A Wedding Video Gave The World The Only Known Film Footage Of Anne Frank

From its first publication in 1947, Anne Frank's "The Diary of a Young Girl” has served as an invaluable document of one of the darkest eras in human history: the Holocaust. According to The World War II Museum, in just a few years the Holocaust saw the coordinated murder by the Nazi regime of approximately 6 million European Jews, alongside millions of other prisoners (via BBC Teach). Written by Frank as a journal, "The Diary of a Young Girl" offers a first-person account of the two years the Jewish Frank family spent living in secret at the height of the Nazi occupation of Anne's family's home country, the Netherlands, during World War II (via Britannica).

Up until now, still images of Anne Frank, who died in 1945 at the age of 16 along with thousands of others at the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, have been the only visual reminder of what Frank's life was like. According to the Anne Frank House website, the Nazis invaded the Netherlands in 1940, one year after Germany's opening salvo against Poland and one year before the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor. Two years later, Anne and her family went into hiding and were captured by Nazi forces some 24 months after that (via the Anne Frank House). Now, the only known film footage has emerged from a much happier time in the girl's life, less than 12 months before the Frank family entered seclusion. That rare film footage, posted by the Anne Frank House on YouTube, is available to watch below.

Frank is 13 years old in the film clip

The 20-second film clip from 1941 was taken on the wedding day of a Frank family neighbor in Amsterdam when Anne Frank was just 13 years old. Anne was born in Frankfurt, Germany, but Otto Frank relocated his family to the Netherlands in 1934 when Hitler and the Nazi party first took power, according to Britannica. Though the family managed to hide for two years, they were eventually found, arrested, and sent to concentration camps. Otto was the only survivor of the family after Auschwitz was liberated by the Allies at the conclusion of World War II. According to the United State Holocaust Memorial Museum, Anne's mother, Edith, was killed at Auschwitz-Birkenau, and along with Anne, Anne's sister, Margot, died from typhus at Bergen-Belsen. 

During their time sequestered, a total of eight people, including the Frank family, hid in the upper levels of an annexed building. Otto Frank's business operated in the area below (via the Anne Frank House). After the publication and subsequent popularity of Anne Frank's diary, discovered in that secret annex apartment by family friends after the Frank family were captured by the Gestapo, the married couple recognized Anne in the clip and sought out her father, who died in 1980 (via Biography). The married couple gave a version of the rare footage to Otto in the 1950s. In the 1990s, the couple, who as of 2009 were still alive, per The Guardian, supplied the much longer version of the footage to the Anne Frank House museum.

Frank appears 9 seconds into the footage

The ghostly image of Anne Frank leaning from a second-story window in her Amsterdam home can be seen roughly nine seconds into the footage. Her attention is captured by the smartly dressed bride and groom on the street below before something draws her back inside and out of view. Speaking with The Guardian, Anne Frank house representative Annemarie Bekker said that in the opinion of her organization, posting the Anne Frank footage to YouTube was a great way to introduce a whole new generation to Anne's story."The museum has had the footage for some time, but thought YouTube would be a good platform to show the film and the other films about her life," Bekker said. 

Bekker went on to add, "The footage is very moving and very unique because these are the only moving images of Anne Frank ... It's another way to bring the life of Anne Frank to the attention of younger people, and all people worldwide." As of this report, Frank's "The Diary of a Young Girl" has been published in more than 70 languages, according to the Anne Frank House website. As of 2019, some 30 million copies of the book have been sold, per History. Today, roughly more than a million people from all over the world visit the Anne Frank House museum. The structure where the museum is located was almost torn down in the '50s. Now, the annex where the Frank family hid remains empty, but is open to public view.