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The Hidden Life of Otto Frank, by Carol Ann Lee

This was an interesting book – I learned more about Otto Frank, and well as events in Amsterdam and the development of the publishing of the diary, the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam and the Anne Frank Foundation in Switzerland.
From Publishers Weekly
Anne Frank and her family are hallowed symbols of all the lives lost in the Holocaust, but the identity of the person who revealed the secret annex in which they hid for two years from the Nazis has always remained a mystery. Lee (Roses from the Earth: The Biography of Anne Frank) has, through vigorous, dedicated detective work, uncovered his probable identity. More important, she has uncovered a startling aspect of Otto Frank’s life. According to Lee, the Franks were betrayed by Tonny (Anton) Ahlers, a young, troubled, even thuggish, Dutch youth and Nazi informer. But there is more: in 1941, Ahlers saved the Frank family from deportation, but he also began blackmailing Otto after discovering that Frank’s food and spice business was selling to the German army. Ahlers’s blackmail continued until Otto’s death in 1980, during the years when Anne’s diary became famous and Otto could not risk being seen as a war profiteer. Lee’s plain but compelling reporting style suits this material, which is presented as part historical analysis and part mystery. The power of the book, however, resides in her rich, human portrait of Otto Frank, who can now be seen as more than simply "Anne’s father." Lee’s instinct for displaying the humanity of her subjects is best attested to by her portrayal of Tonny Ahlers, which is so engaging and frighteningly complex that readers will want to know more about him.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist
Anne Frank’s father, Otto, was the only member of the famous Amsterdam family to survive the concentration camps, and his postwar years were devoted to preserving Anne’s memory by publishing her diary–perhaps the most widely read Holocaust work ever–and establishing a charitable foundation in her name. Life after Anne was as surrounded by controversy as it was filled with sorrow. Otto was criticized for his editing of his daughter’s diary, chastised for dramatic adaptations downplaying the family’s Jewishness, and even accused of wartime opportunism because of his company’s contract with the Wehrmacht. The question of who betrayed the Franks to the authorities continues to be a hot topic in the Netherlands. This selection attempts to clear Otto’s name while filling in the details of his life. Incorporating new interviews and previously unpublished fragments of Otto’s own diary, Lee fingers a previously unsuspected informer, and her convincing detective work may, 60 years later, finally be the last word. Perhaps more important, her biography illustrates the complicated entanglement of resistance and complicity that still haunts Amsterdam. Brendan Driscoll Copyright © American Library Association.……

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