Edited by Gerald Boerner

    

    
Commentary:

JerryPhotoI first read Anne Frank’s diary while taking second year German in college. This was the German version! I believe that this made the impact of this reading even more meaningful. As the German phrases, with their precision of meaning, yielded their richness of meaning. When this is coupled with the fact that the diary was written by a 15 year old girl hiding from the Nazis in occupied Amsterdam..

One can only wonder what she was going through each day. But wait! we do know what she was thinking because she recorded it in here diary; that diary was retrieved and revealed to the world by her father returned from Auschwitz after the war. He then shared this intimate account of little Anne’s experience in that small set of attic rooms.

Annelies Marie "Anne" Frank (12 June 1929 in Frankfurt am Main – early March 1945 in Bergen Belsen) is one of the most renowned and most discussed Jewish victims of the Holocaust. Acknowledged for the quality of her writing, her diary has become one of the world’s most widely read books, and has been the basis for several plays and films.

AnneFrankMuseumLine

The Frank family moved from Germany to Amsterdam in 1933, the year the Nazis gained control over Germany. By the beginning of 1940, they were trapped in Amsterdam by the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands. As persecutions of the Jewish population increased in July 1942, the family went into hiding in the hidden rooms of Anne’s father, Otto Frank’s, office building. After two years, the group was betrayed and transported to concentration camps. Anne Frank and her sister, Margot, were eventually transferred to the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, where they both died of typhus in March 1945.

We should be thankful for Anne Frank’s sharing of her observations of life of a Jewish Girl during the Nazi terror. So, let’s get started on today’s exploration… GLB

These Introductory Comments are copyrighted:
Copyright©2011 — Gerald Boerner — All Rights Reserved

[ 4089 Words ]
    

    

Quotations Related to ANNE FRANK:

    

“Think of all the beauty still left around you and be happy.”
— Anne Frank

“Despite everything, I believe that people are really good at heart.”
— Anne Frank

“Laziness may appear attractive, but work gives satisfaction.”
— Anne Frank

“Boys will be boys. And even that wouldn’t matter if only we could prevent girls from being girls.”
— Anne Frank

“How true Daddy’s words were when he said: all children must look after their own upbringing. Parents can only give good advice or put them on the right paths, but the final forming of a person’s character lies in their own hands.”
— Anne Frank

“And finally I twist my heart round again, so that the bad is on the outside and the good is on the inside, and keep on trying to find a way of becoming what I would so like to be, and could be, if there weren’t any other people living in the world.”
— Anne Frank

“It’s really a wonder that I haven’t dropped all my ideals, because they seem so absurd and impossible to carry out. Yet I keep them, because in spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart.”
— Anne Frank

“The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quiet, alone with the heavens, nature and God. Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be.”
— Anne Frank

    

Diary of Anne Frank: First Published in English…

    

    
Anne_FrankAnnelies Marie
"Anne" Frank (12 June 1929 in Frankfurt am Main – early March 1945 in Bergen Belsen) is one of the most renowned and most discussed Jewish victims of the Holocaust. Acknowledged for the quality of her writing, her diary has become one of the world’s most widely read books, and has been the basis for several plays and films.

Born in the city of Frankfurt am Main in Weimar Germany, she lived most of her life in or near Amsterdam, in the Netherlands. By nationality, she was officially considered a German until 1941, when she lost her nationality owing to the anti-Semitic policies of Nazi Germany (the Nuremberg Laws). She gained international fame posthumously following the publication of her diary, which documents her experiences hiding during the German occupation of the Netherlands in World War II.

The Frank family moved from Germany to Amsterdam in 1933, the year the Nazis gained control over Germany. By the beginning of 1940, they were trapped in Amsterdam by the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands. As persecutions of the Jewish population increased in July 1942, the family went into hiding in the hidden rooms of Anne’s father, Otto Frank’s, office building. After two years, the group was betrayed and transported to concentration camps. Anne Frank and her sister, Margot, were eventually transferred to the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, where they both died of typhus in March 1945.

Otto Frank, the only survivor of the family, returned to Amsterdam after the war to find that Anne’s diary had been saved, and his efforts led to its publication in 1947. It was translated from its original Dutch and first published in English in 1952 as The Diary of a Young Girl. It has since been translated into many languages. The diary, which was given to Anne on her 13th birthday, chronicles her life from 12 June 1942 until 1 August 1944.
    

