History

Historic documents about our founding

Historic documents about our founding


Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect has thousands of documents that date to our organization’s founding. Among them are newly discovered documents that show Otto Frank, Anne’s father, was our founding President in 1959 when we were an American “friends” organization for the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam; and that in 1977, Otto Frank helped two Vice Presidents who had served with him at our organization since 1959 turn it into the independent organization we are today.

Here are the details and documentation:

Our organization began in 1959 as the Anne Frank Foundation, Inc. in New York City. The Anne Frank Foundation in New York City was the American “friends” organization designed to raise money for the Anne Frank House, Anne’s hiding place in Amsterdam during Nazi occupation that opened as a museum on May 3, 1960.

This document, dated March 13, 1959, shows that Otto Frank, Anne’s father, was President of the Anne Frank Foundation, Inc. at 12 East 94th Street in New York City.

This document, dated March 30, 1959, is Otto Frank’s letter of permission to the Anne Frank Foundation, Inc. in New York City allowing the Foundation to use Otto’s name for fundraising. In this letter from Otto, he differentiates between the “Anne Frank Foundation Center in Amsterdam,” i.e. the museum soon to be called the Anne Frank House, and the “Anne Frank Foundation” at 12 East 94th Street of which Otto was President. We have this document with Otto’s original signature on file.

In 1977, our organization spun off from the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam into an independent U.S. organization with its own Board of Directors, soon to be called the Anne Frank Center. The American signatories of this Board resolution for independence include Myer Mermin as President and Max Grossman as Secretary. Mermin and Grossman were also on the March 13, 1959 letter – see above – as Vice Presidents of the founding Board of the Anne Frank Foundation, Inc. in New York City of which Otto Frank was President. Here is the 1977 resolution signed by Mermin and Grossman:

The following fundraising document from 1977 shows the newly independent American organization took on the name Anne Frank Center, shortened from the American Friends of the Anne Frank Center. The end of this document says: “Your name has been furnished to us by the Anne Frank Center, Amsterdam (i.e. the Anne Frank House museum in Amsterdam) and/or Otto Frank.”

In short, the documents show our organization was founded by Otto Frank in 1959 as President of the Anne Frank Foundation in New York City, the American “friends” organization of the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam, until our organization became independent of the Anne Frank House in 1977. In 1977, two of Otto’s Vice Presidents from 1959, Myer Mermin and Max Grossman, signed the resolution for our organization’s independence, as they continued to work with Otto in 1977 to raise money for our newly independent organization.

In 2016, our organization expanded its name to Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect to reflect our expanded mission. Today we not only educate America about Anne Frank’s life and legacy and the lessons of the Holocaust, but we also inspire Americans to stand up for social justice to achieve the kinder and gentler world of which Anne Frank dreamed.

In this interview Otto did before he passed away in 1980, he was asked what the legacy of Anne Frank institutions should be: “In short I should say, to fight against prejudice and discrimination, and especially the hate against people of different race and religion.” Here is the interview: