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Anne Frank

Anne Frank pictured in May 1942
Born Annelies Marie Frank
12 June 1929(1929-06-12)
Frankfurt am Main, Weimar Germany
Died early March 1945 (aged 15)
Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, Lower Saxony, Nazi Germany
Nationality German until 1941
Stateless from 1941
Notable work(s) The Diary of a Young Girl (1947)

Annelies Marie "Anne" Frank (About this sound pronunciation ; 12 June 1929 in Frankfurt am Main – early March 1945 in Bergen Belsen) is one of the most renowned and most discussed Jewish victims of the Holocaust. Acknowledged for the quality of her writing, her diary has become one of the world's most widely read books, and has been the basis for several plays and films.

Born in the city of Frankfurt am Main in Weimar Germany, she lived most of her life in or near Amsterdam, in the Netherlands. By nationality, she was officially considered a German until 1941, when she lost her nationality owing to the anti-Semitic policies of Nazi Germany. She gained international fame posthumously following the publication of her diary which documents her experiences hiding during the German occupation of the Netherlands in World War II.

The Frank family moved from Germany to Amsterdam in 1933, the same year as the Nazis gained power in Germany. By the beginning of 1940 they were trapped in Amsterdam due to the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands. As persecutions of the Jewish population increased in July 1942, the family went into hiding in the hidden rooms of her father Otto Frank's office building. After two years, the group was betrayed and transported to concentration camps. Anne Frank and her sister, Margot, were eventually transferred to the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp where they both died of typhus in March 1945.

Otto Frank, the only survivor of the family, returned to Amsterdam after the war to find that her diary had been saved, and his efforts led to its publication in 1947. It was translated from its original Dutch and first published in English in 1952 as The Diary of a Young Girl. It has since been translated into many languages. The diary, which was given to Anne on her 13th birthday, chronicles her life from 12 June 1942 until 1 August 1944.


Early life

Frank was born on 12 June 1929 in Frankfurt, Germany, the second daughter of Otto Frank (1889–1980) and Edith Frank-Holländer (1900–45). Margot Frank (1926–45) was her elder sister.[2] The Franks were liberal Jews and lived in an assimilated community of Jewish and non-Jewish citizens, where the children grew up with Catholic, Protestant, and Jewish friends. The Frank family did not observe all of the customs and traditions of Judaism.[3] Edith Frank was the more devout parent, while Otto Frank was interested in scholarly pursuits and had an extensive library; both parents encouraged the children to read.[4]

On 13 March 1933, elections were held in Frankfurt for the municipal council, and Adolf Hitler's Nazi Party won. Antisemitic demonstrations occurred almost immediately, and the Franks began to fear what would happen to them if they remained in Germany. Later that year, Edith and the children went to Aachen, where they stayed with Edith's mother, Rosa Holländer. Otto Frank remained in Frankfurt, but after receiving an offer to start a company in Amsterdam, he moved there to organise the business and to arrange accommodation for his family.[5] The Franks were among about 300,000 Jews who fled Germany between 1933 and 1939.[6]

A four story, brick apartment block showing the building's facade, with several windows and an internal staircase leading into the block.
The apartment block on the Merwedeplein where the Frank family lived from 1934 until 1942

Otto Frank began working at the Opekta Works, a company that sold the fruit extract pectin, and found an apartment on the Merwedeplein (Merwede Square) in Amsterdam. By February 1934, Edith and the children had arrived in Amsterdam, and the two girls were enrolled in school—Margot in public school and Anne in a Montessori school. Margot demonstrated ability in arithmetic, and Anne showed aptitude for reading and writing. Her friend Hanneli Goslar later recalled that from early childhood, Anne frequently wrote, though she shielded her work with her hands and refused to discuss the content of her writing. Margot and Anne had highly distinct personalities, Margot being well-mannered, reserved, and studious,[7] while Anne was outspoken, energetic, and extroverted.[8]

In 1938, Otto Frank started a second company Pectacon, which was a wholesaler of herbs, pickling salts and mixed spices, used in the production of sausages.[9][10] Hermann van Pels was employed by Pectacon as an advisor about spices. He was a Jewish butcher, who had fled Osnabrück in Germany with his family.[10] In 1939, Edith's mother came to live with the Franks, and remained with them until her death in January 1942.[11]

In May 1940, Germany invaded the Netherlands, and the occupation government began to persecute Jews by the implementation of restrictive and discriminatory laws; mandatory registration and segregation soon followed. Margot and Anne were excelling in their studies and had many friends, but with the introduction of a decree that Jewish children could attend only Jewish schools, they were enrolled at the Jewish Lyceum.[11] In April 1941, Otto Frank took action to prevent Pectacon from being confiscated as a Jewish-owned business. He transferred his shares in Pectacon to Johannes Kleiman, and resigned as director. The company was liquidated and all assets transferred to Gies and Company, headed by Jan Gies. In December 1941, he followed a similar process to save Opekta. The businesses continued with little obvious change and their survival allowed Otto Frank to earn a minimal income, but sufficient to provide for his family.[12]

Time period chronicled in the diary

Before going into hiding

For her thirteenth birthday on 12 June 1942, Anne received a book she had shown her father in a shop window a few days earlier. Although it was an autograph book, bound with red-and-green plaid cloth and with a small lock on the front, Anne decided she would use it as a diary,[13] and began writing in it almost immediately. While many of her early entries relate the mundane aspects of her life, she also discusses some of the changes that had taken place in the Netherlands since the German occupation. In her entry dated 20 June 1942, she lists many of the restrictions that had been placed upon the lives of the Dutch Jewish population, and also notes her sorrow at the death of her grandmother earlier in the year.[14] Anne dreamed about becoming an actress. She loved watching movies, but the Dutch Jews were forbidden access to movie theaters from 8 January 1941 onwards.[15]

In July 1942, Margot Frank received a call-up notice from the Zentralstelle für jüdische Auswanderung (Central Office for Jewish Emigration) ordering her to report for relocation to a work camp. Anne was told by her father that the family would go into hiding in rooms above and behind the company's premises on the Prinsengracht, a street along one of Amsterdam's canals, where some of Otto Frank's most trusted employees would help them. The call-up notice forced them to relocate several weeks earlier than had been anticipated.[16]

Life in the Achterhuis

A three shelf timber bookcase, filled with books, stands at an angle in front of a doorway to the Secret Annexe
Reconstruction of the bookcase that covered the entrance to the Secret Annexe, in the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam

On the morning of Monday, 6 July 1942,[17] the family moved into the hiding place. Their apartment was left in a state of disarray to create the impression that they had left suddenly, and Otto Frank left a note that hinted they were going to Switzerland. The need for secrecy forced them to leave behind Anne's cat, Moortje. As Jews were not allowed to use public transport, they walked several kilometers from their home, with each of them wearing several layers of clothing as they did not dare to be seen carrying luggage.[18] The Achterhuis (a Dutch word denoting the rear part of a house, translated as the "Secret Annexe" in English editions of the diary) was a three-story space entered from a landing above the Opekta offices. Two small rooms, with an adjoining bathroom and toilet, were on the first level, and above that a larger open room, with a small room beside it. From this smaller room, a ladder led to the attic. The door to the Achterhuis was later covered by a bookcase to ensure it remained undiscovered. The main building, situated a block from the Westerkerk, was nondescript, old and typical of buildings in the western quarters of Amsterdam.[19]

