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The Hidden Life of Otto Frank

4.13  ·  Rating details ·  1,869 Ratings  ·  65 Reviews
In this definitive new biography, Carol Ann Lee provides the answer to one of the most heartbreaking questions of modern times: Who betrayed Anne Frank and her family to the Nazis? Probing this startling act of treachery, Lee brings to light never before documented information about Otto Frank and the individual who would claim responsibility -- revealing a terrifying rela ...more
Paperback, 448 pages
Published September 23rd 2003 by Harper Perennial (first published January 1st 2002)
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Apr 05, 2017 rated it it was ok
This was ok. To me it was like reading a textbook. I'm just so partial to historical fiction. :)
Jessica Brazeal
Aug 21, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 15, 2007 rated it it was amazing
When we think of the Holocaust we see its horror and inhumanity in grainy photographs of a dark-eyed teenage girl--a gifted writer and romantic with dreams of having her fiction published following the Allied Forces' inevitable victory in World War II, but died during a typhus outbreak at Bergen-Belsen and buried in a mass grave three weeks before the camp was liberated by British troops. We all read Diary of a Young Girl in school; we all see in Anne Frank the sad, broken eyes of the six millio ...more
Mar 26, 2008 rated it it was ok
Shelves: biography
A rather salacious sounding title, but in fact it's not really the stuff of the National Enquirer.

Otto Frank is primarily known as the father of Anne Frank and this biography tries to give him more dimension. In her diary Anne talks about her parents' as not being a love match and the book provides supporting information.

The book also names Tonny Ahlers as the betrayer. Members of the Ahlers family are quoted as agreeing that he was. Ahlers is mentioned as having blackmailed Otto Frank even af
Oct 26, 2011 rated it really liked it
Narrative and truth are, at times, subjective especially in the case of narrative. Truth is also subjective. This idea of narrative and truth come into play in this book.

Lee's book is somewhat a biography of Otto Frank as well as a proposal for who betrayed or informed on the Franks. The edition I have was apparently updated slightly after the furor raised by the first. It should be noted that this is not a complete look at the afterlife of Anne's diary, for that read Anne Frank: The Book, The L
K.D. Absolutely
Aug 02, 2009 rated it liked it
This was my fourth book about Holocaust but I still got depressed and sad. However, I am giving this book a star less than the last one AUSCHWITZ: THE NEW HISTORY. The reason is that almost half of the book deals with who betrayed the Anne Frank and her family which for me should not be the main motivation for the readers.

For me, what is really makes the book interesting is to find out what happened after the betrayal. It's been almost a couple of decades back since I read ANNE FRANK: THE DIARY
May 29, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I am forever changed by the account of Otto Frank's life before, during, and after WWII. His outlook on humanity is truly to be admired. His words inspire me to look beyond my own hang-ups. He was a true humanitarian against all odds. His love for his family is unparalleled. And, his desire to keep Anne's words alive was unfailing.
This book also sheds light on the person/people who might have been responsible in betraying the families hiding at 263 Prinsengracht, Amsterdam.
Not all its cracked up to be. First of all, there's no "hidden life," not really, as the title implies. Second of all, although there are a few new pieces of information on Otto Frank's life, especially his younger days and his time in the concentration camps, ultimately there's very little that hasn't already been published by 3000 other books on this subject.

Well, that's not entirely true. The problem is, the "new information" touted in this book is that the author finally, at last, reveals wh
Feb 16, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2009
Full Review:

Lee documents the life of Otto Frank — Anne’s father — and his professional world in business prior to the Nazi occupation. It is within this context that the earliest stages of this tragedy actually started. One of the greatest mysteries of what happened in those last days prior to arrest is who betrayed the family to the Nazi’s and why. Lee does a great job of researching and presenting the documents and historical record of Otto Frank’s lif
Mar 15, 2012 rated it liked it
This is an interesting addendum to Anne Frank's diary. I read this quite a long time ago and have to admit, the impression left was exactly positive. To the author's credit, this has more to do with Otto Frank himself than her meticulous research and writing. I appreciate that Lees has taken the time to give an honest, candid portrait of Anne Frank's father and as a result, the Frank family as a whole. A real, complex man is presented to the reader, along with a real, very complex and at times d ...more
Dec 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I am speechless as I finish this book,which could rightfully be re-titled, "Anne Frank: The Rest of the Story." Indeed, this rich history as described by Carol Ann Lee only serves to reveal more fully the depth and complexity of human experience so clearly depicted in Anne's original diaries. At times excruciating, it is never the less essential that one reads this book to the very last page in order to understand the full implications of what may ~ or may not ~ have happened on August 4,1944, a ...more
Feb 26, 2009 rated it liked it
This is one of those books that I found interesting for a number of reasons that the author may not have intended. Was not impressed by the question of who informed on the families nor did I find it compelling to understand the reasoning for the conclusions (or lack of them) re this topic. I did enjoy reading about the Otto's quandries and decisions about how to deal with the material from the diary and who to involve in the different stages of the process...including the play and the movie.
Aug 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Prior to visiting the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam a few weeks ago, I read this engrossing account of how Otto Frank edited not only Anne's diary prior to release/publication, but how he also edited events and relationships he contributed to prior to the murder of his family. While we are not told what to think or what conclusions to emphatically arrive at, Carol Ann Lee does an incredible job of investigative reporting, lending a new look at the events that we in America have selectively repac ...more
John Bentz
Sep 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A very important book if you want to understand the effects of the holocaust on families and, in Otto Frank's case, survivors. it provides the context into focus of Anne Frank's life...her forbears and the challenges her father faced in both the publishing and dramatic adaptations of the diary.
Jan 22, 2008 rated it liked it
An interesting look into the life of Frank reveals many things, including the confirmation that he was not particularly fond of his wife Edith. All in all an interesting read.
Jan 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Just when I think I've seen all the documentaries and read all I could on the Holocaust, another author reveals more. It is one thing to see the inhumanity of the Nazis on film, but when you read the numbers of how many Jewish people and others were murdered, it is almost too much to fathom. Otto Frank was a kind and complicated man who loved his family deeply. The author raises the question of who turned in the Frank family. In my opinion, she answers it! This story is so sad and what occurred ...more
Jul 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I love history and this book was good
Aug 27, 2012 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Anne Frank admirers
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 01, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Who is Otto Frank?

