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June 26, 2019

American friend of Anne Frank’s father donates mementos to U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum

June 12, 2019
Ryan Cooper holds a 1972 portion of a diary that he wrote when he visited Otto Frank, the father of Holocaust victim and diarist Anne Frank. (Philip Marcelo/AP)

A special friendship between Otto Frank, the father of Anne Frank, and a Massachusetts antiques dealer has led to a valuable contribution for humanity.

Ryan Cooper, who began corresponding with the Holocaust survivor about 50 years ago, has donated a collection of Frank documents to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, reported The Associated Press.

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The recent donation comes at a monumental moment — Wednesday is the 90th anniversary of the young diarist’s birth.

Cooper, 73, donated numerous letters and mementos he received from Frank to the Washington museum. He’s hoping they will offer a deeper insight into Otto Frank.

“He was a lot like Anne in that he was an optimist,” said Cooper, referring to Frank. “He always believed the world would be right in the end, and he based that hope on the young people.”

Otto Frank was the lone surviving member of his family that had been discovered in 1944 hiding in his Amsterdam office. They were shipped off to concentration camps, where Anne, her mother and elder sister died.

Cooper said their correspondence touched upon topics other than Anne as he wrote about questioning his faith as a Jehovah’s Witness and the grief of losing his mother.

“Some of the letters really have nothing to do with Anne,” said Cooper. “In a lot of ways, I feel like I was adopted by Otto. He made me feel like I had a family during a period of real isolation.”

In one letter, Frank urged Cooper to draw inspiration from Anne’s optimism.

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The life and legacy of Anne Frank

“I want to remind you of her ardent wish ‘to work for mankind’ in case she would survive,” Frank wrote in 1972. “I can see from your letter that you are an intelligent person and that you have self-criticism and so I can only hope that Anne will inspire you to find a positive outlook on life.”

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