Did Anne Frank have pets?

Did Anne Frank have pets? Yes, Anne Frank was a ‘cat owner’. In all there were four cats in her life but she was the caregiver of one cat: Moortje, who was her cat. We are unsure of the cat’s gender but Frank referred to her as female (see below). The family adopted the Moortje in 1942. Moortje did not accompany Anne Frank into hiding we am told. She had to leave her with a friend which caused Frank much anguish.

“I miss Moortje every moment of the day and no one knows how often I think of her; whenever I think of her I get tears in my eyes. Moortje is such a darling and I love her so much, I dream up all sorts of plans in which she comes back again”, Anne wrote in her diary on 12 July 1942.

A second cat in her life was Mouschi (a.k.a. ‘Mushi’) who was Peter’s cat. Peter van Pels became close to Anne Frank when in hiding. Mushi was rehomed by the office cleaner after Peter was arrested and taken away. Mushi was confused it seems and the cleaner stepped in. This information comes direct in an interview from Miep Gies, the woman who risked her to hide Anne Frank and her family from the Nazis.

Moffie was the warehouse cat. He was a big, black-and-white male. This cat’s name is referred to as ‘Boche’. This is what the French and English called the Germans. Frank did not call this cat Boche we are told. He fought with Tommy who was named after the British soldiers.

Tommy was another cat in the life of Anne Frank who apparently was not with Frank when she was in hiding. Note: this page has been upgraded and improved on several occasions. The source for the above is: geocities.ws/afdiary/cats.html. It looks like reliable information. They relied on the following references: Anne Frank Remembered: the Story of the Woman who Helped to Hide the Frank Family; The Diary of Anne Frank: the Critical Edition; Anne Frank: The Biography and Footsteps of Anne Frank.

Did Anne Frank have pets?
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Anne Frank

In brief, this is a little bit about Anne Frank. She was a German Jewish girl who wrote a diary, in the Dutch language, which was posthumously published in 1947: Diary of a Young Girl. It became a symbol of Jewish suffering during World War II. With her family she fled Germany to escape Nazi persecution. They went to Amsterdam where this 13-year-old girl was forced to go into hiding in a warehouse attic (secret annex) containing concealed rooms in 1942 as the country was under German occupation. The family shared the secret hiding place with three cats for 25 months until betrayed by an informer.

The hiding place was behind a bookcase in the building were Anne’s father worked. They were arrested by the Gestapo in August 1944. There were transported to a concentration camp. In November 1944 Anne and her sister, Margot, were transferred from Auschwitz to Bergen-Belsen where they died a few months later probably of typhus.

Anne Frank is one of the most discussed Jewish victims of the Holocaust.

Anne Frank’s Three Cats

When she entered her hiding place with her family there were two cats already there. One of them was a cat that she named Boche because he was an aggressive warehouse cat “always the first to attack”. The second cat was also an attic cat who was forced to retaliate to Boche’s aggression. Apparently, he won in the end so she called him Tommy (I presume after the nickname for the victorious British soldiers). The third cat was named Mouschi. He was the pet cat of the 15-year-old son of family friends who joined the Frank family in hiding in the attic.

It is interesting that these three cats lived as full-time indoor cats out of necessity and it is beautiful that they no doubt brightened up the lives of the Frank family in extremely stressful times.

The Building Where Anne Frank Lived

Just a quick aside to say that I have visited the building where Anne Frank lived. It is now a museum and a very carefully preserved and beautifully presented museum it is by the way. It is a very poignant place to visit. I recall the area around it being very well-kept and the whole place had that classic Dutch ambience.

Sources: Dr Desmond Morris’s Cat World, Wikipedia, history.com, damsterdamer.com.

Who revealed the whereabouts of Anne Frank to the Germans?

Update March 23, 2022. The book which revealed the following information has been pulled by the Dutch publisher after it was discredited by a number of historians. That does not mean it is wrong. I guess the publisher is playing safe.

It is convenient to add to this article the results of a recent investigation as portrayed in both a film and a book: The Betrayal of Anne Frank. After much investigation, they decided that the person who told the Germans the whereabouts of Anne Frank was a man whose name is Van den Bergh. He was a Jewish Dutch notary who had been a member of the Jewish Council.

The Betrayal of Anne Frank
The Betrayal of Anne Frank. The book.

The Germans had insisted that the Jews established a council to administer the affairs of the Jews. They were controversial because some thought that they were assisting the Holocaust. But they did do genuinely useful work. Somehow, Van den Bergh had managed to get himself assigned as a non-Jew. His business had been confiscated and the new owner thought that he had been tricked. As a consequence, he managed to get Van den Bergh redesignated as a Jew.

As a consequence, he was without protection but he did not get sent to the camps and neither did his daughter. The question is why. The theory from the cold case team is that he used as leverage his knowledge of the addresses of hidden Jews which he had gained while being a member on the Jewish Council.

One of the addresses was that of Anne Frank and her family. He disclosed it to the Germans in a deal to remain in Holland and avoid the concentration camps. They feel that the evidence is compelling. There were other potential betrayers of her location in the attic but this man comes out on top as the most likely culprit.

Update

A Dutch publishing house has halted the publication of a book that named the Jewish notary as the number one suspect in the investigation into who betrayed Anne Frank. The publishers decided that the needed to take a more critical stance on the allegation and in an email sent by the publisher, Ambo Anthos, which was seen by Reuters, they said:

“We await the answers from the researchers to the questions that have emerged and are delaying the decision to print another run.”

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