Victor Kugler, Johannes Kleiman, Miep Gies, and Bep Voskuijl were the only employees who knew of the people in hiding, and with Gies's husband Jan Gies and Voskuijl's father Johannes Hendrik Voskuijl, were their "helpers" for the duration of their confinement. These contacts provided the only connection between the outside world and the occupants of the house, and they kept the occupants informed of war news and political developments. They catered for all of their needs, ensured their safety and supplied them with food, a task that grew more difficult with the passage of time. Anne wrote of their dedication and of their efforts to boost morale within the household during the most dangerous of times. All were aware that if caught they could face the death penalty for sheltering Jews.[20]

A photograph taken from the opposite side of the canal shows two four story buildings which housed the Opekta offices and behind them, the Secret Annexe
The house (left) at the Prinsengracht in Amsterdam

On 13 July, the Franks were joined by the van Pels family: Hermann, Auguste, and 16-year-old Peter, and then in November by Fritz Pfeffer, a dentist and friend of the family. Anne wrote of her pleasure at having new people to talk to, but tensions quickly developed within the group forced to live in such confined conditions. After sharing her room with Pfeffer, she found him to be insufferable and resented his intrusion,[21] and she clashed with Auguste van Pels, whom she regarded as foolish. She regarded Hermann van Pels and Fritz Pfeffer as selfish, particularly in regard to the amount of food they consumed.[22] Some time later, after first dismissing the shy and awkward Peter van Pels, she recognised a kinship with him and the two entered a romance. She received her first kiss from him, but her infatuation with him began to wane as she questioned whether her feelings for him were genuine, or resulted from their shared confinement.[23] Anne Frank formed a close bond with each of the helpers and Otto Frank later recalled that she had anticipated their daily visits with impatient enthusiasm. He observed that Anne's closest friendship was with Bep Voskuijl, "the young typist... the two of them often stood whispering in the corner."[24]

In her writing, Anne Frank examined her relationships with the members of her family, and the strong differences in each of their personalities. She considered herself to be closest emotionally to her father, who later commented, "I got on better with Anne than with Margot, who was more attached to her mother. The reason for that may have been that Margot rarely showed her feelings and didn't need as much support because she didn't suffer from mood swings as much as Anne did."[25] Anne and Margot formed a closer relationship than had existed before they went into hiding, although Anne sometimes expressed jealousy towards Margot, particularly when members of the household criticised Anne for lacking Margot's gentle and placid nature. As Anne began to mature, the sisters were able to confide in each other. In her entry of 12 January 1944, Anne wrote, "Margot's much nicer... She's not nearly so catty these days and is becoming a real friend. She no longer thinks of me as a little baby who doesn't count."[26]

Taken from the top of the Westerkerk church, this image shows the Prinsengracht canal and the rooftops of the buildings in the neighborhood
The Secret Annexe with its light-coloured walls and orange roof (bottom) and the Anne Frank tree in the garden behind the house (bottom right), seen from the Westerkerk in 2004

Anne frequently wrote of her difficult relationship with her mother, and of her ambivalence towards her. On 7 November 1942 she described her "contempt" for her mother and her inability to "confront her with her carelessness, her sarcasm and her hard-heartedness," before concluding, "She's not a mother to me."[27] Later, as she revised her diary, Anne felt ashamed of her harsh attitude, writing: "Anne is it really you who mentioned hate, oh Anne, how could you?"[28] She came to understand that their differences resulted from misunderstandings that were as much her fault as her mother's, and saw that she had added unnecessarily to her mother's suffering. With this realization, Anne began to treat her mother with a degree of tolerance and respect.[29]

Margot and Anne each hoped to return to school as soon as they were able, and continued with their studies while in hiding. Margot took a shorthand course by correspondence in Bep Voskuijl's name and received high marks. Most of Anne's time was spent reading and studying, and she regularly wrote and edited her diary entries. In addition to providing a narrative of events as they occurred, she wrote about her feelings, beliefs and ambitions, subjects she felt she could not discuss with anyone. As her confidence in her writing grew, and as she began to mature, she wrote of more abstract subjects such as her belief in God, and how she defined human nature.[30]

Anne aspired to become a journalist, writing in her diary on Wednesday, 5 April 1944:

I finally realized that I must do my schoolwork to keep from being ignorant, to get on in life, to become a journalist, because that’s what I want! I know I can write ..., but it remains to be seen whether I really have talent ...

And if I don’t have the talent to write books or newspaper articles, I can always write for myself. But I want to achieve more than that. I can’t imagine living like Mother, Mrs. van Daan and all the women who go about their work and are then forgotten. I need to have something besides a husband and children to devote myself to! ... I want to be useful or bring enjoyment to all people, even those I’ve never met. I want to go on living even after my death! And that’s why I’m so grateful to God for having given me this gift, which I can use to develop myself and to express all that’s inside me! When I write I can shake off all my cares. My sorrow disappears, my spirits are revived! But, and that’s a big question, will I ever be able to write something great, will I ever become a journalist or a writer?

—Anne Frank[31]

She continued writing regularly until her final entry of August 1, 1944.


Taken from outside the reconstruction of a barracks, the photo shows a barbed-wire fence, and beyond it a grassy area with a small timber hut
A reconstruction of the barracks in the concentration camp Westerbork where Anne Frank stayed from August to September 1944

On the morning of 4 August 1944, the Achterhuis was stormed by the German Security Police (Grüne Polizei) following a tip-off from an informer who was never identified.[32] Led by Schutzstaffel Oberscharführer Karl Silberbauer of the Sicherheitsdienst, the group included at least three members of the Security Police. The Franks, van Pelses and Pfeffer were taken to the Gestapo headquarters where they were interrogated and held overnight. On 5 August, they were transferred to the Huis van Bewaring (House of Detention), an overcrowded prison on the Weteringschans. Two days later they were transported to Westerbork. Ostensibly a transit camp, by this time more than 100,000 Jews had passed through it. Having been arrested in hiding, they were considered criminals and were sent to the Punishment Barracks for hard labor.[33]

Victor Kugler and Johannes Kleiman were arrested and jailed at the penal camp for enemies of the regime at Amersfoort. Kleiman was released after seven weeks, but Kugler was held in various work camps until the war's end.[34] Miep Gies and Bep Voskuijl were questioned and threatened by the Security Police but were not detained. They returned to the Achterhuis the following day, and found Anne's papers strewn on the floor. They collected them, as well as several family photograph albums, and Gies resolved to return them to Anne after the war. On 7 August 1944, Gies attempted to facilitate the release of the prisoners by confronting Silberbauer and offering him money to intervene, but he refused.[35]

Deportation and death

On September 3,[36] the group was deported on what would be the last transport from Westerbork to the Auschwitz concentration camp, and arrived after a three-day journey. In the chaos that marked the unloading of the trains, the men were forcibly separated from the women and children, and Otto Frank was wrenched from his family. Of the 1,019 passengers, 549—including all children younger than fifteen—were sent directly to the gas chambers. Anne had turned fifteen three months earlier and was one of the youngest people to be spared from her transport. She was soon made aware that most people were gassed upon arrival, and never learned that the entire group from the Achterhuis had survived this selection. She reasoned that her father, in his mid-fifties and not particularly robust, had been killed immediately after they were separated.[37]

With the other females not selected for immediate death, Anne was forced to strip naked to be disinfected, had her head shaved and was tattooed with an identifying number on her arm. By day, the women were used as slave labor and Anne was forced to haul rocks and dig rolls of sod; by night, they were crammed into overcrowded barracks. Witnesses later testified Anne became withdrawn and tearful when she saw children being led to the gas chambers, though other witnesses reported more often she displayed strength and courage, and her gregarious and confident nature allowed her to obtain extra bread rations for Edith, Margot and herself. Disease was rampant and before long, Anne's skin became badly infected by scabies. She and Margot were moved into an infirmary, which was in a state of constant darkness, and infested with rats and mice. Edith Frank stopped eating, saving every morsel of food for her daughters and passing her rations to them, through a hole she made at the bottom of the infirmary wall.[38]

