Anne Frank

Anne Frank was one of the six million victims of the Holocaust. Frank died aged fifteen in Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in 1945. However, her personal diary was published after her death in 1947. It was through the publication of this work that Anne Frank became an internationally known figure.

Anne Frank Anne Frank

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Table of contents

    The Holocaust refers to the genocide of European Jews carried out by the Nazi regime during World War Two. An estimated two-thirds (six million) of Jewish people in Europe were murdered in mass shootings, concentration camps, and extermination camps between 1941 and 1945.

    The Nazi regime controlled Germany from 1933 to 1945 under the leadership of Adolf Hitler.

    World War Two was a global conflict that took place between 1939 and 1945 and was fought between the Allies and the Axis. The war was initially triggered by the German invasion of Poland in 1939.

    The Diary of Anne Frank (1947) documents Frank's first-hand experience of the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands. This work has become a key educational material when learning about the Holocaust, being read by adults and children alike.

    In this article, we'll learn about who Anne Frank was and the impact of her work today.

    Anne Frank's biography

    Anne Frank was born in 1929 in Annelies to Edith and Otto Frank. Both of Frank's parents were 'liberal Jews', meaning that while they practised the Jewish faith, they did not observe all of Judaism's customs. Frank lived in Frankfurt up until 1933, when Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party won Germany's election. That year, Frank moved with her family to Amsterdam, where her father began working at Opekta Works.

    Frank was one of 300,000 German Jews who fled from Germany between 1933 and 1939.

    In 1939, Frank's grandmother left Germany and moved to Amsterdam to live with Anne Frank and her family. In 1940, Germany invaded the Netherlands, extending their persecution of Jewish people to Amsterdam, where the Franks lived. Anne Frank's father, Otto, applied for a visa to allow the family to emigrate to the United States. However, the application was never processed.

    When the Franks first moved to Amsterdam, Anne Frank attended the 6th Montessori School; however, in September 1941, she began attending the Jewish Lyceum. Frank did not move to this school by choice, she was forced to as the Nazi regime instated laws that segregated Jewish people from the rest of the Netherlands' population.

    On June 12th 1942, on her thirteenth birthday, Frank received an autograph book which she decided to use as a diary. It was in this diary that Frank began to record her experience of the Holocaust and life in Amsterdam under Nazi occupation.

    In July 1942, Frank and her family went into hiding as the Nazi regime began systematically deporting Jewish people from the Netherlands, sending them to work camps. Anne Frank hid above the Opekta offices near the Prinsengracht canal in Amsterdam. she named her hiding place the 'Achterhuis' (Secret Annex).

    Work camps were a form of concentration camp used by the Nazi regime during the Holocaust. The purpose of concentration camps was to contain prisoners. They had poor living conditions - prisoners wore clothing that didn't protect them from harsh weather conditions and did not receive enough food. This resulted in tens of thousands of deaths.

    Extermination camps were used as part of the Nazi regime's 'Final Solution', between 1941 and 1945, to murder Jewish and Roma people. The term 'Final Solution' was a code word referring to the Nazi policy of exterminating the entire Jewish population of Europe.

    A total of six extermination camps were built; Chelmno, Bełżec, Sobibór, Treblinka, Majdanek, and Auschwitz-Birkenau. Over three million people were murdered at extermination camps during the Holocaust.

    The Frank family were joined by the Van Pels in their 'hidden Annex' on July 13th 1942, seven days after they arrived. The family were later joined by Fritz Pfeffer in November of that year.

    On August 4th, 1944, the Franks, Van Pels, and Pfeffer were discovered by the German Police and taken to the Reich Security Main Office headquarters. After being held and interrogated overnight, they were transferred to a prison before being taken to the Westerbork transit camp.

    The Westerbork transit camp was a Nazi transit camp in the Netherlands. Over 100,000 Jewish people passed through this camp. Transit camps were camps in which prisoners of the Nazi regime were detained before being deported to concentration or extermination camps.

    Those who had helped Frank and her family hide from the Nazi regime, Victor Kugler, Johannes Kleiman, Miep Gies, and Bep Voskuijl, were all questioned by the German police. Kugler and Kleiman were both jailed at a penal camp; Kugler was held in a number of concentration camps until they were liberated following the end of World War Two.

    Kleiman was released after seven weeks in a penal camp, while Gies and Voskuijl were questioned but not detained. After they were released, Gies and Voskuijl collected Anne's papers from her hiding place, alongside a number of the Frank family photo albums.

    On September 4th, 1944, the Frank family was deported to the Auschwitz concentration camp, where they arrived three days later. Once the Franks arrived at the camp, Otto Frank, was split up from Anne, her sister, and her mother. Anne Frank and her family were all deemed 'fit for labour' and were sent to work. However, 549 of those who arrived at Auschwitz with the Franks were immediately killed in gas chambers.

    Frank became infected with scabies shortly after her arrival. Due to this, she was prohibited from joining a transport to the Liebau labour camp in October 1944. Frank's mother and sister chose to stay with her at Auschwitz. Later that month, Anne and her sister Margot were relocated to the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. Frank's mother was not selected to join them and died at Auschwitz.

    Anne Frank's death

    In 1945, 17,000 prisoners died at Bergen-Belsen following a typhus epidemic. It is likely that this is what caused Frank's death. Both Anne Frank and her sister Margot died at the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp.

    The exact date of Frank's death is unknown. It is commonly stated that Frank died a few weeks before the camp was liberated by British soldiers on April 15th 1945. However, recent research suggests that she could have died in February of that year. This research argues an earlier date of death based on witness accounts of Frank displaying typhus symptoms in early February and reports from the Dutch health authorities stating that the majority of typhus victims die within 12 days of symptoms if left untreated.1

    Anne Frank: diary

    In 1947, Anne Frank's father published a copy of her diary, now known as The Diary of Anne Frank (1947). Let's take a look into the story behind the publication of Anne Frank's diary.

    Anne Frank's father, Otto Frank, survived his internment at Auschwitz. He learned of his wife's death soon after the camp was liberated. However, Otto Frank continued to search for evidence of Margot and Anne's survival for several weeks.

    After the deaths of Anne and Margot Frank were confirmed by Janny and Lien Brilleslijper, who knew the sisters in Bergen-Belsen, Miep Gies gave Otto Frank Anne's diary. In his own memoir, Otto Frank commented on his experience of reading Anne's diary, writing;

    For me it was a revelation… I had no idea of the depth of her thoughts and feelings.2

    Although Anne Frank's diary was initially intended to be private, she later recorded her wishes of wanting to publish her work after World War Two ended. From March 1944, Anne began to edit her diary as well as write in it. Frank removed and rewrote various sections of her diary based on the end goal of publication.

    Anne Frank's original diary ends on December 5th 1942. She continued to write in other notebooks; however, her notebooks from 1943 were lost. Frank's final diary letter was from August 1st, 1944. Three days later, Anne Frank and her family were arrested.

    After discovering her diary, Otto decided to publish it himself. The published version of Anne Frank's diary was made up of her original diary and her edited version. At first, Otto worked with historian Annie Romein-Verschoor to have the diary published; however, they were unsuccessful. Annie later gave the diary to her husband, Jan Romein. Romein wrote an article on the diary called 'Kinderstem' ('A Child's Voice'), which was published on April 3rd 1946. This article gained attention from publishers, leading to Anne Frank's diary being published in 1947 under the name Het Achterhuis (The Annex).

    Did you know? After its first printing in 1947, Anne Frank's diary was printed five more times by 1950.

    In 1952, Frank's diary was published in America for the first time, now under the name: Anne Frank: The Dairy of a Young Girl.

