The story is one that is envisioned by many: a relative, an old
woman who has lived in the same home for a lifetime, passes away,
her death prompting the inevitable task of sorting through her
effects by her surviving family. But in the attic in this
particular house, a treasure trove of historic importance is found.
Rarely does this become an actuality, but when Helene Elias died,
no one could put a price on what she left behind.
Helene Elias was born Helene Frank, sister to Otto Frank, and
therefore aunt to Anne Frank. Ensconced upstairs in the house she
inherited from her mother, and eventually passed on to her son,
Buddy Elias, Anne's cousin and childhood playmate, was the
documented legacy of the Frank family: a vast collection of photos,
letters, drawings, poems, and postcards preserved throughout
decades-a cache of over 6,000 documents in all.
Chronicled by Buddy's wife, Gertrude, and renowned German author
Mirjam Pressler, these findings weave an indelible, engaging, and
endearing portrait of the family that shaped Anne Frank. They wrote
to one another voluminously; recounted summer holidays, and wrote
about love and hardships. They reassured one another during the
terrible years and waited anxiously for news after the war had
ended. Through these letters, they rejoiced in new life, and
honored the memories of those they lost.
Anne's family believed themselves to ordinary members of Germany's
bourgeoisie. That they were wrong is part of history, and we
celebrate them here with this extraordinary account.
Insert Authors' photo: © Jürgen Bauer
Mirjam Pressler is one of Germany's most beloved authors. She was
the German translator of Anne Frank's diary.