A Memorial for Margot and Anne Frank shows a Star of David and the full names and birthdates and year of death of each of the sisters, in white lettering on a large black stone. The stone sits alone in a grassy field, and the ground beneath the stone is covered with floral tributes and photographs of Anne Frank
Memorial for Margot and Anne Frank at the former Bergen-Belsen site, along with floral and pictorial tributes

On 28 October, selections began for women to be relocated to Bergen-Belsen. More than 8,000 women, including Anne and Margot Frank and Auguste van Pels, were transported, but Edith Frank was left behind and later died from starvation.[39] Tents were erected at Bergen-Belsen to accommodate the influx of prisoners, and as the population rose, the death toll due to disease increased rapidly. Anne was briefly reunited with two friends, Hanneli Goslar and Nanette Blitz, who were confined in another section of the camp. Goslar and Blitz both survived the war and later discussed the brief conversations they had conducted with Anne through a fence. Blitz described her as bald, emaciated and shivering and Goslar noted Auguste van Pels was with Anne and Margot Frank, and was caring for Margot, who was severely ill. Neither of them saw Margot as she was too weak to leave her bunk. Anne told both Blitz and Goslar she believed her parents were dead, and for that reason did not wish to live any longer. Goslar later estimated their meetings had taken place in late January or early February, 1945.[40]

In March 1945, a typhus epidemic spread through the camp and killed approximately 17,000 prisoners.[41] Witnesses later testified Margot fell from her bunk in her weakened state and was killed by the shock, and a few days later Anne died. They state this occurred a few weeks before the camp was liberated by British troops on 15 April 1945, although the exact dates were not recorded.[42] After liberation, the camp was burned in an effort to prevent further spread of disease, and Anne and Margot were buried in a mass grave, the exact whereabouts of which is unknown.

After the war, it was estimated of the 107,000 Jews deported from the Netherlands between 1942 and 1944, only 5,000 survived. It was also estimated up to 30,000 Jews remained in the Netherlands, with many people aided by the Dutch underground. Approximately two-thirds of this group of people survived the war.[43]

Otto Frank survived his internment in Auschwitz. After the war ended, he returned to Amsterdam where he was sheltered by Jan and Miep Gies, as he attempted to locate his family. He learned of the death of his wife, Edith, in Auschwitz, but he remained hopeful that his daughters had survived. After several weeks, he discovered Margot and Anne had also died. He attempted to determine the fates of his daughters' friends, and learned many had been murdered. Susanne Ledermann, often mentioned in Anne's diary, had been gassed along with her parents, though her sister, Barbara, a close friend of Margot, had survived.[44] Several of the Frank sisters' school friends had survived, as had the extended families of both Otto and Edith Frank, as they had fled Germany during the mid 1930s, with individual family members settling in Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States.

The Diary of a Young Girl


Het Achterhuis (1947), cover of the first edition of Anne Frank's diary later translated as The Diary of a Young Girl

In July 1945, after the Red Cross confirmed the deaths of Anne and Margot, Miep Gies gave Otto Frank the diary, along with a bundle of loose notes that she had saved, in the hope that she could have returned them to Anne. Otto Frank later commented that he had not realised Anne had kept such an accurate and well-written record of their time in hiding. In his memoir he described the painful process of reading the diary, recognizing the events described and recalling that he had already heard some of the more amusing episodes read aloud by his daughter. He also noted that he saw for the first time the more private side of his daughter, and those sections of the diary she had not discussed with anyone, noting, "For me it was a revelation... I had no idea of the depth of her thoughts and feelings... She had kept all these feelings to herself".[45] Moved by her repeated wish to be an author, he began to consider having it published.

Anne's diary began as a private expression of her thoughts and she wrote several times that she would never allow anyone to read it. She candidly described her life, her family and companions, and their situation, while beginning to recognise her ambition to write fiction for publication. In March 1944, she heard a radio broadcast by Gerrit Bolkestein—a member of the Dutch government in exile—who said that when the war ended, he would create a public record of the Dutch people's oppression under German occupation.[46] He mentioned the publication of letters and diaries, and Anne decided to submit her work when the time came. She began editing her writing, removing sections and rewriting others, with the view to publication. Her original notebook was supplemented by additional notebooks and loose-leaf sheets of paper. She created pseudonyms for the members of the household and the helpers. The van Pels family became Hermann, Petronella, and Peter van Daan, and Fritz Pfeffer became Albert Düssell. In this edited version, she also addressed each entry to "Kitty," a fictional character in Cissy van Marxveldt's Joop ter Heul novels that Anne enjoyed reading. Otto Frank used her original diary, known as "version A", and her edited version, known as "version B", to produce the first version for publication. He removed certain passages, most notably those in which Anne is critical of her parents (especially her mother), and sections that discussed Anne's growing sexuality. Although he restored the true identities of his own family, he retained all of the other pseudonyms.

Otto Frank gave the diary to the historian Annie Romein-Verschoor, who tried unsuccessfully to have it published. She then gave it to her husband Jan Romein, who wrote an article about it, titled "Kinderstem" ("A Child's Voice"), published in the newspaper Het Parool on 3 April 1946. He wrote that the diary "stammered out in a child's voice, embodies all the hideousness of fascism, more so than all the evidence at Nuremberg put together"[47] His article attracted attention from publishers, and the diary was published in the Netherlands as Het Achterhuis in 1947,[48] followed by a second run in 1950.

It was first published in Germany and France in 1950, and after being rejected by several publishers, was first published in the United Kingdom in 1952. The first American edition was published in 1952 under the title Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl and was positively reviewed. It was successful in France, Germany and the United States, but in the United Kingdom it failed to attract an audience and by 1953 was out of print. Its most noteworthy success was in Japan where it received critical acclaim and sold more than 100,000 copies in its first edition. In Japan, Anne Frank quickly became identified as an important cultural figure who represented the destruction of youth during the war.[49]

A play based upon the diary, by Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett, premiered in New York City on 5 October 1955, and later won a Pulitzer Prize for Drama. It was followed by the 1959 movie The Diary of Anne Frank, which was a critical and commercial success. The biographer, Melissa Müller, later wrote that the dramatization had "contributed greatly to the romanticizing, sentimentalizing and universalizing of Anne's story."[50] Over the years the popularity of the diary grew, and in many schools, particularly in the United States, it was included as part of the curriculum, introducing Anne Frank to new generations of readers.

In 1986, the Netherlands State Institute for War Documentation published the "Critical Edition" of the diary. It includes comparisons from all known versions, both edited and unedited. It also includes discussion asserting its authentication, as well as additional historical information relating to the family and the diary itself.[51]

Cornelis Suijk—a former director of the Anne Frank Foundation and president of the U.S. Center for Holocaust Education Foundation—announced in 1999 that he was in the possession of five pages that had been removed by Otto Frank from the diary prior to publication; Suijk claimed that Otto Frank gave these pages to him shortly before his death in 1980. The missing diary entries contain critical remarks by Anne Frank about her parents' strained marriage, and discuss Anne's lack of affection for her mother.[52] Some controversy ensued when Suijk claimed publishing rights over the five pages and intended to sell them to raise money for his U.S. Foundation. The Netherlands Institute for War Documentation, the formal owner of the manuscript, demanded the pages be handed over. In 2000, the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science agreed to donate US$300,000 to Suijk's Foundation, and the pages were returned in 2001. Since then, they have been included in new editions of the diary.


