Otto Aufrichtig & Lisl Frank at Kamp Westerbork
Alice [Liesel] Frankel and Otto Aufrichtig [Aurich] pictured in theatrical costume
Otto Aufrichtig [Aurich] was born in Vienna on 11 February 1900 and subsequently moved to Amsterdam, The Netherlands where he lived with second wife Alice [Liesel] Frankel, born 22 January 1911 in Prague, Bohemiia. The pair were deported in 1943 from Amsterdam to Kamp Westerbork in the Dutch province of Drente.
Westerbork was a transit camp through which over 100,000 Dutch Jews, gypsies and political prisoners passed on their way to the notorious concentration camps to the east. Unlike the death camps to which its inhabitants were processed, Westerbork appeared designed to keep prisoners less fearful of their fate by providing a school, hospital, restaurant, sports, music, workshops and an orphanage. No more than a handful of those in transit through Westerbork survived the war. Anne Frank was one of its victims, Otto one of its miraculous survivors.
Also imprisoned in Westerbork at this time was celebrated German-Jewish actor, comic and cabaret/recording artist Max Ehrlich who formed the Kamp Westerbork Theater Group. With himself as director, this was a cabaret troupe that consisted of many well known artists and performers from Vienna, Berlin and the Netherlands. During its 18 months existence, the troupe staged six productions, three of them featuring the talents of Otto and Alice.
Max Ehrlich, creator and director of the Kamp Westerbork Theatre Group
Kamp Westerbork Theatre Group productions:
Bunter Abend (1) ["Colorful Evening"]. July 1943
Humor Und Melodie ["Humor And Melody"], September 1943
Bravo! De Capo! ["Hail To The Chief"], October 1943
Bunter Abend (2) ["Colorful Evening 2"], March 1944 (*)
Bunter Abend (3) ["Colorful Evening 2"], April 1944 (*)
Total Verrükt ["Totally Crazy"], June 1944 (**)
(*) featuring Otto Aurich and Liesl Frank
(**) featuring Otto Aurich
Amazingly, programmes were prepared for each of these productions. Links to those featuring Otto Aurich and Lisel Frank are provided. Click on thumbnails for larger images.
Bunter Abend (2) ["Colorful Evening 2"], March 1944
Bunter Abend (3) ["Colorful Evening 3"], April 1944
Total Verrükt ["Totally Crazy"], June 1944
Otto had been a dance and ballet master. He went to Amsterdam in 1936 and from then until 1938 had been a member of the Fritz Hirsch theatrical troupe, meeting Alice who joined the group as a singer in 1938. Otto's subsequent credits included:
various Dutch operette projects
March 1939 - Rudolf Nelson Revue
January 1941, June 1941, October 1941-February 1942 Kabarett der Prominente
May-June 1942 Joodsche Schowburg
March-June 1944 Westerbork stage troupe
He was deported to Theresienstadt on 04 September 1944 and then to Auschwitz on 29 September. He was moved again, to Buchenwald, and once more miraculously survived. After the war, Otto founded the Hoofdstad Operette together with Fritz Steiner, Otto Dürer and Meije Hamel. He died in Amsterdam on 24 March 1961, and was survived by third wife, Ruth Kathan (stage name Ruth Rhoden), who died during the 1990s.
In 1999, Otto made his CD debut with the first time release of his 1939 recording Die Damenschuhe Von Zimmer Nr 20.
Credited as Liesel Frank in the Westerbork programmes, her real name was Alice Frankel. Variations of her name also credit her as Lisl Frank and Alice Frankl. Her stage credits include:
1936-38 Fritz Hirsch Troupe and various Dutch operetta projects;
February-March 1939 Rudolf Nelson Revue;
June-August 1940, January 1941, June 1941, October 1941-February 1942 Kabarett der Prominente;
June 1942 Joodsche Schowburg;
March-April 1944, June 1944 Westerbork stage troupe.
She was deported with Otto to Theresienstadt and on to Auschwitz on 04 October 1944.From Auschwitz she was among those forced to march to Christianstadt, where she died.
In 1999, Liesel made her CD debut with the first time release of her 1939 recording Männer, Männer, Männer!
Otto & Lisl Internet References
Otto Aurich & Liesel Frank CD releases
VPRO Urubicha - Bühne Lager Westerbork
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Max Ehrlich Association
Claude Torres Website