Somehow I missed Anne Frank’s birthday yesterday. So I’m posting her bioBLOG today instead.
“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.”— Anne Frank
Annelies Marie Frank was born on June 12, 1929 in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. Yesterday was the 84th anniversary of her birth.
Anne was the younger daughter of Otto and Edith Frank. Otto Frank was a “lieutenant in the German Army during World War I who later became a businessman in Germany and the Netherlands..”[Biography.com] Anne’s older sister Margot was three years her senior.
The Franks were upper middle-class German Jews. They lived in a diverse neighborhood. Anne went to school and played with children of various religions. But when the Nazis came to power in Germany Otto Frank moved his family to Amsterdam.
Anne Frank started at the Montessori School in 1934, and throughout the rest of the 1930s she lived a relatively happy and normal childhood. Frank had many friends, Dutch and German, Jewish and Christian, and she was a bright and inquisitive student. [Ibid]
She particularly liked reading and writing, while Margot liked arithmetic. It was one of the many ways in which the sisters were dissimilar. Anne was outgoing, rambunctious and loud; Margot was reserved, well behaved and quiet.
Germany invased the Netherlands on May 10, 1940. Anne later wrote about the invasion:
“After May 1940, the good times were few and far between; first there was the war, then the capitulation and then the arrival of the Germans, which is when the trouble started for the Jews.”
By October of 1940 Anti-Jewish laws were put into place. Anne and Margot had to leave their schools and attend the Jewish Lyceum. The family had to sew the yellow Star of David on their clothing and had to follow a curfew. Otto Frank took measures to transfer his businesses to Gentile partners so the companies would not be liquidated.
For her birthday in 1942 Anne’s parents gave her a red and white checkered diary which she dubbed “Kitty”. Less than a month later Margot was called up for service in a German work camp and the family went into hiding.
For the next two years her family, along with Herman, Auguste and Peter Van Pels and Fritz Pfeffer, lived in the secret annex of one of Otto Frank’s former businesses. Anne…
wrote extensive daily entries in her diary. Some betrayed the depth of despair into which she occasionally sunk during day after day of confinement. “I’ve reached the point where I hardly care whether I live or die,” she wrote on February 3, 1944. “The world will keep on turning without me, and I can’t do anything to change events anyway.” However, the act of writing allowed Frank to maintain her sanity and her spirits. “When I write, I can shake off all my cares,” [Biography.com]
The Secret Annex was raided on August 4, 1944 and Anne, her family and the others hiding there were taken to Camp WesterBork in Northeast Netherlands. On September 3rd, 1944 They were transferred to Auschwitz in Poland. That winter Anne and Margot were transferred to Bergen-Belsen. Both girls contracted typhus and died in March of 1945.
Otto Frank, the only one from the Annex to survive the Camps, returned to Amsterdam after the War. He found Anne’s diary and had selections from it published. It has since been published as a novel, a play and filmed for both television and the big screen.
And so it is that Anne Frank’s words live on 71 years after she began to scribble them down in a little red and white diary.
“Despite everything, I believe that people are really good at heart.”
For a terrific look inside Anne’s journey and life inside the Annex go HERE to The Secret Annex On Line
- Town hosts Anne Frank exhibition (hartlepoolmail.co.uk)
- Pupils inspired after exclusive tour of Anne Frank’s home (watfordobserver.co.uk)
- The Legacy of Anne Frank…..in life….in death! (tipaonline.wordpress.com)
June 14th, 2013 at 9:58 am
Thanks so much for this thought. I often read your thoughts and enjoy them but this one has taken me back 20 years when I visited the annex and probably 30 years when I read the diary. How lucky are we ?
June 14th, 2013 at 12:41 pm
Thanks for reading shaunagh61. Anne’s story brought both tears to my eyes once again when I wrote this, just as her words brought hope to my heart when I researched the quotes.