I doubt that I could find a connection blood-wise to either, but I do have a connection. My father came to Australia in 1951 from New Zealand on the TSS Monowai. During WW2, the Monowai was turned into a gunship and served valiantly. One of her last jobs in Europe was to pick up survivors from the death camps and take them to safety. On board one voyage was Otto Frank.
TSS Monowai and a Holocaust Connection:
Amazingly the Monowai has a connection to one of the world’s most remarkable WWII stories, it is the Poignant story of the Dutch Jewish Frank family and their much loved late daughter who wrote that remarkable and poignant “Dairy of Anne Frank.” The connection comes via her father, Otto Frank.
Mr. Otto Frank
Just before the end of the war in Europe, on April 22, 1945, the TSS Monowai sailed from England for Odessa on the Black Sea carrying 1,600 Soviet citizens who had been captured serving with the Germans in France. The Monowai then embarked many Jewish Holocaust survivors from Western Europe, including Mr. Otto Frank, who had been liberated from the Auschwitz death camp by the Soviet army. The Monowai departed on May 21 from Odessa and she arrived on the 27th.at Marseille, France. In the book “The Footsteps of Anne Frank” published in 1959, Ernst Schnabel wrote the following: ‘The Monowai flew the New Zealand flag, and had come all the way fromNew Zealand so that a few survivors from Europe could return home.' Strangely enough, even though, she had not been decommissioned as yet, but she was already flying the New Zealand flag!
Anne Frank seen prior to the war
From the record, I am aware that the men slept in hammocks, whereas all the women were accommodated in cabins. Apparently, according to Mr. Schnabel, Otto was impressed by the ship’s comfort, especially the abundant food and the kindness of her crew. However, by this time Mr. Frank had discovered that his wife, Edith, had died at Auschwitz, but to date he did not know anything regarding the fate of his two daughters, Anne and Margot. On board the Monowai, he wrote to his mother who was living in Switzerland:
“My entire hope lies with the children. I cling to the conviction that they are alive and that we’ll be together again, but I’m not promising myself anything.”
Thus the Monowai will always be part of an amazing part of history having transported Mr. Otto Frank, who would in due course locate the most amazing book that would become a sad, but a world’s best seller, and movies and TV specials would be made to tell Anne’s and her families tragic story! The book is of course the “Dairy of Anne Frank.”