Newly disclosed letters written by Anne Frank's father illustrate his desperate attempts to get his family out of Nazi-occupied Netherlands, Time magazine reported on its Web site.
The YIVO Institute for Jewish Research, a New York-based institution that focuses on the history and culture of Eastern European Jews, plans to release the roughly 80 documents Feb. 14, according to Time.com. A telephone message left at the institute early Thursday was not returned.
Since the English publication of "Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl" in 1952, and its subsequent reprintings as "The Diary of Anne Frank," millions of readers worldwide have felt connected to the girl who matured in its pages from innocent childhood into her precocious, sometimes rebellious teens.
The documents include letters that Otto Frank wrote to relatives, friends and officials between April 30, 1941, and Dec. 11, 1941, when Germany declared war on the U.S., Time said.
Written when the U.S. consulate in the Netherlands had closed, the letters show how Otto Frank investigated potential escape routes through Spain to Portugal, attempted to secure visas to Paris and tried to arrange for his family to go to the U.S. or Cuba, according to the magazine.
The family took refuge in a neighbor's Amsterdam attic in July 1942, hiding there for more than two years before being arrested. Anne Frank described the family's life in hiding in her diary, which has sold an estimated 25 million copies.
Patricia Bosboom, of the Anne Frank House museum in Amsterdam, said officials there had heard about the discovery of the letters but had not seen them. But she said they would fit with the general picture that's known about Otto Frank's many efforts to get the family out of Europe.
"We do know about that," she said.
The letters also include correspondence from Otto Frank's U.S. relatives and a friend, Nathan Straus Jr., the son of the founder of Macy's department store, according to Time.
The letters were initially held by the New York City-based Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, which gradually transferred its archives to the YIVO Institute between 1948 and 1974. A volunteer archivist at the YIVO Institute discovered Otto Frank's letters more than two years ago, but the institute has kept the find quiet while exploring copyright and other legal issues, Time said.
The disclosure came as a surprise to Bernd "Buddy" Elias, Anne Frank's cousin and the president of the Anne Frank Foundation in Basel, Switzerland. The organization, established by Otto Frank, holds the rights to Anne Frank's writings, according to its Web site.
Elias said the YIVO Institute had never asked the foundation about rights to the letters.
"We would love to have them in our archive. I mean, we are the heirs of Otto Frank," Elias told The Associated Press.
Anne Frank died of typhus at age 15 in a concentration camp at Bergen-Belsen, Germany, in 1945. Her father returned to the Netherlands to collect his daughter's notes and published them in the Netherlands in 1947. An English-language version followed in 1952.
Associated Press writers Frank Jordans in Geneva, Switzerland, and Toby Sterling in Amsterdam, Netherlands, contributed to this report.
On the Net: