World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article


Article Id: WHEBN0002974945
Reproduction Date:

Title: Opekta  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Anne Frank, Miep Gies, Otto Frank, Jan Gies, Anne Frank House
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


An Opekta advertising poster from Anne Frank's room in the Secret Annexe. "NĂ¹ zelf Jam maken met Opekta", roughly "Now make homemade Jam with Opekta"

Opekta, also known as Gies & Co., was a European pectin and spice company that existed between 1928 and 1995. It is notable for its Dutch operation being based in the building at Prinsengracht 263 that would later become the Anne Frank House. Opekta started in Germany, and later expanded into the Netherlands in 1933, at which time Otto Frank moved from Germany to Amsterdam to become managing director of the new Dutch operation. Otto Frank was in charge of the manufacturing and distribution of the pectin-based gelling preparations, to be used in jam making. The company continued to trade from the same building whilst Otto Frank, his family (including his youngest daughter Anne Frank) and several other Jews hid from persecution stemming from the Nazi Occupation of the Netherlands during World War II.


The Opekta company was originally based in Cologne, Germany, being founded and owned by Austrian chemists Robert Feix and Richard Fackeldey. In 1933 the German businessman Otto Frank, then still residing in Germany, was appointed to aid their expansion into the Netherlands. Frank had already considered moving his family to the Netherlands following the election of Adolf Hitler and the rise of Nazism, so he accepted the post and moved alone to Amsterdam to find accommodation for his family and premises for the company. He had briefly managed a large rival firm, Pomosin, which traded pectin to factories from the Dutch town of Utrecht but decided that retail trade would be more lucrative in the Dutch market than wholesale. His franchise for the Amsterdam branch of Opekta was established in September 1933.

Victor Kugler, an ex-colleague from Pomosin, came on board almost immediately to help run the company. The workforce was small; apart from a junior clerk, the only other employee was a secretary, who left a few months after the company started trading. She was replaced by Miep Gies, whose duties extended from the secretarial, to public relations and advertising. In 1938, she appeared in a promotional film to promote the Opekta product, which was used to demonstrate to consumers how easy it was to use in cooking. That year they were joined by two other employees, Hermann van Pels as an herb specialist and Johannes Kleiman as a bookkeeper. Bep Voskuijl who had been the administration manager when war broke out, had been taken on the previous year, 1937.

After the arrival of the German occupiers in 1940, the company was re-registered under the names of Jan Gies and Johannes Kleiman to prevent it from being confiscated as a Jewish-owned business. It moved from the Amsterdam address Singel 400 to new premises at Prinsengracht 263 (later known as the Anne Frank House). The company was renamed to Gies & Co. Otto Frank had to resign in December 1941 at the point at which Otto Frank and Hermann van Pels and their families were forced into hiding in the upper rear rooms of the building in July 1942, but continued to act as a silent partner in the company. Their two-year confinement, which was aided by Kleiman, Kugler, Gies and Voskuijl, was famously chronicled by Otto Frank's youngest daughter, Anne, in an autobiographical work The Diary of a Young Girl published in 1947.

Otto Frank retired as director of Opekta in 1953 and was succeeded by Johannes Kleiman, until Kleiman's death in 1959. The building at Prinsengracht 263 was sold to developers in 1954 and Opekta was given notice to vacate the premises. By this time, Anne Frank's diary had drawn readers to visit the premises and a successful campaign saved the building from demolition. Opekta left the building in 1955 and five years later it re-opened as the Anne Frank Museum dedicated to the life and writings of Anne Frank.

The company was acquired by Dr. Oetker in August 1995.


External links

  • Otto Frank's businesses on the Anne Frank web site
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.