Like millions of people across the globe, the name is familiar to me. He is the father of Anne Frank and the only surviving member of her (immediate) family from the nazi concentration camps of WWII. Whilst Anne Frank is known all over the world for her diary - written whilst she was a teenager and mostly during her hiding from the Nazis - all I knew of her father was what I read in that diary. By chance I recently came across a memoir "After Auschwitz" by Eva Schloss, whose m
Harry Tomos
Dec 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing
So at last we know who betrayed the Frank,Van Piels and Pffeffer family from the annexe, I am not good with not knowing these things, reading about Otto, and some background to his life also gives another view to the diary. To have been so close to the end of the war, to have been the very last transport to be sent to Poland & Germany, to have been so close that knowing Otto was an ex German Soldier would have meant a different camp so many near misses that culminated into one bit hit, so se ...more
Apr 29, 2015 added it
Ann franc is the book that I read. It talks about a Jewish girl that had big defecoltis in world war 2. Before the world war she lived in a normal hose with here 3 sisters and brothers and ofcors her parent. One day when here and here family where in the dining room a plane threw a bombe next to the house when it exploded they new that something was wrong. The family where writ next to the factory of the father so they went at the basement of the factory it was like a bum car. Ann franc and here ...more
Nov 16, 2009 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Amazing, simply amazing book. This insightful volume follows the life of Otto Frank from birth to death and beyond. A great portion of the book attempts to prove that Tonny Ahler was the person who betrayed the Franks and their hiding place. Much attention is given to the struggles Otto endured following his liberation from Auschwitz after enduring so very much there. He eventually publishes Anne's diary, but there were many obstacles in his way. He however overcame them. This is a theme o the b ...more
Jun 16, 2012 rated it really liked it
A fascinating account of the Frank family, though not an easy read. This book is non-fiction and the author has researched her subject well. Having read the Diary years ago, it was interesting to learn the history and background of the Franks. Otto seems to have had good business sense and this enabled him to continue running his company even when officially being Jewish it was no longer allowed.
Carol Ann Lee's book also gave more details of the years they spent in hiding, as seen from a differe
I felt as though this book gave me insight on Otto Frank's life and feelings before, during, and after hiding. Which I'll admit is something I don't know much of. That being sad, I highly doubt that I'll take this book as my main source of information on Otto Frank. There were some things that were said that make me question where the information came from. And though I did enjoy the book, for me I felt like it focused a bit too much on the question of "who betrayed the Frank family?" than the q ...more
Nov 24, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, non-fiction
A good book. Everyone always has their focus on the girl herself: Anne Frank, and it was nice to have a book on her father, Otto.

It was interesting to know about Otto's early life and his sojourn in New York, his relationship with Anne and Margot's mother, Edith. His life after the Holocaust (who knew the man liked travel? now I do) and of course, the editing and publishing of the diary. The details about the man who betrayed the people in the Annex and so on so fourth.

It was informative, but it
Vhyness Austero
Mar 26, 2013 rated it really liked it
This book was a very sad and depressing story about the Holocaust. i thought it was very sad because it talked about when they were in hiding with this other family.It was also depressing because it tells that the nazis found out where they were hiding and they got tooken away to one of the camps for jews. that was the part that i thought that was sad and depressing and it told about how he servived the Holocaust and how he found out how his wife and both of his duaghters didnt make it.It even t ...more
Jan 03, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book provided background on Anne's family history. Mr. Frank's business struggles and various attempts made by him to escape from the Nazi regime. The author doesn't offer proof positive who betrayed the family. Instead offers a plausible theory as to whom and why. This book details the progression of making Anne's diary a published book and play. I thoroughly enjoyed it despite the very sad and tragic subject. I couldn't finish Anne's diary.
Jane Elfring
Oct 13, 2011 rated it really liked it
I've read a lot about the life of the Franks but this book gave a different perspective and was well-researched concerning who might have betrayed those in the annex. It was a few complicated time and trying to unravel the mysteries was certainly difficult. It was fascinating to me how Otto Frank came to terms with his wartime imprisonment and was able to move on with his life. He wanted very badly to have Anne's legacy continued.
Mar 07, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: the-jews, german-lit
I didn't realize before reading this that there was so much intrigue around Otto's own life and that it was still unknown, though widely specultated, who betrayed the Franks. What a read. I had to read it in increments, because it was too emotional for me to do too much at one time. Although well-written, even if it had not been, by virtue of the subject, it gets 4 stars. The author did extensive research and all her sources are footnoted and indexed in this edition.
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