Werner L. Frank is an avid genealogist who has amassed 36,000 family names dating to the thirteenth century. This research led to the publication of Legacy: The Saga of a German-Jewish Family Across Time and Circumstance.
Frank's German refugee origin turned his focus on the little known event that foreshadowed the Holocaust by authoring Curse of Gurs: Way Station to Auschwitz, chronicling the October 1940 deportation of over 6,000 Jews from Baden, Pfalz and Saar to Camp de Gurs in the south of France. Frank identifies seven-hundred family members who were among these victims that ended up in Vichy France and follows their fate, most losing their lives in the internment camp or being deported to Auschwitz in 1942.
A related aspect of this deportation is the role played by a 1939 Nazi edict that forced Jews to give up their individual residences and be crammed into selected buildings known as a Judenhaus (Jews' House). Such concentrations made it easier to control and manipulate Jews, as well as identify them for deportation. Frank's close relatives lived in such a house in the city of Mannheim leading him to tell their story in his most recent book, Judenhaus: Small Ghetto at Grosse Merzelstrasse 7.