The diary has been praised for its literary merits. Commenting on Anne Frank's writing style, the dramatist Meyer Levin commended Frank for "sustaining the tension of a well-constructed novel",[53] and was so impressed by the quality of her work that he collaborated with Otto Frank on a dramatisation of the diary shortly after its publication.[54] Meyer became obsessed with Anne Frank, which he wrote about in his autobiography The Obsession. The poet John Berryman wrote it was a unique depiction, not merely of adolescence but of the "conversion of a child into a person as it is happening in a precise, confident, economical style stunning in its honesty".[55]

In her introduction to the diary's first American edition, Eleanor Roosevelt described it as "one of the wisest and most moving commentaries on war and its impact on human beings that I have ever read."[citation needed] John F. Kennedy discussed Anne Frank in a 1961 speech, and said, "Of all the multitudes who throughout history have spoken for human dignity in times of great suffering and loss, no voice is more compelling than that of Anne Frank."[56] In the same year, the Soviet writer Ilya Ehrenburg wrote of her: "one voice speaks for six million—the voice not of a sage or a poet but of an ordinary little girl."[57]

As Anne Frank's stature as both a writer and humanist has grown, she has been discussed specifically as a symbol of the Holocaust and more broadly as a representative of persecution. Hillary Rodham Clinton, in her acceptance speech for an Elie Wiesel Humanitarian Award in 1994, read from Anne Frank's diary and spoke of her "awakening us to the folly of indifference and the terrible toll it takes on our young," which Clinton related to contemporary events in Sarajevo, Somalia and Rwanda.[58] After receiving a humanitarian award from the Anne Frank Foundation in 1994, Nelson Mandela addressed a crowd in Johannesburg, saying he had read Anne Frank's diary while in prison and "derived much encouragement from it." He likened her struggle against Nazism to his struggle against apartheid, drawing a parallel between the two philosophies with the comment "because these beliefs are patently false, and because they were, and will always be, challenged by the likes of Anne Frank, they are bound to fail."[59] Also in 1994, Václav Havel said "Anne Frank's legacy is very much alive and it can address us fully" in relation to the political and social changes occurring at the time in former Eastern Bloc countries.[56]

Primo Levi suggested Anne Frank is frequently identified as a single representative of the millions of people who suffered and died as she did because, "One single Anne Frank moves us more than the countless others who suffered just as she did but whose faces have remained in the shadows. Perhaps it is better that way; if we were capable of taking in all the suffering of all those people, we would not be able to live."[56] In her closing message in Melissa Müller's biography of Anne Frank, Miep Gies expressed a similar thought, though she attempted to dispel what she felt was a growing misconception that "Anne symbolises the six million victims of the Holocaust", writing: "Anne's life and death were her own individual fate, an individual fate that happened six million times over. Anne cannot, and should not, stand for the many individuals whom the Nazis robbed of their lives... But her fate helps us grasp the immense loss the world suffered because of the Holocaust."[60]

Otto Frank spent the remainder of his life as custodian of his daughter's legacy, saying, "It's a strange role. In the normal family relationship, it is the child of the famous parent who has the honor and the burden of continuing the task. In my case the role is reversed." He also recalled his publisher explaining why he thought the diary has been so widely read, with the comment "he said that the diary encompasses so many areas of life that each reader can find something that moves him personally".[61] Simon Wiesenthal later expressed a similar opinion when he said that Anne Frank's diary had raised more widespread awareness of the Holocaust than had been achieved during the Nuremberg Trials, because "people identified with this child. This was the impact of the Holocaust, this was a family like my family, like your family and so you could understand this."[62]

In June 1999, Time magazine published a special edition titled "Time 100: The Most Important People of the Century". Anne Frank was selected as one of the "Heroes & Icons", and the writer, Roger Rosenblatt, described her legacy with the comment, "The passions the book ignites suggest that everyone owns Anne Frank, that she has risen above the Holocaust, Judaism, girlhood and even goodness and become a totemic figure of the modern world—the moral individual mind beset by the machinery of destruction, insisting on the right to live and question and hope for the future of human beings." He also notes while her courage and pragmatism are admired, it is her ability to analyze herself and the quality of her writing are the key components of her appeal. He writes, "The reason for her immortality was basically literary. She was an extraordinarily good writer, for any age, and the quality of her work seemed a direct result of a ruthlessly honest disposition."[63]

Denials and legal action

After the diary became widely known in the late 1950s, various allegations against the diary were published, with the earliest published criticisms occurring in Sweden and Norway. The allegations in the Swedish Nazi magazine Fria ord (free words) in 1957 came from the Danish author and critic Harald Nielsen who had written antisemitic articles about the Danish-Jewish author Georg Brandes already at the beginning of the twentieth century.[64] Among the accusations was a claim that the diary had been written by Meyer Levin,[65] and that Anne Frank had not really existed.

In 1958, Simon Wiesenthal was challenged by a group of protesters at a performance of The Diary of Anne Frank in Vienna who asserted that Anne Frank had never existed, and who challenged Wiesenthal to prove her existence by finding the man who had arrested her. He began searching for Karl Silberbauer and found him in 1963. When interviewed, Silberbauer readily admitted his role, and identified Anne Frank from a photograph as one of the people arrested. He provided a full account of events and recalled emptying a briefcase full of papers onto the floor. His statement corroborated the version of events that had previously been presented by witnesses such as Otto Frank.[66]

Opponents of the diary continued to express the view that it was not written by a child, but had been created as pro-Jewish propaganda, with Otto Frank accused of fraud. In 1959, Frank took legal action in Lübeck against Lothar Stielau, a school teacher and former Hitler Youth member who published a school paper that described the diary as a forgery. The complaint was extended to include Heinrich Buddegerg, who wrote a letter in support of Stielau, which was published in a Lübeck newspaper. The court examined the diary, and, in 1960, authenticated the handwriting as matching that in letters known to have been written by Anne Frank, and declared the diary to be genuine. Stielau recanted his earlier statement, and Otto Frank did not pursue the case any further.[65]

In 1976, Otto Frank took action against Heinz Roth of Frankfurt, who published pamphlets stating that the diary was a forgery. The judge ruled that if he published further statements he would be subjected to a fine of 500,000 German marks and a six-month jail sentence. Roth appealed against the court's decision and died in 1978, a year before his appeal was rejected.[65]

Otto Frank mounted a further lawsuit in 1976 against Ernst Römer who distributed a pamphlet titled "The Diary of Anne Frank, Bestseller, A Lie". When another man named Edgar Geiss distributed the same pamphlet in the courtroom, he too was prosecuted. Römer was fined 1,500 Deutschmarks,[65] and Geiss was sentenced to six months imprisonment. On appeal the sentence was reduced, but the case against him was dropped following a subsequent appeal because the statutory limitation for libel had expired.[67]

With Otto Frank's death in 1980, the original diary, including letters and loose sheets, were willed to the Dutch Institute for War Documentation,[68] who commissioned a forensic study of the diary through the Netherlands Ministry of Justice in 1986. They examined the handwriting against known examples and found that they matched, and determined that the paper, glue and ink were readily available during the time the diary was said to have been written. Their final determination was that the diary is authentic, and their findings were published in what has become known as the "Critical Edition" of the diary. On 23 March 1990, the Hamburg Regional Court confirmed its authenticity.[51]

In 1991, Holocaust deniers Robert Faurisson and Siegfried Verbeke produced a booklet titled The Diary of Anne Frank: A Critical Approach. They claimed that Otto Frank wrote the diary, based on assertions that the diary contained several contradictions, that hiding in the Achterhuis would have been impossible, and that the prose style and handwriting of Anne Frank were not those of a teenager.[69]

The Anne Frank House in Amsterdam and the Anne Frank Funds in Basel instigated a civil law suit in December 1993, to prohibit the further distribution of The Diary of Anne Frank: A Critical Approach in the Netherlands. On 9 December 1998, the Amsterdam District Court ruled in favour of the claimants, forbade any further denial of the authenticity of the diary and unsolicited distribution of publications to that effect, and imposed a penalty of 25,000 guilders per infringement.[70]


People waiting in line in front of the Anne Frank House entrance in Amsterdam

On 3 May 1957, a group of citizens, including Otto Frank, established the Anne Frank Stichting in an effort to rescue the Prinsengracht building from demolition and to make it accessible to the public. The Anne Frank House opened on 3 May 1960. It consists of the Opekta warehouse and offices and the Achterhuis, all unfurnished so that visitors can walk freely through the rooms. Some personal relics of the former occupants remain, such as movie star photographs glued by Anne to a wall, a section of wallpaper on which Otto Frank marked the height of his growing daughters, and a map on the wall where he recorded the advance of the Allied Forces, all now protected behind Perspex sheets. From the small room which was once home to Peter van Pels, a walkway connects the building to its neighbours, also purchased by the Foundation. These other buildings are used to house the diary, as well as changing exhibits that chronicle different aspects of the Holocaust and more contemporary examinations of racial intolerance in various parts of the world. It has become one of Amsterdam's main tourist attractions, and in 2005 received a record 965,000 visitors. The House provides information via the internet, as well as travelling exhibitions, for those not able to visit. In 2005, exhibitions travelled to 32 countries in Europe, Asia, North America and South America.[71]

A bronze statue of a smiling Anne Frank, wearing a short dress and standing with her arms behind her back, sits upon a stone plinth with a plaque reading "Anne Frank 1929–1945". The statue is in a small square, and behind it is a brick building with two large window, and a bicycle. The statue stands between the two windows.
Statue of Anne Frank, by Mari Andriessen, outside the Westerkerk in Amsterdam

In 1963, Otto Frank and his second wife, Elfriede Geiringer-Markovits, set up the Anne Frank Fonds as a charitable foundation, based in Basel, Switzerland. The Fonds raises money to donate to causes "as it sees fit". Upon his death, Otto willed the diary's copyright to the Fonds, on the provision that the first 80,000 Swiss francs in income each year was to be distributed to his heirs, and any income above this figure was to be retained by the Fonds to use for whatever projects its administrators considered worthy. It provides funding for the medical treatment of the Righteous among the Nations on a yearly basis. It has aimed to educate young people against racism and has loaned some of Anne Frank's papers to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. for an exhibition in 2003. Its annual report of the same year gave some indication of its effort to contribute on a global level, with its support of projects in Germany, Israel, India, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States.[citation needed]

The Merwedeplein apartment, in which the Frank family lived from 1933 until 1942, remained privately owned until the early 2000s, when a television documentary focused public attention upon it. In a serious state of disrepair, it was purchased by a Dutch housing corporation, and aided by photographs taken by the Frank family and descriptions of the apartment and furnishings in letters written by Anne Frank, was restored to its 1930s appearance. Teresien da Silva of the Anne Frank House, and Anne Frank's cousin Bernhard "Buddy" Elias also contributed to the restoration project. It opened in 2005 with the aim of providing a safe haven for a selected writer who is unable to write freely in his or her own country. Each selected writer is allowed one year's tenancy during which to reside and work in the apartment. The first writer selected was the Algerian novelist and poet, El-Mahdi Acherchour.[71]

The Anne Frank tree in the garden behind the Anne Frank House

In June 2007, "Buddy" Elias donated some 25,000 family documents to the Anne Frank House. Among the artifacts are Frank family photographs taken in Germany and Holland and the letter Otto Frank sent his mother in 1945 informing her that his wife and daughters had perished in Nazi concentration camps.[72]

In November 2007, the Anne Frank tree was scheduled to be cut down to prevent it from falling down on one of the surrounding buildings, after a fungal disease had affected the trunk of this horse-chestnut tree. Dutch economist Arnold Heertje, who was also in hiding during the Second World War,[citation needed] said about the tree: "This is not just any tree. The Anne Frank tree is bound up with the persecution of the Jews."[73] The Tree Foundation, a group of tree conservationists, started a civil case in order to stop the felling of the horse chestnut, which received international media attention. A Dutch court ordered the city officials and conservationists to explore alternatives and come to a solution.[74] The parties agreed to build a steel construction that would prolong the life of the tree up to 15 years.[73]

Anne Frank's wax model located in the Madame Tussauds Amsterdam wax museum.

Over the years, several films about Anne Frank appeared and her life and writings have inspired a diverse group of artists and social commentators to make reference to her in literature, popular music, television, and other forms of media. These include The Anne Frank Ballet by Adam Darius[75], first performed in 1959, and the choral work Annelies, first performed in 2005.[citation needed] The only known footage of the real Anne Frank comes from a 1941 silent film recorded for her newly-wed next-door neighbor. She is seen leaning out of a second-floor window in an attempt to see the bride and groom better. The couple survived the war and gave the video to the Anne Frank House, a museum in Amsterdam.[76]

In 1999, Time named Anne Frank among the heroes and icons of the 20th century on their list The Most Important People of the Century, stating: "With a diary kept in a secret attic, she braved the Nazis and lent a searing voice to the fight for human dignity".[citation needed]