   

Early Life

Anne Frank was born on 12 June 1929 in Frankfurt, Germany, the second daughter of Otto Frank (1889–1980) and Edith Frank-Holländer (1900–45). Margot Frank (1926–45) was her elder sister. The Franks were liberal Jews, did not observe all of the customs and traditions of Judaism, and lived in an assimilated community of Jewish and non-Jewish citizens of various religions. Edith Frank was the more devout parent, while Otto Frank was interested in scholarly pursuits and had an extensive library; both parents encouraged the children to read.

On 13 March 1933, elections were held in Frankfurt for the municipal council, and Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Party won. Antisemitic demonstrations occurred almost immediately, and the Franks began to fear what would happen to them if they remained in Germany. Later that year, Edith and the children went to Aachen, where they stayed with Edith’s mother, Rosa Holländer. Otto Frank remained in Frankfurt, but after receiving an offer to start a company in Amsterdam, he moved there to organize the business and to arrange accommodations for his family. The Franks were among approximately 300,000 Jews who fled Germany between 1933 and 1939.

AnneFrankMerwedepleinThe apartment block on the
Merwedeplein where the Frank
family lived from 1934 until 1942
    

Otto Frank began working at the Opekta Works, a company that sold fruit extract pectin, and found an apartment on the Merwedeplein (Merwede Square) in Amsterdam. By February 1934, Edith and the children had arrived in Amsterdam, and the two girls were enrolled in school — Margot in public school and Anne in a Montessori school. Margot demonstrated ability in arithmetic, and Anne showed aptitude for reading and writing. Her friend Hanneli Goslar later recalled that from early childhood, Frank frequently wrote, although she shielded her work with her hands and refused to discuss the content of her writing. The Frank sisters had highly distinct personalities, Margot being well-mannered, reserved, and studious, while Anne was outspoken, energetic, and extroverted.

In 1938, Otto Frank started a second company, Pectacon, which was a wholesaler of herbs, pickling salts and mixed spices, used in the production of sausages. Hermann van Pels was employed by Pectacon as an advisor about spices. He was a Jewish butcher, who had fled Osnabrück in Germany with his family. In 1939, Edith’s mother came to live with the Franks, and remained with them until her death in January 1942.

In May 1940, Germany invaded the Netherlands, and the occupation government began to persecute Jews by the implementation of restrictive and discriminatory laws; mandatory registration and segregation soon followed. The Frank sisters were excelling in their studies and had many friends, but with the introduction of a decree that Jewish children could attend only Jewish schools, they were enrolled at the Jewish Lyceum. In April 1941, Otto Frank took action to prevent Pectacon from being confiscated as a Jewish-owned business. He transferred his shares in Pectacon to Johannes Kleiman and resigned as director. The company was liquidated and all assets transferred to Gies and Company, headed by Jan Gies. In December 1941, he followed a similar process to save Opekta. The businesses continued with little obvious change and their survival allowed Otto Frank to earn a minimal income, but sufficient to provide for his family.

    

Time Period Chronicled in the Diary

    
Before Going into Hiding

For her 13th birthday on 12 June 1942, Frank received a book she had shown her father in a shop window a few days earlier. Although it was an autograph book, bound with red-and-white checkered cloth and with a small lock on the front, Frank decided she would use it as a diary, and began writing in it almost immediately. While many of her early entries relate the mundane aspects of her life, she also discusses some of the changes that had taken place in the Netherlands since the German occupation. In her entry dated 20 June 1942, she lists many of the restrictions that had been placed upon the lives of the Dutch Jewish population, and also notes her sorrow at the death of her grandmother earlier in the year.

Frank dreamed about becoming an actress. She loved watching movies, but the Dutch Jews were forbidden access to movie theaters from 8 January 1941 onwards.

