 3 September 1939. But war broke out on 1 September, the borders were closed and these plans came to nothing. Anita’s mother moved to Switzerland alone and set about arranging for her children to join her there. But it took two years for her applications to be approved and by that time it was already too late.
Anita and her brother had lived with a succession of foster parents, each couple providing only a short-term home before they emigrated or were deported. For a time Anita even lived in the Jewish hospital where she worked. Reinhard also found work in the Jewish hospital as a metalworker. Anita became a senior nurse, (‘Sister Annemarie’), and was jointly in charge of a special ‘prisoners’ ward’, where Jewish patients who had been abused during detention or Gestapo questioning were treated. It is thought that she helped some patients who were in particularly acute danger to escape.
On 16 June 1943, Anita and Reinhard were deported to Theresienstadt ghetto (along with the ‘91st old people’s transport’). Here, Anita worked as an infant nurse.
On 19 October 1944, Anita Frank was deported to Auschwitz. Her brother had already been taken to another part of the camp in September.
From Auschwitz Anita was deported to Bergen-Belsen. It is uncertain when she died; two dates have been given, 17 April 1945 and 30 April 1945. On both dates, Bergen-Belsen had already been liberated.
When the SS vacated Auschwitz in January 1945, Anita’s brother Reinhard managed to flee south east together with a small group of other inmates. His flight lasted until 1 May 1945, by which time he had reached Bucharest. Reinhard Frank arrived in Basel on 24 March 1946.