STANDING as pale as a ghost, Anne Frank shivered as she held the stones in the numbing cold – while Nazi guards hurled insults around her.
Forced to sleep in a crowded, freezing hut with little food, the teenager soon became severely ill with scabies and was unfit to work.
This is the painful reality of the young girl’s life at first Auschwitz and then Bergen Belsen concentration camp, where she and her sister died in February 1945.
Despite her diary after catapulting her to international fame, the talented writer’s final days remained shrouded in mystery for decades.
The family spent two years in hiding before their position was given to the Nazis – allegedly by Jew Arnold van den Bergh in an attempt to save his family, according to new findings this week.
Here’s the chilling story of what happened to the Franks next.
The cold road from Auschwitz
Upon arrival at Auschwitz, each vehicle is divided into those who can work and those who will be killed.
Anne, then 15 years old, was the youngest of her group not sent directly to gas chamber.
While in the death camp, she remained with her mother, Edith, and her sister – but her father, Otto, was forced to separate from the family due to his gender identity.
Those deemed fit for work were treated by stripping off, shaving their heads and getting a number tattooed on their forearms – before being handed a striped camp uniform.
Thanks to Anne’s sociable nature, she was able to earn extra rations for the family, but soon became infected with scabies and was sent to the infirmary with Margot.
Both sisters became increasingly unwell and their mother stopped eating and passed her rations to them through a hole she made in the barracks wall.
Due to Anne’s illness, her family was not sent to the Liebau labor camp in Upper Silesia, where conditions were slightly better, in October 1944.
Later that month, Anne and Margot were selected from among 8,000 women to move to Bergen Belsen, northern Germany.
Their mother is not. She died at Auschwitz of illness and starvation when her children were gone.
Frozen and move like a ‘walking skeleton’
Bergen Belsen quickly expanded to accommodate the new influx of prisoners, and unlike Auschwitz, had no gas chambers.
However, the camp was overcrowded and lacked sanitation, clean water and food – this meant that many prisoners died.
Upon arrival, Anne and Margot were placed in a tent designed to house the new prisoners and prevent them from telling others about the horrors of Auschwitz.
However, one inmate recalled a stormy night that destroyed the tent and left the inmates sitting outside in the rain and mud.
It was in Bergen that Anne reunited with some classmates from Amsterdam.
One of them was Nanette Konig, who remembered seeing Anne for the first time since the war looking “like a walking skeleton”.
She added: ‘She was wrapped in a blanket; she couldn’t bear to wear her clothes anymore because they were crawling with lice.
It was a far cry from the “smiling kid” she went to school with.
“We had a childhood and then we had no youth,” Nanette said. “We simply grew up overnight. That is the only way to survive.”
She called Bergen Belsen “hell on earth” and that “people were not instantly destroyed, but died of starvation, dysentery, typhus, cold, exhaustion, beatings, torture, and exposure.” .
Nanette added that the sisters were very ill, and that Margot was sicker than Anne.
‘Anne wants to know she’s not sick’
Childhood friend Hanneli Goslar discovers Anne is in a new alter and recalls her saying, “I have no one left”.
She claimed to have thrown a packet of food over the fence for Anne, but another woman snatched it and ran away – leaving the teenager in tears.
The two promised to meet, but Hanneli never saw her again.
When Anne was first transferred to the camp, she was placed in a hut commanded by Irma Sonnenberg Menkle.
The older girl had objected to being given the position, but now realizes it saved her life.
Irma had 500 women under her control and she recalls being surprised when Anne was 15, because she looked so much younger.
She recalls: “I have a hazy memory of Anne Frank talking about her father. She was a nice and good person. She would say to me, ‘Irma, I’m very sick.’ I said, ‘No, you’re not that sick.’ She wanted reassurance that it wasn’t.”
Irma said Anne “didn’t know she was going to die”, but as the weeks went on, her health took a turn for the worse.
Another friend, Jannie Brandes, said: “In the last days, I saw Anne standing there, wrapped in a blanket, with no more tears to cry. Well, we had no more tears.
“And then, a few days later, I went looking for the Frank girls and learned that Margot had fallen out of her bed. Just like that, on the rock, dead.
“The next day, Anne died too.”
‘In Bergen-Belsen, you don’t have emotions anymore’
Belsen became one of the endpoints for Nazi death marches, which saw prisoners forced to walk from camp to camp as German troops retreated.
In early 1945, an epidemic of typhus swept through the death camp and killed thousands of prisoners.
It is not clear when the Franks died, but historians believe it was likely in February or March 1945. In March alone, 18,000 prisoners died.
“In Bergen-Belsen, you no longer have emotions. You are paralyzed,” added Irma.
“In all the years since, I hardly ever talk about Bergen-Belsen. I can’t. It’s too much.”
Anne and Margot Frank are believed to be buried somewhere on the site of Bergen Belsen.
Edith Frank is thought to have died in January 1945 of starvation and her body was cremated or buried at Auschwitz.
Anne’s father Otto, who was incarcerated at Auschwtiz in the men’s section, was the only member of his family to survive and be liberated by the Soviet Army.
After the war ended, Otto returned to Amsterdam and was given his daughter’s diary by Miep Gies, who had helped them hide in the attic.
Then he decided to publish his daughter’s diary to remember because she wanted to be a writer.
He remarried to his former neighbor and Elfriede Geiringer camp survivor and died of old age in August 1980.
https://www.thesun.ie/news/8249670/inside-anne-franks-final-days-as-sunny-smiley-girl-was-turned-into-walking-skeleton-wrapped-in-lice-infested-rags/ Inside Anne Frank’s final days as the ‘sunny, smiley’ girl turned into a ‘walking skeleton’ wrapped in lice-infested rags