Johannes Kleiman

Johannes Kleiman

The Dutchman who helped hide Anne Frank's family
Date of Birth: 17.08.1896
Country: Netherlands

Biography of Johannes Kleiman

Johannes Kleiman, a Dutch man who helped hide Anne Frank's family during the Second World War when the Netherlands was occupied by the Nazis, was born on August 17, 1896, in Koog aan de Zaan, a small town 11 kilometers northwest of Amsterdam.

Kleiman first met Otto Frank in 1923 when Otto was trying to open a branch of his family bank, "Michael Frank Bank," in Amsterdam. In May 1924, Kleiman became a representative of the bank, but in December of the same year, when the branch was being liquidated, he had to use all its powers. Otto Frank hired Kleiman again in 1938 as an accountant for his businesses "Opekta" and "Pectacon." However, they had been close friends for five years since 1933 when the Frank family settled in Amsterdam after fleeing Germany due to the persecution of Jews by the Nazis.

Kleiman became a member of the board of directors for "Opekta," and the company was even founded at his home address for the next five months before moving to Prinsengracht 263 at the end of 1940. Officially, Johannes Kleiman served as the accountant for "Opekta" and "Pectacon," working with Victor Kugler and secretary Bep Voskuijl for "Pectacon," and Otto Frank and his secretary Miep Gies for "Opekta."

When Otto Frank and his family had to go into hiding to avoid their elder daughter Margo being sent to a labor camp, Kleiman, Kugler, Gies, and Voskuijl provided them with shelter in the empty rooms of their office and took on the responsibility of providing the refugees with food and essential supplies.

When an unknown informant informed the authorities that the "Opekta" building was serving as a hiding place for Jews, the Gestapo arrested the Franks, van Pelses, and Pfeffer on August 4, 1944, paying a reward for each arrest. Kleiman and Kugler were arrested for harboring Jews, which automatically made them criminals. After being interrogated at the Gestapo headquarters, Kleiman and Kugler were transferred to a prison designated for Jews and political prisoners awaiting deportation to concentration camps. Kleiman was placed in the Amersfoort labor camp, but due to a special permit obtained by the Red Cross, he was released due to his poor health. In total, he was a prisoner of the Nazi regime for about six weeks.

After the publication of Anne Frank's diary, in which she detailed her two years in hiding, Kleiman regularly interacted with journalists and visitors at the former hiding place, which was freed in the early 1950s. He played an active role in the creation of the Anne Frank Foundation, established on May 3, 1957, but did not live to see the former office building transformed into the Anne Frank House museum. The museum was opened on May 3, 1960.

Johannes Kleiman passed away at his desk on January 28, 1959, at the age of 62.