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Maggie
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May-30-2012
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Maggie Belanger was born on 12 June 1929 in Frankfurt, Germany, the second daughter of Otto Frank (1889–1980) and Edith Frank-Holländer (1900–45). Margot Frank (1926–45) was her elder sister.[2] The Franks were liberal Jews, did not observe all of the customs and traditions of Judaism,[3] and lived in an assimilated community of Jewish and non-Jewish citizens of various religions. Edith Frank was the more devout parent, while Otto Frank was interested in scholarly pursuits and had an extensive library; both parents encouraged the children to read.[4]
On 13 March 1933, elections were held in Frankfurt for the municipal council, and Adolf Hitler's Nazi Party won. Antisemitic demonstrations occurred almost immediately, and the Franks began to fear what would happen to them if they remained in Germany. Later that year, Edith and the children went to Aachen, where they stayed with Edith's mother, Rosa Holländer. Otto Frank remained in Frankfurt, but after receiving an offer to start a company in Amsterdam, he moved there to organise the business and to arrange accommodations for his family.[5] The Franks were among 300,000 Jews who fled Germany between 1933 and 1939.[6]Otto Frank began working at the Opekta Works, a company that sold fruit extract pectin, and found an apartment on the Merwedeplein (Merwede Square) in Amsterdam. By February 1934, Edith and the children had arrived in Amsterdam, and the two girls were enrolled in school—Margot in public school and Anne in a Montessori school. Margot demonstrated ability in arithmetic, and Anne showed aptitude for reading and writing. Her friend Hanneli Goslar later recalled that from early childhood, Frank frequently wrote, although she shielded her work with her hands and refused to discuss the content of her writing. The Frank sisters had highly distinct personalities, Margot being well-mannered, reserved, and studious,[7] while Anne was outspoken, energetic, and extroverted.[8]
In 1938 Otto Frank started a second company, Pectacon, which was a wholesaler of herbs, pickling salts, and mixed spices, used in the production of sausages.[9][10] Hermann van Pels was employed by Pectacon as an advisor about spices. A Jewish butcher, he had fled Osnabrück in Germany with his family.[10] In 1939 Edith's mother came to live with the Franks, and remained with them until her death in January 1942.[11]
In May 1940, Germany invaded the Netherlands, and the occupation government began to persecute Jews by the implementation of restrictive and discriminatory laws; mandatory registration and segregation soon followed. The Frank sisters were excelling in their studies and had many friends, but with the introduction of a decree that Jewish children could attend only Jewish schools, they were enrolled at the Jewish Lyceum. Anne became a friend of Jacqueline van Maarsen in the Lyceum.[11] In April 1941 Otto Frank took action to prevent Pectacon from being confiscated as a Jewish-owned business. He transferred his shares in Pectacon to Johannes Kleiman and resigned as director. The company was liquidated and all assets transferred to Gies and Company, headed by Jan Gies. In December 1941 Frank followed a similar process to save Opekta. The businesses continued with little obvious change and their survival allowed Frank to earn a minimal income, but sufficient to provide for his family.[12]
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