As a young Jewish girl, Anne Frank was among the millions of victims of religious and ethnic persecution at the hands of the Nazis. In 1938, her father, Otto Frank, tried unsuccessfully to emigrate with the family to the United States. Even with the support of prominent American businessman, Nathan Straus, without the necessary entry papers the Frank’s were unable to gain passage. A drastic tightening of U.S. immigration policy, based partly on fears that some immigrants might be spies or saboteurs, meant that transit visas, and safe passage through Europe to the United States became increasingly impossible to obtain.
On December 1, 1941, the Cuban government issued a single visa in the name of Otto
Frank. Ten days later on December 11, Germany declared war on the United States and the Cuban visa was cancelled. Otto Frank survived the war, but his family did not. For the refugees who escaped Nazi Germany, America represented a beacon of hope for a better world and a new beginning. The Anne Frank Center’s next Confronting Intolerance Today program will take place at the Koubek Center Miami, a city rich with immigrant history and culture. This important and timely event will examine discrimination on the basis of nationality and citizenship, specifically addressing immigration reform and the dream of a new world with new possibilities.
This event is made possible through funding from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, the Netherland-America Foundation, and KLM Royal Dutch airlines, the official airline of The Anne Frank Center USA. The event is kindly sponsored by the Consulate General of the Netherlands and the Koubek Center, Miami Dade College.