Anne Frank’s school friend reveals life under Nazis

A new documentary on the National Geographic Channel has revealed the story of Nanette Konig, one of Anne Frank’s school friends who know Anne and her family well and experienced life under the Nazis in Amsterdam.

Nanette Konig is now 85 and lives in South America. But in the 1940s she lived with her family just a few doors away from Anne Frank.

The pair went to school together and when the Nazis occupied Holland they were both sent to the Jewish Lyceum school, which was specifically set up for Jewish children since they were no longer allowed to attend normal schools.

Nanette recalls how Anne received her famous diary from her parents at a birthday party to which she and several other school friends were invited.

Anne had told Nanette how she wanted to be a writer, and planned to keep a diary every single day.

As the Nazi occupation grew more intense and Jewish families were being sent off to concentration camps, the Frank family went into hiding at Otto’s, Anne’s father, jam making building. The lived in the attic for years until they were finally found out by the Nazis and sent to Auschwitz.

The family spent a short time at Auschwitz before being moved to the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. It is here that Anne and Nanette were once again reunited.

Nanette says that she was in camp seven, while Anne was in camp eight and she had seen Anne through the barbed wire fencing that separated the two camps. Later the barbed wire was taken down and the two camps joined together, so Nanette sought out Anne and they were reunited to share each other’s stories.

Nanette says that she hardly recognised Anne, who was swamped in blankets to keep her warm and was thin and emaciated caused by malnutrition and the lice and ticks that lived in her clothing.

Just three weeks before Allied troops liberated Bergen-Belsen, Anne, who was by then 15, and her mother Margot died from Typhus, which was caused by the lice and tick infestation.

Nanette says she was lucky to survive, and today spends her time touring the world to speak at conferences and events about the Holocaust. She says that she feels it is her duty for everyone who lost their lives at concentration camps during the war, the Mail Online reports.

Nanette met Anne’s father Otto after the war and said that he was considering publishing Anne’s diary. Nanette encouraged him to do so, and Anne’s diary was published in 1947. Since then it has sold more than 30 million copies and is available in almost 70 languages.

Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE