She was small in stature and huge in heroism
- Steven Frank about his mother, who’s strength and determination helped to save Steven and his brothers.

Steven was born in July 1935 in Amsterdam, one of three sons to his parents Leonard and Beatrix. Before the outbreak of war, Leonard was a successful and renowned lawyer and met Steven’s mother Beatrix when she travelled from her family home in Eastbourne, Sussex to attend a finishing school in Amsterdam. Steven remembers a happy childhood before the war and recalls sledging and ice skating in the winters in Amsterdam with his brothers.

After the Nazi invasion in Holland, Steven’s father joined the Dutch resistance and helped issue false papers to get Jews out of Holland and into Switzerland. One morning in January 1943, when Steven was just 7 years old, his father kissed him goodbye to walk to his office in Amsterdam. This was the last time that Steven would ever see his father. Leonard was betrayed and arrested by the Gestapo. Three of Steven’s fathers friends had risked their lives and petitioned the German authorities to grant clemency for Leonard. This request was denied. Leonard was sent to Westerbork transit camp and from there deported to Auschwitz where he was murdered in the gas chambers around 21st January 1943.

Steven’s mother Beatrix kept the family in hiding for a while, but with the increasing restrictions for Jews implemented by the Nazis in Holland she opened a school for Jewish children, and cut Jewish men’s hair. 

Shortly afterwards, in March 1943, Steven and his family were deported to Barnevald camp in Holland, and then in September 1943 the camp was emptied and the family were moved to Westerbork transit camp. From Westerbork, Steven, his mother and brothers were deported by cattle truck to Terezín (Theresienstadt) in Czechoslovakia.

Whilst in Theresienstadt, Steven’s mother took a job in the camp hospital laundry which allowed her access to hot water. Steven recalls his mother bringing he and his brothers a mixture of hot water and bread that she called broodpap (bread porridge) and feeding each of them a spoonful at a time from an aluminium saucepan.

Steven, his mother and his two brothers were liberated from Theresienstadt by the Russian army on the 9th of May 1945 but were kept in the camp for an extra month by the Red Cross due to the dangerous level of Typhus infections. After this, many of the Dutch survivors were being sent back to Holland by the authorities, Steven’s mother had feared that there would be no family left to return to in Holland and managed to safely bring her children to England.

Steven and his two brothers were 3 of the 15,000 children that were sent to Theresienstadt during the war and were 3 of the few children who managed to survive. Steven has been a long-term friend and supporter of the National Holocaust Centre and Museum and continues to give his testimony to this day, remembering his experience, the incredible friendship and loyalty of his father’s friends who risked their lives to help him and the unbelievable bravery of both of his parents.

The Collection

The museum houses documents, objects, and photographs donated by Steven. It is our privilege to care for these artefacts and ensure they are available for future generations. The museum's collection provides vital, tangible, evidence of the Holocaust. We are committed to ensuring we have everything we need to continue to tell our speaker's stories into the future. Please find a selection of objects below from the Steven Frank Collection, you can also search our collections for further objects and information.