Anne Frank’s Friend Tells How a German Official Saved her Family
The Fellowship | January 6, 2020
Holocaust survivor Laureen Nussbaum is one of the few people alive today who personally knew Anne Frank. She grew up in the same Amsterdam neighborhood as the Franks, yet the two girls had very different experiences during the Holocaust.
Arutz Sheva reports that while Anne’s family was forced into hiding to escape the Nazis, Laureen’s family became “Calmeyer Jews” and were free to live openly. Now 92, Laureen writes in her new memoir about Hans Calmeyer, the German lawyer who she says saved her family:
“In two-thirds of the cases, he decided in favor of the petitioner, knowing that he was being cheated,” Nussbaum told JTA, meaning Calmeyer was making it easier for petitioners to make the claim that they were not Jewish. “He allowed himself to be cheated” …
Nussbaum believes Calmeyer’s story is deeply relevant today as a model of resistance.
Calmeyer engaged in a kind of low-key sabotage to thwart the Nazi agenda, working within the existing power structure to save as many Jews as possible. At a time of rising populism across the Western world, Nussbaum hopes Calmeyer’s example can serve as inspiration.
“Sometimes it’s just little things, people within their own realms can find ways to actively stand up for their opinions,” she said.
“Whether we will be successful or not, I cannot predict. But for our own integrity, those of us who are convinced that things are being done the wrong way, I think we have to, each in his or her own way, resist and do our best. That’s all we can do.”