    Anne Frank's diary is known around the globe and has played a large role in continuing the memorialisation of the Holocaust and the horrific events which took place under the Nazi regime.

    Commenting on Anne Frank and the popularity of her work, Italian writer and Holocaust survivor Primo Levi argued that Frank has come to represent the millions of people who suffered and died during the Holocaust. Although Frank's story is important, so are the stories of the six million other victims of the Holocaust. Commenting on this, Levi stated;

    '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.'3

    Continuing the narrative that while Anne Frank's story is important it should not be the only story told or be considered a representation of all those who lost their lives in the Holocaust, Miep Gies wrote;

    '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.'4

    Anne Frank facts

    Now that we've learned about Anne Frank's life, death, and work, let's take a look at some additional interesting facts about her:

    1. Anne Frank named her diary 'Kitty'

    Frank's naming of her diary was inspired by a character from the Joop ter Heul novels (1918-1925) by Cissy van Marxveldt.

    2. Frank gave the people in her diary pseudonyms

    After Frank decided she wanted to publish her diary, she gave the people discussed in her writing pseudonyms. For instance, the Van Pels family were named the Van Danns.

    3. Eleanor Roosevelt wrote the introduction to Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl (1952)

    First Lady, Eleanor Roosevelt, wrote the introduction to the 1952 American first edition of Anne Frank's diary. Roosevelt stated that the diary was 'one of the wisest and most moving commentaries on war and its impact on human beings' that she had ever read.

    4. Anne Frank's diary inspired later plays and films

    In 1955 a play based on Frank's diary, written by American dramatists Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett, premiered in New York. This play won a Pulitzer Prize for Drama. Later, Frank's diary took the form of a film titled The Diary of Anne Frank (1959).

    5. President John F. Kennedy is one of the many figures to have paid respect to Anne Frank

    President John F. Kennedy paid tribute to Anne Frank in September 1962, when American Secretary of Labor, Arthur Goldberg, was sent on behalf of Kennedy to place a wreath at the Frank family's place of hiding. In the speech, Kennedy stated that;

    Of the multitude who throughout history have spoken for human dignity in times of great suffering and loss...no place is more compelling than that of Anne Frank.5

    6. Frank was named as one of Time's 'Most Important People of the Century'

    In Time magazine's June 1999 edition titled 'Time 100: The Most Important People of the Century, ' Frank was listed as one of Time's 'Heroes & Icons'. In his article on Frank, Roger Rosenblatt highlighted her literary ability;

    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.6

    8. Multiple edits were made to Anne Frank's diary

    Before Anne Frank's diary was published, it underwent multiple edits. The first set of edits were made by Anne Frank herself. The second set were made by her father after he decided to publish Anne Frank's work.

    A 'scientific' edition of Anne Frank's diary entries was published in 1986. This edition showed Anne Frank's original diary, her edited version, and her father's version on the same page.

    Anne Frank quotes

    Let's take a look at some memorable quotes from The Diary of Anne Frank.

    The Diary of Anne Frank, 'Saturday, June 20, 1942'

    In one of her early diary entries, Frank commented on the experience of recording her thoughts and everyday life in her diary, stating that no one would be interested in her musings. Looking at this quote with foresight, there is a sense of irony, as Frank's 'musings' have become known across the world. Many people today are interested in her work, with it being featured on multiple school syllabuses as a key text in Holocaust education.

    Writing in a diary is a really strange experience for someone like me. Not only because I've never written anything before, but also because it seems to me that later on neither I nor anyone else will be interested in the musings of a thirteen-year-old schoolgirl.

    The Diary of Anne Frank, 'Saturday, June 20, 1942'

    In the same entry as the above quote, Frank discussed how her life had changed following the rise of the Nazi party in Germany, the beginning of World War Two, and the eventual Nazi occupation of The Netherlands. Frank highlighted the many laws instated by the Nazi regime which limited the freedom and rights of Jewish people.

    the arrival of the Germans, which is when the trouble started for the Jews. Our freedom was severely restricted by a series of anti-Jewish decrees: Jews were required to wear a yellow star; Jews were required to turn in their bicycles; Jews were forbidden to use street-cars; Jews were forbidden to ride in cars, even their own...

