Anne Frank Diary Reference   :   Dangers

Dangerous Events before They Went into Hiding

March 1941


Otto briefly chats with Joseph Jansen about how the war is likely to go for the Germans. Jansen thinks favorably, Otto thinks not. Otto is talking to someone dangerous. What happens one month later suggests that Jansen is very eager to get Otto arrested on the slightest excuse: this conversation will be the excuse. HLOF p. 4, 48, 74, 222.
18 April 1941


[denunciation of a Jew]  

Otto is paid an unexpected visit from NSB member, "Tonny" Ahlers, who confronts him with a letter from Joseph Jansen, to the NSB, about the conversation in March. In the letter, Jansen charges that "the Jew Frank" was still involved in the company he was supposed to have left (due to the anti-Jewish decrees), expressed doubts about the German war effort, attempted to influence him, insulted the Germans, made derogatory comments about the Nazis, and therefore Frank should be arrested. Ahlers indicates that he isn't there to arrest him: he had intercepted the letter and is giving it to him. Otto pays him some cash and offers more if he comes back. (It is not clear if they ever meet again before the end of the war.)
    Otto then shows the letter to Kugler, Miep, and a friend. He does not mention it to the family. At some point Otto gives the letter to his long-trusted attorney (who takes notes and later destroys it, worrying about repercussions if Frank were to be arrested after all).
    Just what problems will this bring? Will Jansen write again? Do other NSB members already know about it? Will Ahlers get greedy and/or turn against Otto after all? Otto later said, "Because of Jansen's letter, I was afraid for months that if I met him in the street, Jansen would file a new complaint against me." HLOF p. 4, 74, 81-2. (Also p. 328, CE89 p. 10.) dangerplace.htm

These events undoubtedly helped spur Otto to make a plan for going into hiding.