An estimated 6 million Jews were mercifully killed during World War Two after being persecuted for many years. One 14-year-old girl wrote a diary showing what life was really like for Jews, which showed shocking and bloodcurdling insights and details.
Her name was Anne Frank. Annelise Marie Frank was a Jew born in Frankfurt, Germany on the 12th of June 1929. She lived at a time when Jews and other ‘non perfect’ races were slowly losing their rights and they were being treated more and more like animals. She was born to her mother Edith Frank and her father Otto Heinrich Frank.
She had one eldest sister Margot whom she was very close to. Margot was 3 years elder than Anne. She had a very happy childhood playing with children from all religions in her neighbourhood and she was always very open-minded. All the troubles started for the Jews in early March of 1933.
Adolf Hitler’s Nazi party had just won power at the election. Immediately, the Franks feared for their lives in Germany and Edith took the children to a small village near the border of Germany. Otto stayed in Frankfurt to work but took an offer of a new job in Amsterdam as soon as it became available.The whole family moved to Amsterdam and by the time Anne was 5, the whole family was happily settled and the two girls were enrolled in school.
Margot and Anne were very different with Margot being skilled at maths but Anne at reading and writing. Their personalities were also very different with Margot being well mannered, reserved and a constant studier but Anne was outspoken and lively. Otto worked for a few companies over the years but he started his own company with his friend Hermanne Van Pels. He was a butcher and they both led a very successful company.
In 1939, Anne’s grandmother came to Amsterdam and stayed with them until she died of natural causes in 1942. In May 1940, Germany invaded the Netherlands, which Amsterdam is in. The new government began to persecute the Jews by using controlling and discriminative laws against them. Even though Margot and Anne were eager students, they had to apply with the laws and move to the Jewish Lyceum, which is just a Jewish school.
The diary of Anne Frank began before Anne’s thirteenth birthday. Anne had seen the book, which was really an autograph book, in a shop window and asked for it for her birthday.She turned it into her diary and began writing. In July 1942, Margot received a letter from the German authorities demanding that she reported to a working camp in the next few weeks. The family were in a panic and so they moved to the secret annexe. The annexe was a secret floor behind Otto Frank’s business office.
They had organised the area in advance, as they knew that trouble was coming. On the morning that they left the everyday home, the Franks made the house look up in arms as though they had left in a rush.Otto Frank left a note hinting that they were fleeing to Switzerland and sadly, Anne had to leave behind her pet cat Moortje. They left the house in the darkness and walked the many miles in many layers, as suitcases would have aroused suspicion.
The only contact with the outside world was daily meetings with Victor Kugler, Johannes Kleiman, Miep Gies, and Bep Voskuijl. These four were trusted employees of Otto Frank who helped the Franks by bringing them food, water, news of war and the most desired possession, new conservationists. A few weeks later, in late July, the Van Pel family joined the Franks in the annex.This was the family who Anne’s father shared the business with. They were also being hunted by the German authorities and left their home in the same state as the Franks.
The Van Pels consisted of Hermann, Auguste and young Peter. In the November, a family friend, Fritz Pfeffe, the family dentist, who was also being hunted, joined the two families. Anne loved having more people to talk to but she resented having to share her room with the dentist. Over the months they spent together, Anne grew closer to Peter Van Pel and they kissed while in the Annex.
As they spent so much time together, Anne grew closer and closer to each individual family member and friends and she details them very well in her famous diary. The fateful moment that shattered the Franks dreams of freedom was early on the 4th of August 1944. German authorities stormed the building after an anonymous tip-off who was never identified. The two families and the dentist were found and taken to the secret Nazi police office where they were all interrogated overnight and they were then took to Westerbrok which is a detention centre. Victor Kugler and Johannes Kleiman were arrested as they had went against the Nazi’s.
Kleiman was released but Kugler had to serve in work camps until the end of the war. Miep Gies and Bep Voskuijl were not detained at all and they were the ones who went back to the secret annex and found Anne’s diaries scattered across the floor. They piled them together and hoped to keep them safe until Anne herself was back incase the German Officers came back for another look. On the 3rd of September, Anne and her group were sent from Westerbrok to Auschwitz and their journey was actually the last of its kind so if they were found any later, they might not have been sent to the detention centres.This was the last journey as the war was nearly ending and many knew of it.
At Auschwitz, Half of all travellers were sent straight to the gas chambers but remarkably, none of Anne’s group met this fate. Otto was taken from his family and it was immediately after that that Anne believed that her father had also been gassed to death. She and other girls were stripped, shaved and tattooed which must have been very embarrassing. She had to work as slave labour and then crammed into barracks at night.
These barracks were full of diseases and rats, which meant the end of many.In late October, Anne, Margot and other women were moved to Bergen-Belsen but Edith was left behind and she died of starvation and giving her daughters every last ration that she had. In March 1945, Margot died after a typhus outbreak, which ended her life when she fell form her bed and was killed by the shock. A few days later, Anne died as well by typhus, which was told to us by other inmates.
Only weeks later the camp was liberated by the Allies and if Anne had held survived a little longer, she could be here to tell us her tale right now.Otto Frank was the only Annex survivor and he continued to hunt for his family as much as he could until he was told that they hadn’t made it. Anne and Margot’s bodies were never found as the barracks were burnt to ashes to stop the spread of disease. Margot had also written a diary during the Annex but it was never found.
When Otto found Anne’s diaries, he was astonished at how detailed and well written her work was and he was determined to get it published. He fought hard for his little girl to make sure that she will never be forgotten.