Even before writing her now famous diary detailing her life and that of her family as Jews during World War II, Anne Frank already showed considerable promise as a writer. Born in 1929, the powerful words she wrote in her diary gave insight into the lives of her family and friends during the Holocaust.
Although she expressed fear that the Nazis might capture her and her family, nothing likely prepared her for the actual capture and events that followed the capture of everyone in the Secret Annex. Her diary lived on, detailing all the thoughts, emotions, and dreams of a teenage girl who lived and died during the Holocaust.
Anne Frank In The Secret Annex
When the Nazis came to power, Otto Frank moved his Jewish family to Holland. Unfortunately, the Nazis invaded Holland in 1940. Then Otto Frank and Edith Frank-Hollander moved their family to a “Secret Annex” the day after their eldest daughter, Margot, who was three years older than Anne, received notice to report to a Nazi “work camp.” The Frank family feared this would actually lead to Margot’s placement in a Nazi concentration camp. So, he secretly moved the family to the Secret Annex that Otto began preparing in the warehouse where he worked.
The Frank Family, the family of Otto Frank’s business partner, and a Jewish dentist made up the eight people who spent every day in the Secret Annex. Anne wrote details of their lives in the Secret Annex in the diary that she started keeping on her 13th birthday. She received the diary as a gift from her father. That diary would eventually become one of the most powerful accounts of life and death that Jews suffered at the hands of the Nazis.
Anne took the diary with her when they went into hiding on July 6, 1942. The last entry was on August 1, 1944.
On August 4, 1944, more than two years after going into hiding, a betrayal resulted in the capture of Anne Frank, her family and the others hiding in the Secret Annex. The Anne Frank House explains, that an anonymous tip arrived that morning by telephone at the headquarters of the Sicherheitsdienst (SD or Security Police). Karl Josef Silberbauer oversaw the arrest. Van Maaren pointed towards the upstairs in silence when the Nazis stormed the warehouse.
Miep Gies, Otto Franks’ secretary who had helped Anne, her family, and the others hiding in the Secret Annex stared down the barrel of a gun as the Nazis ordered her to stay seated and not to move, as well as employee Victor Kugler as he led the way.
The four Gestapo officers took all the valuables they could gather and arrested everyone in the Secret Annex. Miep Gies and office secretary Bep Voskuijl, who was allowed to go free, grabbed Anne’s diary and kept it.
The Concentration Camps
Family members became separated, sent to different concentration camps. Anne and Margot went to the death camps at Auschwitz and later to Bergen-Belsen in Germany. Both of the Frank girls died there after contracting typhus in March 1945. Only two months later, British soldiers liberated the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, located in Germany.
Otto Frank is the only member of his family to survive the concentration camps. He often found it too difficult to speak about the betrayal and loss of his family. In 1979, he stated he found it “Impossible to talk about certain things.”
The Diary And Museums
The Diary of Anne Frank was first published in 1947. It has since been translated into 67 languages. The Anne Frank House allows visitors to the site to wander through the Secret Annex Online.
The actual place where Anne Frank, her family and the others hid opened as a museum in 1960. The Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect in New York features both permanent and traveling exhibits.