See also

Notes and references

  1. ^ Müller, pp. 143, 180–181, 186
  2. ^ Müller, Family tree, preface to Chapter One
  3. ^ Van der Rol and Verhoeven, p. 10
  4. ^ Lee, p. 17
  5. ^ Lee, pp. 20–23
  6. ^ Van der Rol and Verhoeven, p. 21
  7. ^ Müller, p. 131
  8. ^ Müller, pp. 129–35
  9. ^ Müller, p. 92
  10. ^ a b Lee, p. 40
  11. ^ a b Müller, pp. 128–130
  12. ^ Müller, pp. 117–118
  13. ^ Lee, p. 96
  14. ^ Frank and Massotty, pp. 1–20
  15. ^ Müller, Melissa. Anne Frank: The Biography Macmillan, 1998. ISBN 0-8050-5996-2 pp. 119–120
  16. ^ Müller, p. 153
  17. ^ Müller, p. 163
  18. ^ Lee, pp. 105–106
  19. ^ Westra, pp. 45 and 107–187
  20. ^ Lee, pp. 113–115
  21. ^ Lee, pp. 120–21
  22. ^ Lee, p. 117
  23. ^ Westra, p. 191
  24. ^ Lee, p. 119
  25. ^ Müller, p. 203
  26. ^ Frank and Massotty, p. 167
  27. ^ Frank and Massotty, p. 63
  28. ^ Frank and Massotty, p. 157
  29. ^ Müller, p. 204
  30. ^ Müller, p. 194
  31. ^ [1] Lessons from The Diary of Anne Frank by Harold Marcuse, UCSB
  32. ^ Barnauw, David and Gerrold van der Stroom (2003-04-25). "Who Betrayed Anne Frank?" (PDF). Netherlands Institute for War Documentation, Amsterdam. Retrieved 2007-11-12. 
  33. ^ Müller, p. 233
  34. ^ Müller, p. 291
  35. ^ Müller, p. 279
  36. ^ Westra, p. 196 includes a reproduction of part of the transport list showing the names of each of the Frank family
  37. ^ Müller, pp. 246–247
  38. ^ Müller, pp. 248–251
  39. ^ Müller, p. 252
  40. ^ Müller, p. 255
  41. ^ Müller, p. 261
  42. ^ "Typhus". Betrayed. Anne Frank Stichting. pp. 5. Retrieved 2007-02-02. 
  43. ^ "Holocaust Encyclopedia - The Netherlands". The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Retrieved 2007-11-27. 
  44. ^ Lee, pp. 211–212
  45. ^ Lee, p. 216
  46. ^ Frank and Massotty, p. 242
  47. ^ Romein, Jan. "The publication of the diary: reproduction of Jan Romein's Het Parool article Kinderstem". Anne Frank Museum. Retrieved 2007-11-25. 
  48. ^ Lee, p. 223
  49. ^ Lee, p. 225
  50. ^ Müller, p. 276
  51. ^ a b Frank, Anne and Netherlands State Institute for War Documentation, p. 102
  52. ^ Blumenthal, Ralph (1998-09-10). "Five precious pages renew wrangling over Anne Frank.". The New York Times. Retrieved 2007-11-25. 
  53. ^ Levin, Meyer (1952-06-15). "The child behind the secret door; An Adolescent Girl's Own Story of How She Hid for Two Years During the Nazi Terror". The New York Times Book Review. Retrieved 2007-11-19. 
  54. ^ Michaelsen, Jacob B. "Remembering Anne Frank". Judaism (Spring 1997). Retrieved on 17 March 2006.
  55. ^ Berryman, John. "The Development of Anne Frank" in Solotaroff-Enzer, Sandra and Hyman Aaron Enzer (2000). Anne Frank: Reflections on her life and legacy. Univ. of Illinois Press. p. 78. 
  56. ^ a b c Westra, p. 242
  57. ^ Graver, Lawrence. "One Voice Speaks for Six Million: The uses and abuses of Anne Frank's diary". Yale Holocaust Encyclopedia. Yale University Press. Retrieved 2007-11-19. 
  58. ^ Remarks by the First Lady, Elie Wiesel Humanitarian Awards, New York City., 14 April 1994. Retrieved on 2007-12-02.
  59. ^ Address by President Nelson Mandela at the Johannesburg opening of the Anne Frank exhibition at the Museum Africa. African National Congress, 15 August 1994. Retrieved on 2007-12-02.
  60. ^ Müller, p. 305
  61. ^ Lee, pp. 222–33
  62. ^ "Reaction decease Simon Wiesenthal". Anne Frank House. 20 September 2005. Retrieved 2007-12-03. 
  63. ^ Rosenblatt, Roger (14 June 1999). "TIME 100: Heroes & Icons of the 20th century, Anne Frank". Time magazine. Retrieved 2007-12-01. 
  64. ^ Per Holmer in the epilogue to Anne Franks dagbok (Anne Frank´s Diary), p. 340, 2005 ISBN 91-1-301402-1
  65. ^ a b c d "What did Otto Frank do to counter the attacks on the authenticity of the diary? Question 7 on the authenticity of the diary of Anne Frank". Anne Frank House. Retrieved 2007-12-03. 
  66. ^ Lee, pp. 241–246
  67. ^ "Publicity about Anne Frank and her Diary: Legal rulings". Anne Frank House. Retrieved 2007-12-04. 
  68. ^ Lee, p. 233
  69. ^ Robert Faurisson (November-December 2000). "The Diary of Anne Frank: is it genuine?". Journal of Historical Review. Retrieved 2007-12-13. 
  70. ^ "Publicity about Anne Frank and her Diary: Ten questions on the authenticity of the diary of Anne Frank". Anne Frank House. Retrieved 2007-12-01. 
  71. ^ a b "Anne Frank House, Annual Report 2005" (PDF). Anne Frank House. March, 2006. Retrieved 2007-12-03. 
  72. ^ Max, Arthur (2007-06-25). "Anne Frank's cousin donates family files". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2007-12-02. 
  73. ^ a b Thomasson, Emma; Richard Balmforth (2008-01-23). "Plan agreed to save Anne Frank tree from the axe". (Reuters). Retrieved 2008-07-26. 
  74. ^ Kreijger, Gilbert (2007-11-20). "Dutch court saves Anne Frank tree from the chop". (Reuters). Retrieved 2008-07-26. 
  75. ^ "2 videos recollect life in World War II". Chicago Tribune. 1 September 1989. Retrieved 13.08.2009
  76. ^ Gabbatt, Adam. "Holocaust Film footage of Anne Frank posted on YouTube". The Guardian. Retrieved 2009-10-05. 


  • Frank, Anne; Massotty, Susan (translation); Frank, Otto H. & Pressler, Mirjam (editors) (1995). The Diary of a Young Girl - The Definitive Edition. Doubleday. ISBN 0-553-29698-1. (This edition, a new translation, includes material excluded from the earlier edition.)
  • Frank, Anne and Netherlands State Institute for War Documentation (1989). The Diary of Anne Frank, The Critical Edition. Doubleday. ISBN 0-385-24023-6.
  • Lee, Carol Ann (2000). The Biography of Anne Frank - Roses from the Earth. Viking. ISBN 0-7089-9174-2.
  • Müller, Melissa; Kimber, Rita; Kimber, Robert (translators); With a note from Miep Gies (2000). Anne Frank - The Biography. Metropolitan books. ISBN 0-7475-4523-5.
  • van der Rol, Ruud; Verhoeven, Rian (for the Anne Frank House); Quindlen, Anna (Introduction); Langham, Tony & Peters, Plym (translation) (1995). Anne Frank - Beyond the Diary - A Photographic Remembrance. Puffin. ISBN 0-14-036926-0.
  • Westra, Hans; Metselaar, Menno; Van Der Rol, Ruud; Stam, Dineke (2004). Inside Anne Frank's House: An Illustrated Journey Through Anne's World. Overlook Duckworth. ISBN 1-58567-628-4.

External links


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

It's a wonder I haven't abandoned all my ideals, they seem so absurd and impractical. Yet I cling to them because I still believe, in spite of everything, that people are truly good at heart.

Annelies Marie Frank (12 June 1929 - February/March 1945) was a Jewish diarist and aspiring writer, who died of typhus in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp.

The Diary (12 June 1942 - 1 August 1944)

