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About a Holocaust Survivor: Hanneli Pick-Gosler

In The Diary of Anne Frank, the name "Lies Goosens" appears a number of times. Anne's father, Otto Frank, changed the names of the people in the diary when it was first published. Lies Goosens is the name he chose for one of Anne's closest childhood friends, Hanneli Goslar. Like the Frank family, the members of Hanneli's family were also Holocaust victims.

More than six million Jews were murdered by the Nazis during this brief period in history, including Anne Frank. But, miraculously, Hanneli and her sister survived.

This timeline tells the story of Hanneli's experience.

Hanneli Pick-Goslar Time Line

November 1928:
Hanneli Elizabeth Goslar is born in Berlin, Germany, to Ruth Judith Klee and Hans Goslar.

Hanneli and her parents flee Nazi Germany for the Netherlands.


Hanneli's sister is born.
Anti-Jewish laws get stricter. Young Jewish people are being sent to work camps.

Summer 1942:

The Frank family goes into hiding. A neighbor tells Hanneli that the Franks have fled to Switzerland.

All summer Hanneli sees Jews arrested and sent away. Hanneli worries for her family's safety.

Because Hanneli's father had a high government position back in Germany, he manages to get South American passports for his family and puts their names on a list of people seeking to emigrate to Palestine (now Israel). The Goslars continue to live at home, although they remain fearful of being arrested and sent to a concentration camp.

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Fall 1942:
Hanneli's mother dies during childbirth. The baby is born dead.

June 1943:

Hanneli and her sister, father, and grandparents are arrested. They are sent to Westerbork, a camp in northeastern Holland.

Most prisoners at Westerbork stay only briefly before being transported to concentration camps like Auschwitz and Sobibor in Poland. Because of their South American passports and the Palestine list, the Goslars are able to delay their transfer, and are safe — at least for a while.

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November 1943:
The Nazis announce all but the first two Palestine lists are invalid. Hanneli and her family are on one of these two lists and remain safe. The people on the other lists are sent to concentration camps that night.

Hanneli's grandfather dies of a heart attack.

February 1944:
Despite their South American passports and the Palestine lists, Hanneli and her family are transported to the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp.

At Bergen-Belsen, the Goslars are put in a "privileged" camp called Alballalager. Privileged in this case means prisoners clothes aren't taken away, their hair isn't shaved, families aren't separated, and numbers are not tattooed on their arms. Across the fence, in the "less privileged" camp, Hanneli sees prisoners in zebra-striped pajamas and shaved heads. They look starved and diseased.

Hanneli gets sick with jaundice. She is in the hospital for over a month.

May 1944:
Mr. Goslar becomes sick from malnourishment and overwork. He is sent to a barracks for sick people.

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November 1944:
Hundreds of new inmates arrive at Bergen-Belsen. Alballalager is divided down the middle by barbed wire covered with straw. The penalty for talking to prisoners on the other side of the barbed wire is death.

February 1945:

Hanneli learns that Anne Frank is in the other camp. Despite the danger, the two girls meet.

Hanneli and her remaining family are told they have been put on the next exchange list for Palestine — they are being freed in exchange for German prisoners of war. The same evening that they learn of the exchange, Mr. Goslar dies, believing that his daughters are going to be free the next day. But the following day, when Hanneli, her sister, and her grandmother arrive at the train, a soldier informs them that the exchange has been canceled. He orders them back to their barracks.

March 1945:
Hanneli becomes sick with typhus. At the end of the month, Hanneli's grandmother dies.

April 1945:

The German army is in retreat. Nazi officials order the evacuation of Bergen-Belsen. The prisoners are forced to board trains. They believe they are being sent to another camp where they will be killed. They remain trapped in the train for ten days with very little air, food, and water. Hanneli passes out for several days.

On the tenth day, Hanneli wakes up to see Germans with white flags in their hands. The German government has surrendered. The war is over. Out of six members of her family, only Hanneli and her sister have survived.

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July 1945:
Hanneli is taken to a hospital because her lungs are diseased.

Fall 1945:

Otto Frank visits Hanneli in the hospital. She learns that Anne has died. Otto Frank becomes like a father to Hanneli.

December 1945:

Mr. Frank arranges for Hanneli and her sister to live in Switzerland with Hanneli's uncle. Hanneli goes to school in Switzerland for several years.

1947 – Today:

Hanneli emigrates to Israel in 1947. She becomes a nurse and marries Dr. Walter Pinchas. They have three children, and eventually ten grandchildren.

Read the Interview Find out more about Hanneli's experience by reading her interview with students.

Write about it Hanneli and her sister were very young and all alone at Bergen-Belsen. It took both courage and strength for them to survive. Join the Stories of Courage activity and learn about the stories of other Holocaust survivors and rescuers.

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