Victor Kugler: The Man Who Hid Anne Frank by Eda Shapiro and Rick Kardonne
Pretty much everyone and their mother knows the story of Anne Frank. Many of us can even remember the names of some of the other people in the attic, or those who helped hide them. If asked I would recall her father, Otto, possibly her sister, Margot, and the secretary Miep, because when I was younger her name reminded me of the noise The Roadrunner makes. What I would not have recalled is the name of the man who was perhaps most instrumental in keeping the Franks hidden and safe.
In her diary, Anne calls this man “Mr Kraler.” This is a pseudonym she gave him, as she did for many others she mentions. The man’s real name was Victor Krugler and without him the Franks would not have been able to survive in the attic as long as they did. Krugler took over Otto Frank’s business for him when the family went into hiding and was responsible for procuring them food on the black market with the money he made. Arrested when the Franks were discovered, Krugler himself was sent to a work camp where he eventually nearly ran the whole show and was able to supply information to the underground as well as ease life for many of his fellow prisoners.
This book was written from a Jewish perspective, studying the life, actions, and motivations of a “righteous Gentile.” There were points where I got fairly bored, such as discussions of Krugler’s childhood years and the awards he later earned during his post-war life in Canada. Overall, however, this is a well put together book centering on Krugler’s amazing story. I appreciated that much of the content came from interviews with Krugler during his time in Canada and from interviews with others who knew him. These primary documents were woven artfully together by Kardonne.
If you are interested in the lives of those who resisted the holocaust at great personal danger, “Victor Kugler: The Man Who Hid Anne Frank” will make a fascinating read.