During Postex, I saw on display by a stamp dealer an envelope on which was stamped a very familiar picture for a Dutchman: the statue of the Docker in Amsterdam. Why would you find such an image on an envelope issued by the Israeli postal service?
Overstamped was text in three languages, including Dutch: “50th Anniversary of the February Strike 1941”. The combination of postmark and stamp was clear. The Docker, symbolizing a protesting worker, is a sculpture produced by Mari Andriessen, which stands on the Jonas Daniel Meijer Square in Amsterdam. A workers’ strike on February 25, 1941 was the first major protest of the Dutch population against the terror of the German occupation during the Second World War. The strike was held after the first raids on houses with Jewish occupants in Amsterdam on 22 and 23 February 1941. The statue was unveiled by Queen Juliana on December 15, 1952.
Anne Frank, born 12 June 1929 in Frankfurt am Main, Germany, moved with her family to Amsterdam in 1933. During the German occupation of Holland and because of the persecution of the Jews in the country, the Frank family kept themselves hidden secretly in a house in Amsterdam.
On August 4, 1944, after being betrayed by a person unknown, the Frank family were discovered and arrested by the German Karl Joseph Silberbauer – assisted by three Dutch police. The story became world famous because of the discovery and subsequent publication of the diary which Anne kept. The book, published in 1947, has been translated into nearly 70 languages. But only three countries ever issued a postage stamp featuring a portrait of Anne.
First Anne Frank stamp
Germany was the first country that recognised Anne Frank via the issue of a postage stamp. The stamp was released on May 17, 1979 on the occasion of what would have been the 50th birthday of Anne. The design was created by Elisabeth von Janota-Bzowski, born in Prague in 1912. The edition consisted of more than 31 million stamps.
In the Dutch Parliament on December 18, 1978, questions were put to Minister Smit-Kroes by various party representatives regarding the proposed issue of the German stamp. They requested that Holland should follow the German example and mark the occasion of the 50th birthday of Anne Frank.
The Minister replied on January 8, 1979, that the National Institute for War Documentation had plans in place to issue stamps the following year commemorating the occupation and liberation of Holland and that Anne Frank would feature prominently. He said that the reason for not releasing a stamp in 1979 was because it was not usual to issue stamps on the same subject in consecutive years.
Dutch Anne Frank stamp
Holland became the second country to release an Anne Frank stamp when, on April 25, 1980, the Dutch Post issued a postage stamp featuring a portrait of Anne. The stamp was designed by Walter Nikkels. Nearly 14 million stamps were sold. Anne died on March 31, 1945 in Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in Germany, aged 15. A statue of Anne Frank stands on the Janskerkhof in the Dutch city of Utrecht.
Israel: Anne Frank and the Secret Annexe
Israel was the third country to issue a postage stamp with portraits of Anne Frank. In the background of the stamp is the house where the Frank family were hidden in the Secret Annexe – at Prinsengracht 263 in Amsterdam. The stamp was issued on April 19, 1988.