Threat of War
German forces enter Warsaw in late September 1939.
Via their friends and acquaintances, the Frank family stays up-to-date regarding developments in Nazi Germany. The discrimination against Jews continues to increase. German Jews become second-class citizens in their own country. Jewish teachers and civil servants are fired from their jobs, marriages between Jews and non-Jews are forbidden, and Jews may no longer run their own businesses.
Kristallnacht (Night of Broken Glass)
During the night of November 9, 1938, the Nazis organize a wave of violence against the Jews of Germany. More than 100 Jews are murdered during "Kristallnacht." Hundreds of synagogues and Jewish stores are destroyed, thousands of Jewish men rounded up and locked away in concentration camps and prisons. The Nazis also arrest Edith's two brothers, Julius and Walter Holländer. Because Julius fought for the Germans during World War I, he is released almost immediately. Walter is finally released on December 1, but only after he promises to leave Germany for good. After the Kristallnacht many Jews flee to The Netherlands and other countries.
Kristallnacht (Crystal Night)
During Kristallnacht (The Night of Breaking Glass) the synagogue in Aachen is destroyed. Otto and Edith Frank were married in this synagogue.
Fleeing Aachen Germany
Grandmother Höllander arrives in The Netherlands. She had already asked permission in September 1938 and she manages to leave in March 1939. She has to leave all her possessions behind in Germany. Grandmother Höllander moves in with her daughter and son in law in Amsterdam.
Walter goes to the Netherlands and ends up in a camp for Jewish refugees. Julius stays in Aachen until he can arrange a visa with the help of a family member in the United States. He departs in April 1939, followed by Walter in December.
War breaks out
National Socialist Germany has built up a large army. In 1938 Germany annexes Austria; the ‘Anschluss’. On 15 March 1939 German troops occupy Prague and Czechoslovakia is annexed.
On September 1, 1939, the German Army attacks Poland. This signals the beginning of World War II. The Dutch population and the refugees from Germany hope the Netherlands will remain neutral, just like they were during World War I.
The German army at the Grebbeberg
Netherlands is occupied
What everyone fears comes to pass on May 10 1940: the German Army attacks the Netherlands. After four days of fighting, German planes bombard the center of Rotterdam. When the German high command threatens to bomb other cities, the Dutch Army surrenders. The occupation of the Netherlands begins on May 15, 1940.
The centre of Rotterdam is bombed and destroyed in 1940.