Bep Voskuijl

Bep (Elisabeth) Voskuijl was born on July 5, 1919. She was often referred to by her nickname Elli and was the oldest in a family of eight children. The Voskuijl family was Nederlands Hervormd (Dutch Reformed) and the children attended Christian schools. According to her three-year-younger sister Willy van der Vennen-Voskuijl: “After finishing elementary school, Bep worked at different sorts of jobs. She worked as a servant, in a restaurant, and in workshop sewing. But she didn’t like any of these jobs, so she studied nights to better herself and to become a qualified office clerk.”

From the age of eighteen until the age of twenty-eight Bep works for Otto Frank’s firm. She hardly notices preparations being made to go into hiding. She sees that furniture is being piled up in the annex of the office building but does not know why, until Otto Frank tells her the reason sometime around the end of June 1942.

 

Help for the people hiding in the Annex

Bep delivers milk and other needed commodities, as well as clothing. In addition, using her own name, she orders correspondence courses for those in hiding. In this way, Anne, Margot, and Peter are able to learn shorthand. Bep also arranges a Latin course for Margot. Bep has dinner with the people in hiding often because there are so many mouths to feed at home.

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Anne writes about Bep:

Anne often writes about Bep. Every time Bep brings along something special for Anne like fruit, flowers, a notebook, or a photograph of the Dutch Royal family, Anne records this in her diary. In a character sketch of Bep that Anne gives in 1943, the word “silent” does not appear. “She can be characterized as follows: cheerful, good-humored, kind and willing. (August 9, 1943) On her days off, Bep often goes to the movies with her boyfriend and beforehand she discusses the film stars in detail with Anne, who keeps abreast of all the film reviews.

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Personal questions

Many years later, in 1959, Bep serves as a witness at the Court of Lübeck (Germany) in a case against two Holocaust-deniers and neo-Nazis who claim that Anne’s diary is a forgery. “Even though Anne was almost ten years younger than I was, at times I almost had the inclination to tell her things that were very private. I know that she valued hearing about such intimacies. She asked me very personal questions on a number of occasions. I resisted telling her everything because I knew she was keeping a diary and I didn’t want her to write about personal matters, which I might have revealed.”

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July 5, 1919

Born in Amsterdam.

1922-1937

After elementary school, Bep first becomes a maid, and later works in a restaurant and as a seamstress.

1937

Bep goes to work as a shorthand typist at Opekta, Otto Frank’s company.

1938

Bep introduces her father to Otto Frank. Her father becomes a supervisor in the Opekta warehouse.

June 1942

Bep is told about the plans to go into hiding.

1942-1945

Bep keeps the people in hiding supplied with milk, clothes, language courses and other things.

May 25, 1944

Bep gets engaged to Bertus Hulsman, but shortly afterwards breaks off the engagement.

November 1945

Bep’s father dies.

May 15, 1946

Bep marries Cor van Wijk. They have four children: Ton, Cor, Joop and Anne-Marie.

1947

Bep leaves Opekta.

1954

Bep is a witness at the Landesgericht (‘National Court’) in Lübeck, Germany. She testifies to the authenticity of The Diary of Anne Frank in a case against a number of people who claim that the diary is a forgery.

May 6, 1983

Bep dies at the age of 63 in Amsterdam.

Johan Voskuijl Bep’s father

Johan works for Otto Frank as a warehouse manager.

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Miep Gies Jan Gies' wife

Miep is a secretary at Otto Frank’s company, Opekta

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Wat Anne over Bep schrijft

Bep is geen achterhuis-familielid, maar wel een huis- en tafelgenote. Bep heeft een gezonde eetlust. Laat niets staan, is niet kieskeurig. Met alles kan men haar plezieren en dat juist pleziert ons. Vrolijk en goedgehumeurd gewillig en goedig, dat zijn haar kenmerken.