Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank Born on June 12, 1929, Anne Frank was a German-Jewish teenager who was forced to go into hiding during the Holocaust. She and her family, along with four others, spent 25 months during World War II in an annex of rooms above her father’s office in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. After being betrayed to the Nazis, Anne, her family, and the others living with them were arrested and deported to Nazi concentration camps. In March of 1945, nine months after she was arrested, Anne Frank died of typhus at Bergen-Belsen. She was fifteen years old. Her diary, saved during the war by one of the family’s helpers, Miep Gies, was first published in 1947. Today, her diary has been translated into 67 languages and is one of the most widely read books in the world. Background Anne Frank and her family were German refugees who resettled and tried to build their lives in the Netherlands. Although the Franks were proud of their German heritage, their feelings toward Germany became very complicated during the war When the Nazis invaded Holland, the Frank family, like all Jewish residents, became victims of a systematically constricting universe. First came laws that forbade Jews to enter into business contracts. Then books by Jews were burned. Then there were the so-called Aryan laws, affecting intermarriage. Then Jews were barred from parks, beaches, movies, libraries. By 1942 they had to wear yellow stars stitched to their outer garments. Then phone service was denied them, then bicycles. Trapped at last in their homes, they were "disappeared." While these preparations are secretly under way, Anne celebrates her thirteenth birthday, on June 12, 1942. On July 5, 1942, her sister, Margot, receives a call-up notice. This means that she will be deported to a Nazi "work camp." Anne is reading a book on the veranda in the sunshine,having just said goodbye to her friend, Hello, when a policeman rings the Frank's doorbell at about 3 p.m.Even though the hiding pl not yet ready, the Frank family realizes that they have t right away. They hurriedly pack their belongings and leav implying that they have left the country. On the morning of July 6, Anne wakes up at 5:30 to make f preparations. Margot leaves first with Miep. Then, at 7:3 says goodbye to her cat, Moortje, and leaves with her fat mother for the hiding place. In May 1942, all Jews aged six and older are required to wear a yellow Star of David on their clothes to set them apart from non-Jews. The Nazi administration, in conjunction with the Dutch Nazi Party and civil service, begins issuing anti-Jewish decrees. All Jews have to register their businesses. Later, they are forced to surrender them to non-Jews. Fortunately, Otto Frank, in anticipation of this decree, has already turned his business over to his non-Jewish colleagues Victor Kugler and Johannes Kleiman. 1942 • February, March, April - Auschwitz, Belzec and Sobibor all become fully operational death camps. June 12 - Anne receives a diary for her thirteenth birthday, which she calls "Kitty," July 5 - Margot Frank, 16, receives a call-up notice to report for deportation to a labor camp. The family goes into hiding the next day. July 6 – The Frank family leaves their home forever and moves into the 'Secret Annex' July 13 - The van Pels family, another Jewish family originally from Germany, joins the Frank family in hiding. November 16 - Fritz Pfeffer, the eighth and final resident of the Secret Annex, joins the Frank and van Pels families. This is one of the last photographs This is one of the last photographs taken of Anne and taken of Anne and her sister Margot before they go into hiding. her sister Margot before they go into hiding. In addition, people on the office staff in the Dutch Opekta Company agree to help them. Besides Victor Kugler and Johannes Kleiman, there are Miep and Jan Gies, Bep Voskuijl, and Bep's father - all considered to be trustworthy. These friends and employees not only agree to keep the business operating in their employer's absence, they agree to risk their lives to help the Frank family survive. Mr. Frank also makes arrangements for his The helpers, from left to right: business partner, Hermann van Pels, along with Mr. Kleiman, Miep Gies, Bep Voskuijl, and Mr. Kugler. his wife, Auguste van Pels, and their son, Peter, to share the Prinsengracht hideaway. 1942 and 1944, 1943February 2 - The encircled German Sixth Army surrenders to Soviet forces at Stalingrad, Russia. The tide of the war begins to turn against Germany. 1943liquidation of all Jewish ghettos in the Soviet Union and Poland. With a diary kept in a secret attic, she braved the Nazis and lent a searing voice to the fight for human dignity Along with everything else she came to represent, Anne Frank symbolized the power of a book. Because of the diary she kept between 1942 and 1944, in the secret upstairs annex of an Amsterdam warehouse where she and her family hid until the Nazis found them, she became the most memorable figure to emerge from World War II — besides Hitler, of course, who also proclaimed his life and his beliefs in a book. In a way, the Holocaust began with one book and ended with another. Yet it was Anne's that finally prevailed — a beneficent and complicated work outlasting a simple and evil one — . Excerpts: Fine specimens of humanity, those Germans, and to think I'm actually one of them! No, that's not true, Hitler took away our nationality long ago. And besides, there are no greater enemies on earth than the Germans and Jews." - October 9, 1942 "I don't believe the war is simply the work of politicians and capitalists. Oh no, the common man is every bit as guilty; otherwise, people and nations would have rebelled long ago!" (May 3, 1944.) Anne decorates her narrow bedroom with photographs and postcards o Anne Frank's family and the other residents of the Secret Annex are in hiding for two years. The Annex is crowded and they have to be extremely careful not to be heard or seen. If they are discovered, the Nazis will arrest them. During these two years, Anne keeps a diary of her life. Excerpts: “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? "...if you're wondering if it's harder for the adults here than for the children, the answer is no...Older people have an opinion about everything and are sure of themselves and their actions. It's twice as hard for us young people to hold on to our opinions at a time when ideals are being shattered..." (July 15, 1944.) When was the last