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01/24/2020 | News release | Distributed by Public on 01/24/2020 14:18

‘My meeting with Hannah Goslar, Anne Frank’s best friend’

The United Nations General Assembly designated January 27 as International Holocaust Remembrance Day to commemorate victims of the Holocaust. Six million Jews were murdered by Germany's Nazi regime, along with 5 million non-Jews who were killed during World War II. The anniversary, marked each year since 2005, falls on the anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp in Poland by the Russian army in 1945. Anne Frank - a German-Jewish teenager who went into hiding during the Holocaust and journaled her experiences in the renowned book 'The Diary of Anne Frank' - spent a month in Auschwitz. She was later transported to Bergen-Belsen concentration camp where she died a few weeks before the liberation.

FIU mathematics professor Ada Monserrat frequently travels on semester breaks pursuing unique experiences. Below is her story about when she met Anne Frank's childhood friend.

By Ada Monserrat

Anne Frank wrote about her daily life while in hiding to avoid capture by the Nazi regime. Her writings were published after her death at the hands of the Nazis in The Diary of Anne Frank. It's a story that moved me beyond words.

I chose to travel to the 'Secret Annex' in Holland where young Anne spent two years in hiding. I saw the bookcase leading to the entrance of the annex. I was in her room, saw the pictures she left up on her wall and even got an up close look at her famous diary. But I yearned for more. I wanted to learn about this brave young girl who during a time of deprivation of youth and freedom, found a way to turn a hopeless situation into one that would bring inspiration and make a mark in the history books.

So began my journey searching for one of the few living survivors that knew Anne Frank. After the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, I ran into an article in the Jerusalem post on Holocaust survivors. Writing back and forth with the journalist about my interest, I was able to obtain information for Anne Frank's closest childhood friend, Hannah Goslar. I wrote to Hannah several times patiently waiting for a response and soon received the call I was waiting for.