Hannah Pick-Goslar, whose friendship with Anne Frank began in kindergarten, has died. She was 93.
Pick-Goslar, whose memoir “My Friend Anne Frank” is slated to be published next summer, died at home in Jerusalem on Oct. 28, according to The New York Times.
After the Nazis came to power in 1933, Pick-Goslar’s family eventually ended up in Amsterdam, where they lived next door to the Frank family, according to the Anne Frank House.
Their friendship bloomed in kindergarten. On the first day, Pick-Goslar recalled the relief she felt on seeing Frank. “[Anne] turned around and ran into my arms and I ran into hers, and from then on we were friends,” she once recalled in an interview with Scholastic.
In one entry from her diary, dated June 15, 1942, Frank wrote that her friend “is a bit on the strange side.”
“She’s usually shy – outspoken at home, but reserved around other people. She blabs whatever you tell her to her mother. But she says what she thinks, and lately I’ve come to appreciate her a great deal,” read an entry published by the Anne Frank House.
The two friends were separated when Frank’s family went into hiding in the Secret Annex in 1942, although Pick-Goslar was told that the family went to Switzerland.
In February 1944, Pick-Goslar and her family were deported and eventually taken to the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, according to the Anne Frank House. There, the two friends met shortly before Frank’s death.
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Their last encounter was through a barbed-wire fence.
“We stood there, two young girls, and we cried,” Pick-Goslar once recalled in an interview published in the Anne Frank Magazine.
After meeting three or four times this way, they never saw each other again. “The fact that I survived and she didn’t is just a cruel accident,” she shared.
A senior researcher at the Anne Frank House said that Pick-Goslar was one of the last people to see Frank alive, before she died of typhus just two months before the camp was liberated, according to The Washington Post.
Surviving with her sister, Gabi, Pick-Goslar emigrated to present-day Israel, where she became a nurse, according to the Anne Frank House. She went on to welcome three children, 11 grandchildren and 31-great grandchildren, which she called her “answer to Hitler.”
Although it was painful to revisit the horrors she experienced in her past, Pick-Goslar traveled around the world to share her memories, reported The Washington Post.
“Today everyone thinks she was someone holy, but this is not at all the case,” she once told The Associated Press. “She was a girl who wrote beautifully and matured quickly during extraordinary circumstances.”
In addition to her forthcoming memoir, set to be published on what would have been Frank’s 94th birthday, Pick-Goslar’s story is the subject of 1997’s “Memories of Anne Frank: Reflections of a Childhood Friend,” which was released as a Dutch film on Netflix last year, per The Washington Post.
“Hannah Pick-Goslar meant a lot to the Anne Frank House, and we could always call on her,” the museum wrote in a statement. “We offer Hannah’s relatives and friends our deepest sympathy and sincere condolences. May her memory be for blessing.”