Anne Frank's Family Faced Similar Challenges Syrian Refugees Face Today, Historian Says

Frank's family attempted to escape to the U.S. as refugees during World War II.

After the Nazis conquered France, fears were stirred that they would send Jewish refugees as spies to the U.S.

Frank's father, Otto, first applied to enter the U.S. as Jewish refugees in 1938.

Breitman said the first attempt failed, either because Otto simply failed to follow through with the process or because he got stuck on a wait list of 300,000 Jews.

Otto attempted to apply again in 1941, even asking an American friend to vouch for him by placing $5,000 in a bank as a pledge of support, Breitman said.

Otto then tried to get the family to Cuba, but that plan fell through, Breitman added, and the family ended up going into hiding in 1942, the year Anne Frank began her diary. She died in 1945 at a concentration camp.

Breitman said that it's "hard to speculate" what Anne Frank and her family's fate would have been if they were accepted to the US as refugees, but Anne could've been a writer and her family could have had "an enjoyable, long lives with children and grandchildren still alive today."