Anne Frank- Life, Diary, Arrest & More
Who was Anne Frank?
Anne Frank was a German-Dutch diarist of Jewish descent, known for her work, 'The Diary of a Young Girl', which describes her life, while in hiding from the Nazis during the Holocaust.
Four years before Hitler came to power, in 1929, Anne Frank was born in Frankfurt, Germany. When Anne was only four and a half years old, as the hostilities towards the Jews increased, her parents, Otto and Edith, decided to flee to Amsterdam. In 1942, two years after the German army occupied the Netherlands, the family went into hiding.
For two years, as the family of four lived in hiding with four other Jews, Anne wrote in great detail about her life in a diary. In 1944, they were arrested by the Gestapo and sent to concentration camps. In 1945, at 15 years of age, Anne passed away at the camp. Her diary was published posthumously.
Deportation and Death
On the morning of 4 August 1944, the Achterhuis was stormed by a group of German uniformed police, led by the SS. They were transported to the Westerbork transit camp. Having been arrested in hiding, they were considered criminals and sent to the Punishment Barracks for hard labor.
On 3 September 1944, the group was deported on the last transport from Westerbork to the Auschwitz concentration camp. Here, the men were separated from the women and children. This was the last time Otto Frank would see his family. At the camp, they were used as slave labor. Owing to the terrible conditions, Anne Frank developed scabies.
In October or November, Anne and Margot Frank were transported to Bergen-Belson. Edith Frank, who was left behind, died of starvation.
In early 1945, a typhus epidemic spread through the Bergen-Belson camp, killing 17,000 prisoners, including Anne and Margot Frank. The exact dates of Margot's and Anne's deaths were not recorded.
Anne Frank Diary
On her 13th birthday, Anne Frank got a red-and-white plaid diary. Anne, who dreamt of becoming a writer, wrote in it religiously. Three weeks later, when the Franks went into hiding, Anne took the diary with her. Over the next two years, she wrote about her life, the war, her thoughts, and her dreams.
She addressed the letters in her diary to Kitty, a fictional character from a series of books she had read.
On 28 March 1944, after hearing an appeal on the radio from Dutch minister Bolkestein asking the Dutch to hang on to important documents about their experience during the war, Anne began working on a book about her time in hiding. Titled, ‘Het Achterhuis’, or ‘The Secret Annex’, the book was a revised version of her diary. However, before she could finish the book, they were caught by the Gestapo.
Miep Gies, Otto’s secretary, managed to save the diary. When Otto — the only survivor of the war — returned, Miep handed the book to him. Otto, who knew of his daughter’s dream, fulfilled her wish by publishing it. ‘The Diary of a Young Girl’, translated into almost 70 languages, continues to inspire millions.
Anne Frank’s life in hiding
Anne Frank and her family when into hiding in July 1942 and they chose a hidden space behind Otto Frank’s office as their hiding spot.
Anne Frank spent 761 days in the Secret Annex. Anne had to share her room with Fritz Pfeffer. Living in such close quarters often led to tensions.
Their day usually began at 6.45 AM. During the day, they had to stay extremely quiet, so that the people downstairs couldn’t hear them. They walked around in socks, talked in whispers, and waited for the night to be able to flush. Lunch hour was more relaxed with the workers going home for their meal. In the night, after the workers went home the people in hiding would relax spread out through the building. When the sun went down, the windows had to be blacked out and it would be quiet at the Secret Annex again.
Sundays were meant for 'scrubbing, sweeping and washing', as Anne describes in her diary.
Anne Frank House - The Secret Annex
Anne Frank’s arrest
On 4 August 1944, the people in hiding were arrested by the Gestapo. The Frank family was transported to Westerbork transit camp in the Netherlands. From there, they were sent to Auschwitz on 3 September. Anne and her sister Margot were transferred to Bergen-Belsen in Germany the following month. Anne’s mother, Edith, died in early January, just before the evacuation of Auschwitz. Due to the terrible conditions at Bergen-Belsen, both Anne and Margot contracted typhus. They died in February or March of 1945. Otto Frank, the only survivor of those in hiding, was found hospitalized at Auschwitz when it was liberated by Soviet troops on January 27, 1945.
The video diary
Imagine a world where Anne Frank gets a video camera instead of a diary. What if she was a vlogger and not a diarist? That’s exactly what ‘Anne Frank Video Diary’, a video series created by the Anne Frank House museum tries to show. The series follows Anne Frank from 29 March 1944, at a point when she has already been living in hiding for over a year and a half. She films herself, the events at the Secret Annex and reflects on her life before hiding. She talks about the war, her dreams, hopes, and feelings — just as in her diary. The series of 15 episodes, in which Luna Cruz Perez plays Anne Frank, ends on 4 August 1944, when Anne and the others are arrested.
Streaming on YouTube, the online series is available in 60 countries, with subtitles in five languages
Anne Frank Diary in popular culture
As a story that has become so popular for the strength, hope, and determination it portrays, ‘The Diary of a Young Girl’ has become a source of inspiration for many filmmakers.
- A play by Albert Hackett and Frances Goodrich based on the diary won the Pulitzer Prize for 1955.
- ‘The Diary of Anne Frank’, a 1959 film based on the play by Hackett and Goodrich earned Shelley Winters an Academy Award for her performance. Winters donated her Oscar to the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam
- ‘Anne’, authorized by the Anne Frank Foundation in Basel, was the first adaptation allowed to quote literal passages from the diary.
- Alix Sobler's 2014 ‘The Secret Annex’ imagined the fate of the diary in a world in which Anne Frank survives the Holocaust.
- ‘Anne’ formed the basis for ‘Tagebuch der Anne Frank’, a 2016 German drama film directed by German filmmaker Hans Steinbichler.
- The 2021 film, ‘Where is Anne Frank’ by Ari Folman, which debuted at the Cannes Film Festival focuses on Kitty, who sets out to find Anne Frank by reflecting back on the contents of the diary.
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All Your Questions Answered About Anne Frank
A. Anne Frank was four and a half years old when her family left Germany and moved to Amsterdam.
A. Anne Frank had an older sister, Margot.
A. Kitty is a fictional character from a series of books by Dutch author Cissy van Marxveldt that she had read.
A. Anne Frank House is located on Prinsengracht 263, in Amsterdam.
A. Anne Frank spent 761 days in the Secret Annex.
A. Anne Frank and her family, as well as the others living in hiding were arrested on 4 August 1944 by the Gestapo.
A. Anne Frank and her sister, Margot contracted typhus because of the terrible conditions at Bergen-Belsen. They died in February or March of 1945.
A. Anne Frank’s father, Otto, was the only survivor.
A. ‘Anne Frank Video Diary’ is a 15-episode series that imagines Anne Frank as a vlogger, instead of a diarist, during the Holocaust.
A. Anne Frank was 16 years old when she died.
A. With the Secret Annex carefully preserved, a visit to the Anne Frank House will allow you to view and experience what life in hiding was like.