Author, Holocaust survivor knew Anne Frank
By TOBY STERLING Associated Press July 13, 2012 5:12AM
FILE - In this March 12, 2010 file photo Berthe Meijer is seen during an interview with the Associated Press at her home in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Dutch Jewish author Berthe Meijer, whose life intersected tangentially with that of Anne Frank, has died. She was 74. Her husband, Gary Goldschneider, said Wednesday, July 11, 2012 that Meijer died of cancer on July 10. Meijer grew up on the same Amsterdam street where Frank attended a Montessori school. They were imprisoned in Bergen-Belsen at the same time, though Meijer was years younger. In 2010, Meijer published a memoir titled Life After Anne Frank, describing her post-war fortunes as perhaps resembling what might have happened to Frank, had she lived. (AP Photo/Evert Elzinga, File)
Updated: August 14, 2012 6:34AM
AMSTERDAM — Dutch Jewish author Berthe Meijer, whose life intersected with Anne Frank’s, has died. She was 74.
Her husband, Gary Goldschneider, said Wednesday that Ms. Meijer died of cancer July 10.
Before the war, Ms. Meijer lived on the same Amsterdam street in a Jewish neighborhood where Frank attended a Montessori school.
Their families both attempted to hide during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands but were caught and deported. They were imprisoned in Bergen-Belsen at the same time, though Ms. Meijer was years younger.
Frank died just two weeks before the camp was liberated in 1945; Ms. Meijer survived.
In 2010, Ms. Meijer published a memoir titled Life After Anne Frank, with the intention of comparing her own post-war fortunes as perhaps resembling what might have happened to Frank, had she lived.
Ms. Meijer’s life was far from easy. She had some success as a writer, but her emotional scars never healed.
For better or worse, Ms. Meijer’s decision to compare herself to Frank — whose diary has become the most-read document to emerge from the Holocaust — overshadowed the rest of Ms. Meijer’s memoir, at least initially.
Ms. Meijer endured withering skepticism over a claim in the book that Frank entertained her and other Dutch-speaking children with fairy tales while in the camp.
However, key parts of her story held up to scrutiny, including testimony from other survivors that Anne and Margot Frank, among others, sometimes took care of Dutch children while in the camp; that in addition to her diary, Frank had once attempted writing fairy tales, and that a child of Ms. Meijer’s age — she was 7 when the camp was liberated — could indeed have formed memories of the experience, having known Frank in passing before the war.
She is survived by Goldschneider, a sister, a son and two grandchildren.