Anne Frank Diary Reference
 
Otto Frank's First Trips to the United States
Because of her diary, Anne Frank's father, Otto, visited the United States, after her diary was published. However, these were not his only trips to the US.
    Back in 1909 and 1910, long before Anne was born, Otto made three voyages to the US, to work at Macy's in New York City. (The trips took a week by ship.) You can see the immigration records of at least two of these trips at the Ellis Island site because they handled so many incoming passengers during this period. They are microfilmed copies of the original documents. The more interesting information from these records is on this page, plus some tips for visiting the Ellis Island site.

[timeline]

First Voyage:

Ship: Kaiser Wilhelm der Grosse
Departed: Bremen, 7 Sept 1909
Arrived: New York City, 14 September
Travel Class: Saloon or First Cabin
Age: 20 years
Occupation: merchant
Citizen: German
Race: German
Height: 5'10" (178cm)
Cash: At least $50
Staying with: a friend, (Valentin?) Loewi


Second Voyage:
(Because the Ellis Island site sends you to the wrong document, there was only the information below. There is different information presented if you view the text version of the manifest, which also only has limited information. The latter is also shown below, after the italicized "or"s.)

Ship: La Touraine or Kronprinzessin Cecilie
Departed: Havre, 20 Nov 1909 or Cherbourg
Arrived: New York City, 28 November or 30 Nov 1909


Third Voyage:

Ship: Kronprinz Wilhelm
Departed: Cherbourg, 17 Aug 1910
Arrived: New York City, 23 August
Travel Class: Saloon or First Cabin
Age: 21
Occupation: student
Citizen: German
Race: Hebrew
Height: 5'10" (178cm)
Cash: At least $50
Staying with: (uncle?) Mr. Hugo Loewi



Tips for visiting the Ellis Island site:
    You have to register to search and see the documents. Searching and viewing are free.
    Click Passenger Search, New Search. Enter Otto Frank, male, born in 1889. There are three trips. View the manifest (and the ship image if you are interested in seeing that). Viewing the "passenger record" is usually a waste of time, in my opinion.
    When you look at the manifest, you will not really see anything unless you click the image or the enlarge button. Either of these takes you to a new window, where you will be zoomed in very close. So it is good to take note (in the original window) of which line he is on (there are 30 lines per page).
    The information is on two pages. Sometimes they send you to the second page, sometimes to the first. If his name is on the page they send you to, then the second page is the next page. If not, then the previous page has the rest of his information. The original window has the controls for getting next and previous pages.
    The information is handwritten and microfilmed, so some deciphering is inevitable. The first class passengers were all put together. What I called the travel class is printed toward the top of the second sheets.
    Don't bother with the second trip because they send you to the wrong document. But that ship image is available.

Notes:
The Loewi name appears in Otto's family tree as people related by marriages. See the front section of Müller's Biography of Anne.

In The Hidden Life of Otto Frank, page 15, Carol Ann Lee states that Otto returned to Frankfurt "several times" from the US, despite the expense of ocean liner travel. "Several" seems like more than three times. It could be that Lee is mistaken. However, Ellis Island didn't process all foreigners. For example, their records do not include Charlie Chaplin's first trip to the USA. (Chaplin said he arrived in the fall of 1909 or 1910, via cattle boat to Canada, took a train, went through US Immigration, then NYC — see his autobiography, p. 119.) Their online records do include Chaplin's second trip.




References:
    Ellis Island online
    The Hidden Life of Otto Frank, by Carol Ann Lee, p. 10-15



Last Update: 6 Aug 2005