By- Angela Padrón
The name Anne Frank is known around the world. Anne was a Jewish girl who is famous for the diary she kept while hiding from the Nazis during World War II.
Anne was born on June 12, 1929 in Frankfurt, Germany. When Adolf Hitler came to power in Germany, Anne, her parents Otto and Edith, and her older sister Margot left Germany for Amsterdam in the Netherlands. There, Anne’s father started a business while her mother stayed home and Anne and Margot went to school. With war eminent, Otto Frank tried to emigrate to England or the USA, but was not able to do so. Once Germany invaded Poland on September 1, 1939, World War II had begun. Soon after, on May 10, 1940, German troops invaded the Netherlands and five days later, the country surrendered. As a result, rules were put into place that didn’t allow Jews to go to certain places. Anne Frank and her sister were forced to attend a Jewish school and her father lost his business.
When another attempt to emigrate failed, Anne’s family, along with seven other people, went into hiding. They hid in a secret annex at Prinsengracht 263 in Amsterdam. While in hiding, Anne and her family had to stay very quiet at all times. They were completely dependent on other people to help them to get food, clothing, books, and news about what was going on in the world.
To pass the time, Anne wrote in a diary that she had received for her birthday. She wrote about her background and her family’s life in secret. In addition, she wrote short stories and kept a log of quotes from other writers. She called her diary “the book of beautiful sentences.” One day, the Dutch minister of education, who was exiled in London, spoke on the radio, encouraging people to keep journals of their war experiences. Anne wanted to turn her diary into a novel called The Secret Annex—but she was never able to finish the book. After being in hiding for more than two years, Anne and the others were discovered. On August 4, 1944, they were taken to Nazi concentration camps.
Anne’s father was the only one of the eight people who hid at Prinsengracht 263 in Amsterdam who survived. After the war, Otto learned that his wife had died, but he was initially unable to locate or find any news about his daughters. Soon after, however, he found out that Anne and her sister had died of disease and deprivation. A family friend found Anne’s diary and returned it to her father.
In her diary, Anne wrote that she wanted to become a writer or journalist someday. She also told of her desire to publish her diary as a novel. On June 25, 1947, Anne’s diary, called The Secret Annex, was published. The writing was translated into several languages and was eventually made into a play and a movie.
People can read and learn about Anne through her writing and by visiting the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam, which became a museum in 1960. Though Anne Frank did not survive, her words lend us invaluable information that helps us understand the tragedy of the Holocaust and the strength of the people who were persecuted during that time.
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