The Life and Diary of Anne Frank
WORLD HISTORY | July 5, 2019
Anne Frank and Her Diary. Source: (commons.wikipedia.org)
Diaries used to be what young girls would use to write their innermost thoughts and feelings in and were usually about the boys they had crushes on or the friends they had. But this diary – the diary of Anne Frank was very different. Her life started out normal enough but by the time she was thirteen, there was nothing normal about her life at all.
Anne Frank and her family lived in Frankfurt, Germany where Anne was born in June of 1929. She had an older sister named Margot. Not long after Hitler and the Nazi Party won the election, which was 1934, the family moved to Amsterdam where they thought they would be safe. In Germany at that time, Jews were no longer safe as families were being taken from their homes and businesses and hauled away in cattle trucks. But, in Amsterdam, during that time everything was seemingly normal.
Anne and her sister Margot were able to lead normal lives. They were both enrolled in school. Margot was very good at arithmetic while Anne excelled in reading and writing. Anne really loved writing and had dreams of becoming a writer one day.
By May of 1940, the Germans began invading the Netherlands and started persecuting the Jews there just as they had been doing in Germany. It started out slowly at first with the gradual taking away of their rights. First, they started out with mandatory registration and then segregation among other things. Anne and Margot were forced to go to an all Jewish school separating them from all non-Jewish students.
Because all Jewish businesses were confiscated by the Nazis, Anne’s father took steps to try to protect his businesses as well as their lives. He transferred his business shares to a Dutchman who also later helped to hide them - a very dangerous undertaking.
In June of 1942, Anne received an autograph book for her 13th birthday that she had shown her father previously in a shop window. This was the book she used for her diary, making her first entry on June 20. In this first entry, she talked about the restrictions that were put upon them; but, little did she know, it was about to get a whole lot worse.
The plan was for the family to go into hiding on the 16th of July but the date got moved up to the 5th of July when they received an order for Margot to report to a work camp.
The hiding place, which is now a museum called the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam, is a three-story place over the Opekta offices. Anne’s father, Otto Frank, had some very trustworthy employees who helped them. The door to the secret annex was behind a bookcase to keep it inconspicuous. There were a few others that were also hidden there. According to Anne’s diary, tensions grew between them because of so many being confined in such a small area although she did have temporary romantic feelings for the 16-year-old boy who joined them.
Anne Frank’s diary is filled with details about her feelings on many subjects including the family members and other residents and their dispositions. Some things are similar to an ordinary young girl’s diary but hers goes beyond that, especially the details of being hidden away. If her diary had been discovered too soon, there could have been strong consequences for those who were helping them. She wrote of her anticipation of one day becoming an author and even began rewriting pages of her diary onto loose leaf paper to use in a book one day.
Anne Frank’s last entry in her diary was on August 1, 1944, just a few days before the Germans discovered them and arrested them. There are several speculations as to who might have betrayed them, but no one has been able to determine who it was. After they were transported, the men were separated from the women. Although none of the family was sent to the gas chamber, they all did die except for Otto, Anne’s father. Anne’s mother died of starvation and Anne as well as her sister, Margot, died of Typhus.
After the war ended and Otto Frank returned to Amsterdam, he was informed that his wife and daughters did not survive. Miep Gies had saved Anne’s diary and all her papers that she had been writing on and gave them to Otto. After reading his daughter’s diary, he fulfilled his daughter’s wishes to become an author by having it published.
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