Published January 8, 2010
Anne Frank’s Childhood Friend: Hannah Pick Goslar
by: Nathan Weissler
  Issue: 11.01
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In November 2009, I interviewed Anne Frank’s close childhood friend Mrs. Hannah Pick-Goslar by telephone from my home in Chevy Chase, Maryland, USA. (Mrs. Pick-Goslar was at home in Jerusalem.) We discussed her friendship with Anne Frank and other subjects. They were best friends from 1933 until 1942, when Anne went into hiding. As later mentioned, they had a reunion in Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in 1945.

Hannah (“Hanneli”) Elizabeth Goslar was born on November 12, 1928, in Berlin, Germany. She was the firstborn of Ruth Judith Klee and Hans Goslar. Ruth Goslar later had a second daughter, Gabi, born in 1940. A third child was later born who sadly died in childbirth along with Hannah‘s mother. Hans Goslar had a high position in the pre-Nazi German government.

The Goslars were committed and observant Jews. Indeed, in Germany Hans Goslar helped found the Mizrachi, a religious Zionist group. At one point, Hannah’s father turned down a job opportunity in England because he would have had to work on Shabbat.

When Adolf Hitler assumed the Chancellorship of Germany in 1933, the Goslars immigrated to Amsterdam, Holland. The Goslars moved to the same apartment complex as Anne Frank‘s family who immigrated at about the same time. Shortly thereafter, Anne and Hannah became close friends. Indeed, the friendship also extended to the Frank and Goslar families. For instance, the two families would observe Shabbat together at the Goslars’ home on Friday evenings.

Thus, Hannah knew the Frank family well for many years.

In response to my question as to the personality of Anne’s older sister Margot, she described Margot as ,“…a very silent, very intelligent, and good-looking young lady….“ She also told me she consistently perceived Anne Frank’s father, Otto Frank, as “…always optimistic” even during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands.

Sadly, the good times steadily decreased after the May 1940 Nazi invasion. Discriminatory laws against Jews were quickly put into place. In July 1942, the Frank family went into hiding. In the early morning hours of June 20, 1943, Hannah, her father, sister Gabi and her grandparents were arrested by the Gestapo at home. The Goslars were sent to Westerbork concentration camp in Holland and ultimately to Bergen-Belsen in Germany. Hannah’s father and grandparents sadly perished. Thus, Hannah and her sister Gabi were the sole family survivors.

Also in Bergen-Belsen, Hannah had a reunion with her friend Anne Frank who was in the camp with her older sister Margot. After a few meetings, Hannah succeeded in throwing over some extra food for Anne over the barbed wire. Sadly, Anne and Margot Frank died in Bergen-Belsen in the late winter of 1945. Hannah and her sister were liberated in April 1945. In July 1945, Hannah went into a hospital in Maastricht, Holland where she remained until September. Otto Frank visited her in the hospital. During the visit, he told Hannah that Anne and Margot had died. In September 1945, Hannah returned to Amsterdam.

In December 1945, Hannah, her sister and a friend went to Switzerland. At that point, Hannah very much wanted to immigrate to what was then Palestine which she did in 1947. She married Dr. Walter Pinchas Pick and had three children. Mrs. Pick-Goslar has spoken widely throughout the years about her experiences. She has also told her story to author Alison Leslie Gold who recorded it in the book Memories of Anne Frank: Reflections of a Childhood Friend. Mrs. Pick-Goslar also tells her story in a chapter in The Last Seven Months of Anne Frank edited by Willy Lindwer, himself the son of Holocaust survivors. Hannah Pick Goslar lives in Jerusalem today.

Speaking about Anne Frank’s recent eightieth birthday (June 12, 2009), Mrs. Pick-Goslar told me that she was in Berlin on that day speaking to school groups. “Some…schools made remembrance of her,” she said, “and I had to speak there. So on her birthday I was in Germany.”

Finally, we should all understand a quote from Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel, “The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference…..And the opposite of life is not death, it’s indifference.”

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