During the two years and one month Anne Frank spent hiding in a Secret Annex in Amsterdam during World War II, she kept a diary. Anne Frank’s diary, which was published by her father after the war and has been read by millions of people around the world, chronicles both the tensions and difficulties of living in such a confined space for that long a duration as well as Anne’s struggles with becoming a teenager. Since the publication of her diary, Anne Frank has become a symbol of the children that were murdered in theHolocaust.
Anne Frank was born in Frankfurt am Main, Germany as the second child of Otto and Edith Frank. Anne’s sister, Margot Betti Frank, was three years older. The Franks were a middle-class, liberal Jewish family whose ancestors had lived in Germany for centuries. The Franks considered Germany their home; thus it was a very difficult decision for them to leave Germany in 1933 and start a new life in the Netherlands, away from the anti-Semitism of the newly empowered Nazis.
For Anne’s 13th birthday (June 12, 1942), she received a red-and-white-checkered autograph album that she decided to use as a diary. Until she went into hiding, Anne wrote in her diary about everyday life such as her friends, grades she received at school, even about playing ping pong. The Franks had planned on moving to their hiding place on July 16, 1942, but their plans changed when Margot received a call-up notice on July 5, 1942. After packing their final items, the Franks left their apartment at 37 Merwedeplein the following day.
Anne continued writing her diary from her 13th birthday on June 12, 1942 until August 1, 1944. Much of the diary is about the cramped and stifling living conditions as well as the personality conflicts between the eight that lived together in hiding. Also among the two years and one month that Anne lived in the Secret Annex, she wrote about her fears, her hopes, and her character. She felt misunderstood by those around her and was constantly trying to better herself.
Anne was 13 years old when she went into hiding and she was only 15 old when she was arrested. On the morning of August 4, 1944, around ten to ten-thirty in the morning, an SS officer and several Dutch Security Police members pulled up to 263 Prinsengracht. They went directly to the bookcase that hid the door to the Secret Annex and pried the door open. All eight people living in the Secret Annex were arrested and taken to Westerbork. Anne’s diary lay on the ground and was collected and safely stored by Miep Gies later that day.
On September 3, 1944, Anne and all those who had been hiding in the Secret Annex were shipped on the very last train leaving Westerbork for Auschwitz. At Auschwitz, the group was separated and several were soon transported to other camps. Anne and Margot were transported to Bergen-Belsen at the end of October 1944. In late February or early March of 1945, Margot died of typhus, followed just a few days later by Anne, also from typhus. Bergen-Belsen was liberated on April 12, 1945, just about a month after their deaths.