People will always follow a good example; be the one to set a good example, then it won't be long before the others follow...
  • For someone like me, it is a very strange habit to write in a diary. Not only that I have never written before, but it strikes me that later neither I, nor anyone else, will care for the outpouring of a thirteen year old schoolgirl.
  • Everyone has inside of him a piece of good news. The good news is that you don't know how great you can be! How much you can love! What you can accomplish! And what your potential is!
  • A "food cycle" is a period in which we have only one particular dish or type of vegetable to eat. For a long time we ate nothing but endive. Endive with sand, endive without sand, endive with mashed potatoes, endive-and-mashed-potato casserole...
  • Forgive me, Kitty, they don't call me a bundle of contradictions for nothing!
  • God never deserted our people. Right through the ages there were Jews. Through the ages they suffered, but it also made us strong.
  • How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before beginning to improve the world.
  • I don't believe that the big men, the politicians and the capitalists alone are guilty of the war. Oh, no, the little man is just as keen, otherwise the people of the world would have risen in revolt long ago! There is an urge and rage in people to destroy, to kill, to murder, and until all mankind, without exception, undergoes a great change, wars will be waged, everything that has been built up, cultivated and grown, will be destroyed and disfigured, after which mankind will have to begin all over again.
  • I believe that in the course of the next century [as dated from June 13, 1944] the notion that it's a woman's duty to have children will change and make way for the respect and admiration of all women, who bear their burdens without complaint or a lot of pompous words!
I want to be useful or bring enjoyment to people, even those I've never met. I want to go on living even after my death! And that's why I'm grateful to God for having given me this gift, which I can use to develop and to express all that's inside me!
  • I don't think of all the misery, but of the beauty that still remains... My advice is : "Go outside, to the fields, enjoy nature and the sunshine, go out and try to recapture happiness in yourself and in God. Think of all the beauty that's still left in and around you and be happy!"
    • Variant translations:
Think of all the beauty still left around you and be happy.
Think of all the beauty that is still left in and around you and be happy!
  • I don't want to have lived in vain like most people. I want to be useful or bring enjoyment to people, even those I've never met. I want to go on living even after my death! And that's why I'm grateful to God for having given me this gift, which I can use to develop and to express all that's inside me!
  • I have often been downcast, but never in despair; I regard our hiding as a dangerous adventure, romantic and interesting at the same time. In my diary I treat all the privations as amusing. I have made up my mind now to lead a different life from other girls and, later on, different from ordinary housewives. My start has been so very full of interest, and that is the sole reason why I have to laugh at the humorous side of the most dangerous moments.
  • I hear the approaching thunder that, one day, will destroy us too, I feel the suffering of millions. And yet, when I look up at the sky, I somehow feel that this cruelty too shall end, that peace and tranquility will return once more. (1944)
  • I soothe my conscience now with the thought that it is better for hard words to be on paper than that Mummy should carry them in her heart.
  • If I read a book that impresses me, I have to take myself firmly by the hand, before I mix with other people; otherwise they would think my mind rather queer.
  • Is discord going to show itself while we are still fighting, is the Jew once again worth less than another? Oh, it is sad, very sad, that once more, for the umpteenth time, the old truth is confirmed: "What one Christian does is his own responsibility, what one Jew does is thrown back at all Jews."
  • It's difficult in times like these: ideals, dreams and cherished hopes rise within us, only to be crushed by grim reality. It's a wonder I haven't abandoned all my ideals, they seem so absurd and impractical. Yet I cling to them because I still believe, in spite of everything, that people are truly good at heart. I simply can't build my hopes on a foundation of confusion, misery, and death...and yet...I think...this cruelty will end, and that peace and tranquility will return again.
    • 15 July 1944; Variant translations:
      It's really a wonder that I haven't dropped all my ideals, because they seem so absurd and impossible to carry out. Yet I keep them, because in spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart.
      I keep my ideals, because in spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart.
  • Laziness may appear attractive but work gives satisfaction.
  • However, during the third class he'd finally had enough. "Anne Frank, as punishment for talking in class, write an essay entitled, Quack, Quack, Quack, Said Mistress Chatterback."
    • Writing a story about a teacher who is scolding her for being talkative in class. Variant translations :
Quack, Quack, Quack, Said Miss Quackenbush.
Quack, Quack, Quack, Said Miss Natterbeak.
  • Parents can only give good advice or put them on the right paths, but the final forming of a person's character lies in their own hands.
  • People can tell you to keep your mouth shut, but it doesn't stop you having your own opinions. Even if people are still very young, they shouldn't be prevented from saying what they think.
  • 'People will always follow a good example; be the one to set a good example, then it won't be long before the others follow... How lovely to think that no one need wait a moment, we can start now, start slowly changing the world! How lovely that everyone, great and small, can make their contribution toward introducing justice straightaway... And you can always, always give something, even if it is only kindness!
  • The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quiet, alone with the heavens, nature and God. Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be and that God wishes to see people happy, amidst the simple beauty of nature. As long as this exists, and it certainly always will, I know that then there will always be comfort for every sorrow, whatever the circumstances may be. And I firmly believe that nature brings solace in all troubles.
  • The only way to truly know a person is to argue with them. For when they argue in full swing, then they reveal their true character.
  • We all live with the objective of being happy, our lives are all different and yet the same.
  • Who would ever think that so much went on in the soul of a young girl?
  • I've found that there is always some beauty left —in nature, sunshine, freedom, in yourself; these can help you. Look at these things, then find yourself again, and God, and then you regain your balance.
    And whoever is happy will make others happy too. He who has courage and faith will never perish in misery!
    • Variant translation: Whoever is happy will make others happy, too.
  • I trust to luck and do nothing but work, hoping that all will end well.

External links

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Simple English

Anne Frank
Born Annelies Marie Frank
12 June 1929(1929-06-12)
Frankfurt am Main, Weimar Germany
Died early March 1945 (aged 15)
Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, Lower Saxony, Nazi Germany
Nationality German until 1941
Stateless from 1941
Notable work(s) The Diary of a Young Girl (1947)

Annelies Marie "Anne" Frank ( pronunciation (info • help); 12 June 1929 in Frankfurt am Main – early March 1945 in Bergen-Belsen). Frank is one of the most famous Jewish people who died in the Holocaust.[2] Her diary is seen as a classic in war literature, and is one of the most widely read books today. Several plays and films have been made about it.

Anne was born in the city Frankfurt am Main in Weimar Germany. She lived most of her life in or around Amsterdam, in the Netherlands. She was officially seen as a German until 1941. This was when she lost her nationality because of the anti-Semitic rules of Nazi Germany. She became famous around the world after her diary was printed. It showed her experiences hiding during the German occupation of the Netherlands in World War II.

The Frank family moved from Germany to Amsterdam in 1933. This was the same year as the Nazis grew powerful in Germany. By the beginning of 1940, because of the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands, they were trapped in Amsterdam. Persecution of Jewish people increased in July 1942, and the family decided to hide. They hid in the secret rooms of her father Otto Frank's office building. After two years, they were betrayed and taken to concentration camps. Anne and her sister, Margot, were later taken to the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. There, they both died from typhus in March 1945.

Otto Frank was the only person in his family who survived. He went back to Amsterdam after the war and found that Anne's diary had been saved. He helped print it in 1947. It was translated from Dutch and first printed in English in 1952 as The Diary of a Young Girl. It has been translated into many languages. The diary had been given to Anne on her 13th birthday. It tells of her life from 12 June 1942 until 1 August 1944.


Early life

Anne Frank was born on 12 June 1929 in Frankfurt, Germany. She was the second daughter of Otto Frank (1889 – 1980), a German businessman,[2] and Edith Frank-Holländer (1900 – 45). Margot Frank (1926–45) was her older sister.[3] The Franks were Jews, and they lived with many Jewish and non-Jewish citizens. Anne and Margot grew up with Catholic, Protestant, and Jewish friends. The Frank family did not follow all the customs of Judaism.[4] Edith Frank was very religious, though her husband was more interested in studying. He had a large library, and both parents encouraged the children to read.[5]

On 13 March 1933, elections were held in Frankfurt, and Adolf Hitler's Nazi Party won. Acts of Antisemitism began almost immediately. The Franks were afraid of what might happen to them if they stayed in Germany. Therefore, later that year, Edith and the children went to Aachen. They stayed there with Edith's mother, Rosa Holländer. Otto remained in Frankfurt, but after getting an offer to start a company in Amsterdam, he moved there to begin the business and to find a place to live with his family.[6] The Franks were included in the 300,000 Jews who ran away from Germany between 1933 and 1939.[7]

[[File:|thumb|alt=A four story, brick apartment block showing the building's facade, with several windows and an internal staircase leading into the block.|The apartment block on the Merwedeplein where the Frank family lived from 1934 until 1942]]

