Home made Happy Families cards featuring drawings of family members by Buddy Elias, around 1934

The history of the Frank Family goes back to the time of the Frankfurt Judengasse. It is a story of life in the ghetto, of the Jewish enlightenment and emancipation, as well as the experience of war, flight, exile and the trauma of the Holocaust (Shoah).

Porträt von Süßkind Stern, ein Vorfahre der Familie von Anne Frank, aus dem Jahr 1671
Porträt von Süßkind Stern, ein Vorfahre der Familie von Anne Frank, aus dem Jahr 1671

The ancestors of the Frank family lived in the Judengasse from the 16th century at the latest. They were not called Frank but had the surnames Cahn and Stern. Süßkind Stern, who was highly respected in the Jewish community of the 17th century, was also one of the Frank forefathers. Today his portrait is on exhibition in the Museum Judengasse. It is the oldest likeness of a Frankfurt Jew.

The name Frank first appeared in the family history in the 19th century. Süßkind Stern’s grandson August Stern married Cornelia Cahn. When their daughter Alice married Michael Frank in 1886 she took his surname. The couple had four children, one of which was Otto Frank. As the sole survivor of the Holocaust of a family of four, he had the diary of his daughter Anne Frank published.