THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) – Hannah Pick-Goslar, one of the best friends of Jewish diarist Anne Frank, has died at the age of 93, the foundation that runs the Anne Frank House Museum said.
The Anne Frank Foundation paid tribute to Pick-Goslar, who is mentioned in Anne’s world-famous diary about her life in hiding from the Nazi occupiers in the Netherlands, for helping to keep Anne’s memory alive with stories about her youth.
“Hannah Pick-Goslar meant a lot to the Anne Frank House and we have always been able to fall back on her,” the foundation said in a statement. There were no details or the cause of her death.
Pick-Goslar grew up with Anne in Amsterdam, having both families move there from Germany when Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Party came to power. The friends were separated when Anne’s family went into hiding in 1942, but reunited briefly in February 1945 at Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in Germany, just before Anne died there of typhus.
Before World War II, their families lived next door to each other in Amsterdam, and Anne and Hannah went to school together.
Pick-Goslar recalled attending her friend’s 13th birthday party and seeing a red and white checkered diary that Anne’s parents had given their daughter. Anne further filled it with her thoughts and frustrations as she hid from the Nazis in a rear building in Amsterdam. Anne’s father Otto published the diary after the war.
Pick-Goslar recounted their friendship in a book by Alison Leslie Gold called Memories of Anne Frank; Reflections of a Childhood Friend.” The book was adapted into a film which was released last year entitled My Best Friend Anne Frank.
In an interview with The Associated Press in 1998, she said of Anne: “Today everyone thinks she is a saint. but that is not the case at all.”
“She was a girl who wrote beautifully and matured quickly under extraordinary circumstances,” Pick-Goslar said.
Pick-Goslar is mentioned in the diary by the name Anne gave her: Hanneli.
On June 14, 1942, Anne wrote: “Hanneli and Sanne used to be my two best friends. The people who saw us together always said: ‘There goes Anne, Hanne and Sanne.’”
The Anne Frank Foundation said Pick-Goslar “shared memories of their friendship and the Holocaust well into old age. She believed that everyone should know what happened to her and her friend Anne after the last diary entry. No matter how awful the story is.”
Pick-Goslar last saw her friend in early February 1945, about a month before Anne died of typhus in Bergen-Belsen and two months before the Allies liberated the camp.
They were held in different sections separated by a high barbed wire fence. Now and then they crowded against the fence to talk to each other.
“I don’t have anyone,” Anne once said to her friend, crying.
Back then, the Nazis had shaved off Anne’s dark curls. “She’s always loved playing with her hair,” Pick-Goslar told the AP. “I remember her curling her hair with her fingers. It must have killed her to lose it.”
Pick-Goslar emigrated to what is now Israel in 1947, where she became a nurse, married and had three children. Her family grew to 11 grandchildren and 31 great-grandchildren.
She used to say about her large family: “That’s my answer to Hitler,” according to the Anne Frank Foundation.
Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, transcribed or redistributed without permission.