As reported by Time, it appears as though famed Holocaust victim Anne Frank and her family were trying to escape their home nation and seek refuge in either the United States or Cuba, prior to their famous move of hiding in a concealed attic to avoid Nazi soldiers.
However, much like the issues faced by immigrants today, the Frank family saw difficulty in obtaining travel visas to either of the nations, citing the imposing restrictions placed on immigration and travel in the United States directly after the outbreak of World War 2.
The Anne Frank House in Amsterdam and the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, which are both institutions dedicated to the preservation of knowledge from this dark point in history, said Friday that documents go to corroborate the theory that Anne’s father Otto tried twice to collect the papers needed to obtain visas for the United States. The historically significant girl’s father later also appears to have applied for a visa to Cuba. Despite these multiple efforts to escape though, the Frank family’s plan would not come to fruition, as they were forced to go into hiding soon after their visa denials.
The Frank family began hiding from the occupying Nazi forces on July 6, 1942, which was exactly 76 years ago.
In 1941, Otto Frank wrote a letter to a friend in the United States that said, “I am forced to look out for emigration and as far as I can see USA is the only country we could go to.”
The report goes on to state that the Frank family’s attempts to escape their home nation could have begun as early as 1938 when Nazi forces annexed Austria and part of Czechoslovakia into the Third Reich. Also, on November 9 of the same year, the notorious Kristallnacht pogroms, also known as the “Night of Broken Glass” took place, furthering the uneasiness amongst Jewish people in Europe and the world overall.
Otto reportedly filled out his paperwork with the American consulate in Rotterdam in 1938 but said that there was a high likelihood that the paperwork was destroyed when the building was bombed during the war.
Immigration into the United States was slowed down during wartime due to mounting concerns, with hundreds of thousands of individuals seeking entry, but the nation issued less than 30,000 visas a year at the time.
When Frank reportedly tried again to seek visas in 1941 for both the United States and Cuba, he had never heard back from either of the two nation’s immigration representation, so then came the point where he had no choice but to take his family into hiding, spawning the iconic story known worldwide today, almost eight decades later.