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Holocaust Survivor: Pieter (Peter) Kohnstam

Anne Frank
Wed Mar 20

Holocaust Survivor: Pieter (Peter) Kohnstam

Anne Frank
Wed Mar 20

Holocaust Survivor: Pieter (Peter) Kohnstam

Neighbor of Anne Frank

Time:
4:30 pm - 5:30 pm CT
Fees: Free
location:

An event designed specifically for

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Anne Frank

Pieter (Peter) Kohnstam was born in Amsterdam in 1936. His parents, Hans and Ruth Kohnstam, were forced to flee from the Nuremberg/Fuerth area in Germany to Amsterdam, The Netherlands during the early days of the Nazi regime. Coming from a well-known upper middle class family, they left behind a lucrative toy merchandising company with sales offices and warehouses in cities throughout Germany and Europe.

It was by chance that the Kohnstam’s apartment in Amsterdam was downstairs from the family of Anne Frank. Ruth became a close friend of Edith Frank, and Anne, the youngest daughter, became Pieter’s babysitter. Both children attended the local schools in the neighborhood.

When Nazi persecution of Jews in The Netherlands became intolerable, the Franks went into hiding, but Pieter’s parents decided to flee Amsterdam. After a year-long trek through Belgium, France and Spain, they reached safety and freedom in Argentina.

In 1963, Pieter immigrated to the United States where he pursued a career in the specialty chemical industry, focusing on pharmaceuticals and cosmetics. He became a U.S. citizen in 1968. He and his wife, Susan, married in 1965 and have two children and three grandchildren. Now retired in Venice, Florida, Kohnstam is active in community affairs. He is the past President of the Jewish Congregation of Venice. He is frequently invited to schools and various organizations to speak about his experiences as a Holocaust survivor, his book, and matters relating to Jewish and interfaith topics.

Pieter’s book, A Chance to Live: A Family’s Journey to Freedom, was published in The Netherlands in February 2008 and in Germany in 2016. Read an excerpt from his book here.

  • About the event

    Pieter (Peter) Kohnstam was born in Amsterdam in 1936. His parents, Hans and Ruth Kohnstam, were forced to flee from the Nuremberg/Fuerth area in Germany to Amsterdam, The Netherlands during the early days of the Nazi regime. Coming from a well-known upper middle class family, they left behind a lucrative toy merchandising company with sales offices and warehouses in cities throughout Germany and Europe.

    It was by chance that the Kohnstam’s apartment in Amsterdam was downstairs from the family of Anne Frank. Ruth became a close friend of Edith Frank, and Anne, the youngest daughter, became Pieter’s babysitter. Both children attended the local schools in the neighborhood.

    When Nazi persecution of Jews in The Netherlands became intolerable, the Franks went into hiding, but Pieter’s parents decided to flee Amsterdam. After a year-long trek through Belgium, France and Spain, they reached safety and freedom in Argentina.

    In 1963, Pieter immigrated to the United States where he pursued a career in the specialty chemical industry, focusing on pharmaceuticals and cosmetics. He became a U.S. citizen in 1968. He and his wife, Susan, married in 1965 and have two children and three grandchildren. Now retired in Venice, Florida, Kohnstam is active in community affairs. He is the past President of the Jewish Congregation of Venice. He is frequently invited to schools and various organizations to speak about his experiences as a Holocaust survivor, his book, and matters relating to Jewish and interfaith topics.

    Pieter’s book, A Chance to Live: A Family’s Journey to Freedom, was published in The Netherlands in February 2008 and in Germany in 2016. Read an excerpt from his book here.

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