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About the Book

About the Book

The Hidden Life of Frank Otto

Carol Ann Lee's The Hidden Life of Otto Frank is the definitive, astonishing portrait of a man whose story illuminates some of the most harrowing and memorable events of the 20th Century.

In the public eye, Otto Frank has always remained a one-dimensional character: the perfect father figure from The Diary of Anne Frank. Apart from a few basic facts, and his much-criticized editing of his daughter's legacy, almost nothing is known about the man behind the image. Now, Carol Ann Lee reveals startling new details about Otto Frank -- from the identity of the man who betrayed him, to Otto's shocking actions during WWII that made him a target of blackmail for the rest of his days. Probing this startling act of treachery she brings to light never-before documented information about Otto Frank and the individual who would claim responsibility -- a terrifying and complicated relationship that continued until the day Frank died.

With The Hidden Life of Otto Frank, Carol Ann Lee has presented an astonishing and moving portrait of a man whose life, both charmed and cursed, was interwoven with one of the most momentous events of the last century -- the father of Anne Frank. Based upon impeccable research into rare archives and filled with excerpts from the secret journal that he kept from the day of his liberation until his return to the Secret Annex in 1945, this landmark biography explores every facet of Frank's life. The publication of Anne Frank's diary turned this quietly heroic man into a legend, but until now, apart from a few basic facts, almost nothing has been written about Otto Frank's own extraordinary life.

The father of the most famous young girl of the twentieth century, Otto Frank was born a month before Adolf Hitler, and grew up in a wealthy German, Jewish household. In the First World War he fought for Germany -- which he believed to be his country -- as an officer in the trenches of the Somme. Lee brings to light these privileged early years, when Frank and his family were models of wholly assembled European Jewry. She also reveals the full story behind Frank's first cruelly thwarted love affair, as well as the truth about his subsequent arranged marriage to Anne's mother. After struggling to establish a business in Amsterdam, Frank and his family spent happy years together before the war. And then, came their period in hiding, their eventual betrayal and their internment in the death camps of Poland and Germany. For the first time, Frank's experiences during and after Auschwitz are told in full, drawing upon excerpts from a previously unknown journal Frank kept from the day of his liberation until his return to Amsterdam where, wholly destitute, he lost everything "except life." The subsequent delivery of his daughter's diary, and the publishing phenomenon that ensued, helped him begin to recover.

Deeply moving and powerfully honest, The Hidden Life of Otto Frank authoritatively brings into focus a little understood man.

The Hidden Life of Frank Otto
by Carol Ann Lee

  • Publication Date: October 1, 2003
  • Genres: Biography, Nonfiction
  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial
  • ISBN-10: 0060520833
  • ISBN-13: 9780060520830