    The Diary of Anne Frank, 'Tuesday, June 13, 1944'

    As Frank matured, her writing began to consider important social, political, and philosophical issues. In the quote below, at age fifteen, Frank considers the issue of women's rights and the need for equality between the genders, writing;

    Women should be respected as well! Generally speaking, men are held in great esteem in all parts of the world, so why shouldn't women have their share?

    In this section of her writing, Frank considers the causes of inequality, of 'why women have been, and still are, thought to be so inferior'. One such cause Frank suggests is men dominating 'women from the very beginning because of their greater physical strength', and women going 'along with this until recently'.

    The Diary of Anne Frank, 'Saturday, July 15, 1944'

    In one of her last diary entries before her capture on August 4th 1944, Frank wrote;

    In spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart.

    Despite spending over two years in hiding and living during a World War and the Holocaust, Anne Frank tried to hold on to faith in people and their goodness.

    Anne Frank - Key takeaways

    • Anne Frank was a Jewish victim of the Holocaust who lived from 1929 to 1945. She is best known for her work The Diary of Anne Frank (1947), published after her death.
    • Frank was born in Germany; however, she and her family fled to The Netherlands in 1933 following the Nazi regime's rise to power.
    • In 1940, Germany invaded the Netherlands, and in 1942 Frank and her family went into hiding as the Nazi regime began systematically deporting Jewish people from the Netherlands.
    • Anne Frank and her family were discovered on September 4th, 1944, and deported to Auschwitz. Frank died in 1945 at the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp.
    • Otto Frank was the one surviving member of the Frank family. After the death of Anne was confirmed, Miep Gies (one of the people who helped the Franks go into hiding) gave Otto Frank Anne's diary. Otto Frank published Anne's diary in 1947.

    References

    1. Anne Frank House, 'Anne Frank’s last months', annefrank.org, 2015.
    2. Carol Ann Lee, The Biography of Anne Frank – Roses from the Earth, 2000.
    3. Antonia Molloy, 'Anne Frank: 70 years after her death, her diary remains one of the most enduring symbols of human suffering during the Holocaust', The Independent, 2015.
    4. Melissa Müller, Anne Frank: The Biography, 1999.
    5. Jewish Telegraphic Agency, 'Kennedy Says Anne Frank’s Gift to World Will Survive Her Enemies', 1962.
    6. Roger Rosenblatt, 'The Diarist', TIME, 1999.
    Frequently Asked Questions about Anne Frank

    How did Anne Frank die?

    In 1945, 17,000 prisoners died at Bergen-Belsen following a typhus epidemic. It is likely that this is what caused Frank's death. 

    What is the main message of the diary of Anne Frank?

    It is important to remember that Anne Frank's diary was initially intended to be private. When Frank decided she wanted to publish her diary, she began editing and working on it. 


    Considering that Frank wished to have her diary published, its main message is hope that even in times of intense struggle and suffering there is still good. Frank continued to write her diary, and document her experiences of war and the Holocaust because she believed that one day, when the war was over, her work could be published.

    What happened to Anne Frank?

    Anne Frank was one of the six million Jewish people who died during the Holocaust. Frank was captured by the German police in August 1944, and died at Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in 1945.

    How long was Anne Frank in hiding?

    Anne Frank was in hiding for just over two years.

    What is an interesting fact about Anne Frank?

    Frank was named as one of Time's 'Most Important People of the Century'.

    Test your knowledge with multiple choice flashcards

    Complete the sentence: 'Anne Frank was one of the ____ of the Holocaust.'

    True or false: Anne Frank's personal diary was published in 1945, after her death.

    When was The Diary of Anne Frank published?

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