time as an adult that you experienced the "shattering" of an ideal? Is the media a neutral force, or do you think it plays a role in supporting or destroying idealism? Anne Frank's diary is the voice of the Holocaust-the voice that speaks for the millions Hitler silenced. Anne went into hiding at the age of 13, a rambunctious and at times difficult child. Her diary reveals her maturation into a gifted young writer, and when discovered two years later, the precocious child had evolved into a young woman. Anne was eventually transported to the concentration camp Bergen-Belsen, where she died of typhus shortly before the Allies liberated the camp. Anne Frank's diary is the legacy of young girl denied her adulthood by Hitler's killing machine, and stands for the many women and men, young and old, whose lives Hitler's final solution snatched. The story of her life is a tragedy, but the enduring message is one of hope and tolerance that will never die. The new edition reveals a new depth to Anne's dreams, irritations, hardship, and passions . . . There may be no better way to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the end of World War II than to reread The Diary of a Young Girl, a testament to an indestructivle nobility of spirit in the face of pure evil." "Our many Jewish friends and acquaintances are being taken away in droves. The Gestapo is treating them very roughly and transporting them in cattle cars to Westerbork, the big camp in Drenthe to which they're sending all the Jews....If it's that bad in Holland, what must it be like in those faraway and We assume that most of them are being murdered. The English radio says they're being gassed." - October 9, 1942 Have you ever heard the term 'hostages'? That's the latest punishment for saboteurs. It's the most horrible thing you can imagine. Leading citizens— innocent people--are taken prisoner to await their execution. If the Gestapo can't them up against the wall. You read the announcements of their death in the paper, where they're referred to as 'fatal accidents." - October 9, 1942 All college students are being asked to sign an official statement to the effect that they 'sympathize with the Germans and approve of the New Order." Eighty percent have decided to obey the dictates of their conscience, but the penalty will be severe. Any student refusing to sign will be sent to a German labor camp." - May 18, 1943 Mr. Bolkestein, the Cabinet Minister, speaking on the Dutch broadcast from London, said that after the war a collection would be made of diaries and letters dealing with the war. Of course, everyone pounced on my diary." - March 29, 1944 When I write, I can shake off all my cares." - April 5, 1994 I've reached the point where I hardly care whether I live or die. The world will keep on turning without me, and I can't do anything to change events anyway. I'll just let matters take their course and concentrate on studying and hope that everything will be all right in the end." - February 3, 1944 "...but the minute I was alone I knew I was going to cry my eyes out. I slid to the floor in my nightgown and began by saying my prayers, very fervently. Then I drew my knees to my chest, lay my head on my arms and cried, all huddled up on the bare floor. A loud sob brought me back down to earth..." - April 5, 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. ..it remains to be seen whether I really have talent...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! Wednesday, April 5, 1944 It’s utterly impossible for me to build my life on a foundation of chaos, suffering and death. I see the world being slowly transformed into a wilderness, 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 everything will change for the better, that this cruelty too shall end, that peace and tranquility will return once more" - July 15, 1944 1 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. 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. Millions were moved by the purified version of her diary originally published by her father, but the recent critical, unexpurgated edition has moved millions more by disanointing her solely as an emblem of innocence. Anne's deep effect on readers comes from her being a normal, if gifted, teenager. She was curious about sex, doubtful about religion, caustic about her parents, irritable especially to herself; she believed she had been fitted with two contradictory souls. One year before her death from typhus in the Bergen-Belsen camp, she wrote, "I want to be useful or give pleasure to people around me who yet don't really know me. I want to go on living even after my death!" In October, 1944, Anne and Margot are transported from Auschwitz to the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in Germany. Thousands die from planned starvation and epidemics at Bergen- Belsen, which is without food, heat, medicine, or elementary sanitary conditions. Anne and Margot, already weakened from living in the concentration camps, become ill with typhus. The camp is liberated by Bergen-Belsen becomes overcrowded with prisoners as the Nazis retreat from allied troops in 1945, one the Eastern Front. At Bergen-Belsen month after the death of prisoners have no food, heat, or Anne Frank. medicine. They also do not have any clean toilets or showers. Due to these conditions, thousands of people die from disease and starvation. Otto Frank is the only one, out of those hiding in the secret annex, who survives what became know as the Holocaust. He is given Anne's diary pages by Miep Gies, and he publishes them in her memory, and in memory of all those who have died. He and his second wife, Elfried Geiringer, also an Auschwitz survivor, move to Basel, Otto Frank (center) with his Opekta staff, the Helpers of the Secret Annex. Switzerland, in 1953. Otto Frank dies on August 19, 1980, at the age of ninety-one. So stirring has been the effect of the solemn-eyed, cheerful, moody, funny, self-critical, other-critical teenager on those who have read her story that it became a test of ethics to ask a journalist, If you had proof the diary was a fraud, would you expose it? The point was that there are some stories the world so needs to believe that it would be profane to impair their influence. All the same, the Book of Anne has inspired a panoply of responses — plays, movies, documentaries, biographies, a critical edition of the diary — all in the service of understanding or imagining the girl or, in some cases, of putting her down.
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