In her diary entry for Saturday, November 27, 1943, Anne writes: "Yesterday evening, before I fell asleep, who should suddenly appear before my eyes but Lies! I saw her in front of me, clothed in rags, her face thin and worn. Her eyes were very big and she looked so sadly and reproachfully at me that I could read in her eyes: 'Oh, Anne, why have you deserted me? Help, oh, help me, rescue me from this hell!' And I cannot help her, I can only look on, how others suffer and die, and can only pray to God to send her back to us."
Lies' father, who had been press chief of the last pre-Nazi administration in Prussia, had emigrated to Holland with his family in 1933. They lived near the Franks in a suburb of Amsterdam, and Anne and Lies went to school together and were good friends. Together with Anne, Lies had to leave the Montessori school and attend the Jewish school, wear the yellow star on her clothes, and have her movements increasingly restricted by the edicts of the Nazi authorities after 1940. The Jewish children, however, continued to go to school, meet their friends for ice cream, conduct themselves as normally as they could, and lead as carefree a life as possible under the circumstances. Their parents, and the Dutch population, did all they could to protect them from the harsh reality of life under the Nazis, until this was no longer possible.
Lies and her parents did not go into hiding because Lies' mother was expecting a baby. Relations in Switzerland had obtained South American passports for the family; thus, they hoped that they could remain unmolested. Nevertheless, they were sent to Westerbork in 1943, and later to the Belsen concentration camp. There, they lived in a block for "neutral foreigners," and they were occasionally permitted to receive a Red Cross package. Lies' mother died, and later, in the winter of 1944-45, Lies' father fell ill and died also.
The same winter, Lies heard that in the next block of the camp, which was separated from hers by a barbed wire fence, a group had arrived from Auschwitz, and that among the prisoners were Margot and Anne Frank. Lies waited until night, then stole out of the barracks, went over to the barbed wire fence, and called softly into the darkness: "Is anyone over there?"
As chance would have it, the voice which answered her belonged to Mrs. Van Daan, whom both Lies and the Franks, of course, knew, and it was she who went and called Anne. Both Anne and Lies were very weak and emaciated by then and simply cried upon seeing one another across the barbed wire fence. They told one another what had happened to their families, but Anne did not know where her father was, only that her mother had stayed behind in Auschwitz. She also told Lies that Margot was still with her, but that she was very ill.
Lies tried to get a little extra food and clothing across the fence to Anne, and she succeeded, in part. But this, it seems, was not enough to save Anne from the typhus that was raging in the camp, and from which Margot died a few days before Anne herself perished.
Lies was told that Anne had died of typhus, and she believes this because she never saw her after the February night when she attempted to throw a package across the wire fence to her. Lies was sent out of Belsen in a shipment destined for Theresienstadt, but their train traveled right into the middle of a Russian offensive, and the Russians liberated the prisoners.
A woman who was in the camps at that time has said: "In Auschwitz we had had visible enemies: the gas chambers, the SS, and the brutality. But in Belsen we were left to ourselves. There we had not even hatred to buoy us up. We had only ourselves and our filthy bodies; we had only thirst, hunger, and the dead, the corpses lying all around, who showed us what a little thing life is. There it took a superhuman effort to remain alive. Typhus and debilitation — well, yes. But I feel certain that Anne died of her sister's death. Dying is so frightfully easy for anyone left alone in a concentration camp."