Otto Frank began working at the Opekta Works. Opteka was a company that sold pectin. Otto Frank found an apartment on the Merwedeplein (Merwede Square) in Amsterdam. By February 1934, Edith and the children had arrived in Amsterdam, and Anne and Margot began going to school. Margot went to public school and Anne went to a Montessori school. Margot liked math, and Anne enjoyed reading and writing. Her friend Hanneli Goslar later remembered that from when she was young, Anne often wrote, though she tried to hide what she wrote and did not like talking about it. Margot and Anne had very different personalities. Margot was polite, quiet, and thoughtful,[8] while Anne was brave, energetic, and friendly.[9]

In 1938, Otto Frank started a second company, Pectacon. Pectacon sold herbs, salts and mixed spices that were used to make sausages.[10][11] Hermann van Pels worked at Pectacon as a helper about spices. He was a Jewish butcher.[11] In 1939, Edith's mother came to live with the Franks. She stayed with them until she died in January 1942.[12]

In May 1940, Germany invaded the Netherlands. The government began to hurt Jews by making rules and laws about their freedom. The Frank sisters were both studying well and had many friends. But a new law that Jewish children could only go to a Jewish school made them move to a Jewish school.[12] The companies that Otto Frank worked at still gave him some money, but they became poorer. It was not enough to support their family.[13]

Time recorded in the diary

Before hiding

For her 13th birthday on 12 June 1942, Anne Frank got a book she had shown her father a few days ago. It was actually an autograph book with red-and-green cloth and a small lock on the front, but Frank decided to use it as a diary.[14] She began writing in it almost immediately. Most of her first writings are about normal parts of her life, but she also wrote about some of the changes that happened in the Netherlands after the Germans came. On 20 June 194, she discussed many of the rules for the Dutch Jews, and her sadness at the death of her grandmother.[15] Frank dreamed about becoming an actress. She loved watching movies, but the Dutch Jews were not allowed to go to movie theaters from 8 January 1941.[16]

In July 1942, the Zentralstelle für jüdische Auswanderung (Central Office for Jewish Emigration) ordered Margot Frank to come to be taken to a work camp. Otto Frank told his family that they would hide in rooms above and behind the place where his company worked on the Prinsengracht. The Prinsengracht was a street next to one of Amsterdam's canals, where some of his most trusted employees would help them. The notice to Margot made them move a few weeks earlier than they had expected.[17]

Hiding and death

Anne's father, Otto Frank, was scared that the Nazis would find him, and his family. He wanted to protect his family. He spoke to some of the people who worked in his business. One of them was a young woman of about 33 years old, and was named Miep Gies. Otto Frank needed help - he was going to turn the top floor of his business into a secret hiding place for himself and his family called "The Secret Annex". Miep and the others would have to help them keep their secret, and bring them food. They hid in their secret hiding place for two whole years, without being discovered by the Nazis. Anne Frank left all her other belongings in Frankfurt.

Miep agreed to help. In 1942, the Frank family, together with the Van Pels (And their son Peter) and a dentist named Fritz Pfeffer, moved into the Secret Annex that they had prepared. They planned to stay there until the end of the war. They hoped the war would end soon, but it did not. They spent around two and a half years in their hiding place, never able to go out into the sunshine. During the day, they had to be very quiet, because the business continued downstairs, and not all the workers knew that the Frank family was in hiding in the upper part of the building.

A few months before the Franks went into hiding, Anne was given a diary, for her birthday. She called her diary "Kitty" and wrote in it about all the things that were happening to her and to her family. Anne was only a young girl, but she knew how to write beautifully. She wrote about all the things that young girls think about - how she was getting along with her friends and parents, boys (Pretty much Peter), life,and her emotions. After a while, Anne had a strong ambition: to be a writer. She hoped to write a book that everyone would read.

After 2 years a thief had come and took not much, but after about two and a half years in hiding, not long before the end of the war, the thief was caught and, in exchange of not going to jail or death, he told the Nazis that a Jewish family - the Franks - were in hiding. Nazi soldiers came into the Frank's secret hiding place. They sent the Franks and the others to a concentration camp. Miep Gies found Anne's diary and put it into a drawer. She wanted to keep it safe until after the war. She hoped that Anne would return, and she would be able give her her diary back.

However, that was not to be. Anne's father, Otto Frank, lived through the war and came back to Amsterdam. He hoped that his family had survived too - but they had not. Of all the family, only he survived. His wife was killed at Auschwitz. Anne and her older sister, Margot, died at Bergen-Belsen concentration camp from typhus, a disease - only a few weeks before the camp was freed by the Allied forces. Mr. Frank lived through much pain. And when he got out he found Anne's diary and published it.


Miep Gies was with Otto Frank when he got the letter telling him that his two daughters were dead. Now she knew that Anne would never return for her diary. She went to the drawer where the diary was kept, and she gave it to Otto Frank. People who were close to Anne read the diary. They told Otto Frank that he should publish it. Anne had wanted to be a famous writer. Now, people would be able to read her book, and they would also learn about the difficult time that the Jews had during the war, and about the wonderful people who helped them.

Otto had Anne's diary printed. It became one of the world's most widely-read books. It has been printed in over 20 languages, and people across the world have read and enjoyed this true story. Today, for an admissions fee, you can visit the house in Amsterdam where Anne Frank and her family hid during the war. You can also see the diary that she wrote.

Notes and references

  1. Müller 1998, pp. 143, 180–181, 186
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Encyclopædia Britannica's Reflections on the Holocaust". Retrieved 23 June 2010. 
  3. Müller 1998, preface: Family tree
  4. Van der Rol and Verhoeven, p. 10
  5. Lee 2000, p. 17
  6. Lee 2000, pp. 20–23
  7. Van der Rol and Verhoeven, p. 21
  8. Müller 1998, p. 131
  9. Müller 1998, pp. 129–35
  10. Müller 1998, p. 92
  11. 11.0 11.1 Lee 2000, p. 40
  12. 12.0 12.1 Müller 1998, pp. 128–130
  13. Müller 1998, pp. 117–118
  14. Lee 2000, p. 96
  15. Frank 1947, pp. 1–20
  16. Müller 1998, pp. 119–120
  17. Müller 1998, p. 153


  • Frank, Anne (1995) [1947] Frank, Otto H.; Pressler, Mirjam eds. (in Dutch) Het Achterhuis [The Diary of a Young Girl - The Definitive Edition] Massotty, Susan (translation) Doubleday ISBN 0-553-29698-1  ; This edition, a new translation, includes material excluded from the earlier edition.
  • Frank, Anne and Netherlands State Institute for War Documentation (1989). The Diary of Anne Frank, The Critical Edition. Doubleday. ISBN 0-385-24023-6.
  • Lee, Carol Ann (2000). The Biography of Anne Frank - Roses from the Earth. Viking Press. ISBN 0-7089-9174-2. 
  • Müller, Melissa (1999) [1998] (in German) Das Mädchen Anne Frank [Anne Frank: The Biography] Kimber, Rita and Robert (translators) Henry Holt and Company ISBN 0-7475-4523-5 OCLC 42369449.  ; With a note from Miep Gies.
  • van der Rol, Ruud; Verhoeven, Rian (for the Anne Frank House); Quindlen, Anna (Introduction); Langham, Tony & Peters, Plym (translation) (1995). Anne Frank - Beyond the Diary - A Photographic Remembrance. Puffin. ISBN 0-14-036926-0.
  • Westra, Hans; Metselaar, Menno; Van Der Rol, Ruud; Stam, Dineke (2004). Inside Anne Frank's House: An Illustrated Journey Through Anne's World. Overlook Duckworth. ISBN 1-58567-628-4.

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