Manfred lived in a small German town close to the Dutch border. His father, Carl Frank, was a World War I veteran who worked as a cattle dealer. His mother, Irma (nee Tobias), was his father's second wife, and Manfred had an older half-sister, Hanna, and a sister, Marga, who was only one year older than him. Even before Manfred's birth, Germany passed restrictive laws against its Jewish citizens, barring them from most professions and strangling their businesses. Manfred's father began smuggling Jewish refugees over the border into Holland.
On the night of November 9-10, 1938, country-wide acts of terror and destruction were directed against Germany's Jews. Manfred's father was imprisoned and his oldest sister was expelled from school. Unable to leave the country, the entire family was trapped.
A few months after Mr. Frank was released from prison, the family received notice that they were to be deported to the "East."
The family was sent to Riga, Latvia, and forced to live in a sealed-off ghetto. The previous 30,000 Jewish residents of the ghetto had been murdered by the Nazis to make room for the thousands of German Jews now being sent there.
Conditions in the ghetto were horrendous. There was little food and water, and most sanitary facilities had been shut down by the Germans. Thousands died from starvation, disease, and exposure.
Six year-old Manfred lived in one room with his mother, father, older sisters, and four aunts. His father was shot while at work for stealing food for his starving family.
On November 2, 1942, the ghetto was emptied. The Nazis seized six year-old Manfred, his seven year-old sister Marga, his mother and aunts, along with most of the other residents of the ghetto, and gassed them in sealed transport vans.