The Baby

History Society & Culture
Anne Frank, The Baby
Deborah van Dam
Joodse Omroep Television and Deborah van Dam filmprodukties
HD available

In 1942 baby Anneke is taken away from her parents, who fled Germany in the early 1930’s and came to the Netherlands. Because she cannot go into hiding with them, she ends up in a foster home. When soon after war it becomes clear that her parents did not survive, Anneke, aged five, is sent to her aunt and uncle in de United States. There she grows up in a world where the past is rarely if ever discussed. Anneke is ordered look only to the future and not ask questions about her past.

Then 65 years later two Dutch people try, independently from each other, to get in touch with her: Cora (92), the courier who smuggled Anneke when she was a baby from Amsterdam to The Hague, and Fred (64), who was her “war brother” during her hiding period.

They both tell her everything they know of the time that baby Anneke lived in Amsterdam and Voorburg. These stories and details confuse her and make her insecure:  Is she allowed to know all this, and does she want to know all this? Her uncle and aunt, the brother and sister of her mother, who took care of her after the war, and who forbade her to look back, have passed away at this point.

Still, they left a few boxes and photo albums behind. Fred tells stories about that time and he sends old family pictures with Anneke in it. In one of the left behind albums she comes across a picture of herself sitting on the lap of a girl that clearly looks like Anne Frank. And Anneke remembers meeting Otto Frank in the United States when she was little. Still, she never dared to put the two facts together, because there was no proof, no evidence, no photo’s, no documents whatsoever. Nothing.

Piece by piece the picture of the puzzle of her earliest years and her Jewish background seems to emerge. Surely but slowly Anneke learns about her own history and that of her parents, who were intellectuals in the cultural society of pre-war Germany.