Before she went into hiding, Jewish diarist Anne Frank attended school, celebrated birthdays, and fussed with her hair. Hannah Pick-Goslar witnessed those happenings—and Anne’s struggles in a Nazi concentration camp. Pick-Goslar wanted everyone to know their stories. She died last fall at age 93, a storyteller to the end.
Hannah Pick-Goslar grew up in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Before World War II, her family and the Franks lived next door to each other. Anne and Hannah attended school together.
Pick-Goslar recalled attending her friend’s 13th birthday party. She saw Anne’s parents gift her a red-and-white checkered diary. Anne filled the now-famous journal with her thoughts and frustrations while hiding from the Nazis in a secret annex.
When Anne’s family went into hiding in 1942, the friends were separated. However, they met again briefly in February 1945 at Germany’s Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. Not long after, Anne died there of typhus. (See Anne Frank’s Capture at teen.wng.org/node/2698)
After Anne’s death, her father published her diary. Pick-Goslar is mentioned, referred to by Anne’s name for her: Hanneli.
On June 14, 1942, Anne wrote: “Hanneli and Sanne used to be my two best friends. People who saw us together always used to say: ‘There goes Anne, Hanne, and Sanne.’”
Pick-Goslar helped to keep Anne’s memory alive with stories about their youth. She recounted their friendship in the book Memories of Anne Frank: Reflections of a Childhood Friend. The book is now a film titled My Best Friend Anne Frank.
In Bergen-Belsen, a barbed-wire fence separated Pick-Goslar and Anne. Sometimes, they pressed against it to speak to each other.
“I have no one,” Anne once told her friend, weeping.
At the time, the Nazis had shorn Anne’s dark locks. “She always loved to play with her hair,” Pick-Goslar said. “I remember her curling her hair with her fingers.”
Pick-Goslar last saw her friend in February 1945, about a month before Anne died. It was just two months before the Allies liberated the camp.
In 1947, Pick-Goslar immigrated to what is now Israel. She became a nurse, married, and had three children. Her family grew to include 11 grandchildren and 31 great-grandchildren. She called her large family “my answer to Hitler.”
Pick-Goslar “shared her memories of [the girls’] friendship and the Holocaust into old age,” the Anne Frank Foundation says. “She believed everyone should know what happened to her and her friend Anne after the last diary entry. No matter how terrible the story.”
A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity. — Proverbs 17:17
Why? Human friendship is a blessing people crave. Yet God Himself promises that He is “a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” (Proverbs 18:24)
Oh my word, the concentration camps were so horrible. Just hearing about them makes me shudder, they were literally the most cruel, sickening, torture....
So, so, so bad