    
Life in the Achterhuis

AnneFrankHouse_BookcaseReconstruction of the bookcase
that covered the entrance to
the Secret Annex, in the Anne
Frank House in Amsterdam
    

On the morning of Monday, 6 July 1942, the family moved into their hiding place, a secret annex. Their apartment was left in a state of disarray to create the impression that they had left suddenly, and Otto Frank left a note that hinted they were going to Switzerland. The need for secrecy forced them to leave behind Anne’s cat, Moortje. As Jews were not allowed to use public transport, they walked several kilometers from their home, with each of them wearing several layers of clothing as they did not dare be seen carrying luggage. The Achterhuis (a Dutch word denoting the rear part of a house, translated as the "Secret Annexe" in English editions of the diary) was a three-story space entered from a landing above the Opekta offices. Two small rooms, with an adjoining bathroom and toilet, were on the first level, and above that a larger open room, with a small room beside it. From this smaller room, a ladder led to the attic. The door to the Achterhuis was later covered by a bookcase to ensure it remained undiscovered. The main building, situated a block from the Westerkerk, was nondescript, old and typical of buildings in the western quarters of Amsterdam.

Victor Kugler, Johannes Kleiman, Miep Gies, and Bep Voskuijl were the only employees who knew of the people in hiding, and with Gies’ husband Jan Gies and Voskuijl’s father Johannes Hendrik Voskuijl, were their "helpers" for the duration of their confinement. These contacts provided the only connection between the outside world and the occupants of the house, and they kept the occupants informed of war news and political developments. They catered for all of their needs, ensured their safety, and supplied them with food, a task that grew more difficult with the passage of time. Frank wrote of their dedication and of their efforts to boost morale within the household during the most dangerous of times. All were aware that, if caught, they could face the death penalty for sheltering Jews.

AnneFrankHouseAmsterdamtheNetherlandsThe house (left) at the
Prinsengracht in Amsterdam
    

On 13 July 1942, the Franks were joined by the van Pels family: Hermann, Auguste, and 16-year-old Peter, and then in November by Fritz Pfeffer, a dentist and friend of the family. Frank wrote of her pleasure at having new people to talk to, but tensions quickly developed within the group forced to live in such confined conditions. After sharing her room with Pfeffer, she found him to be insufferable and resented his intrusion, and she clashed with Auguste van Pels, whom she regarded as foolish. She regarded Hermann van Pels and Fritz Pfeffer as selfish, particularly in regard to the amount of food they consumed. Some time later, after first dismissing the shy and awkward Peter van Pels, she recognized a kinship with him and the two entered a romance. She received her first kiss from him, but her infatuation with him began to wane as she questioned whether her feelings for him were genuine, or resulted from their shared confinement.[24] Anne Frank formed a close bond with each of the helpers and Otto Frank later recalled that she had anticipated their daily visits with impatient enthusiasm. He observed that Anne’s closest friendship was with Bep Voskuijl, "the young typist… the two of them often stood whispering in the corner."

In her writing, Frank examined her relationships with the members of her family, and the strong differences in each of their personalities. She considered herself to be closest emotionally to her father, who later commented, "I got on better with Anne than with Margot, who was more attached to her mother. The reason for that may have been that Margot rarely showed her feelings and didn’t need as much support because she didn’t suffer from mood swings as much as Anne did." The Frank sisters formed a closer relationship than had existed before they went into hiding, although Anne sometimes expressed jealousy towards Margot, particularly when members of the household criticized Anne for lacking Margot’s gentle and placid nature. As Anne began to mature, the sisters were able to confide in each other. In her entry of 12 January 1944, Frank wrote, "Margot’s much nicer… She’s not nearly so catty these days and is becoming a real friend. She no longer thinks of me as a little baby who doesn’t count."

Amsterdam_PanaromaThe Secret Annexe with its light-colored walls and orange
roof (bottom) and the Anne Frank tree in the garden behind
the house (bottom right), seen from the Westerkerk in 2004
    

Frank frequently wrote of her difficult relationship with her mother, and of her ambivalence towards her. On 7 November 1942 she described her "contempt" for her mother and her inability to "confront her with her carelessness, her sarcasm and her hard-heartedness," before concluding, "She’s not a mother to me." Later, as she revised her diary, Frank felt ashamed of her harsh attitude, writing: "Anne, is it really you who mentioned hate, oh Anne, how could you?" She came to understand that their differences resulted from misunderstandings that were as much her fault as her mother’s, and saw that she had added unnecessarily to her mother’s suffering. With this realization, Frank began to treat her mother with a degree of tolerance and respect.

Frank aspired to become a journalist, writing in her diary on Wednesday, 5 April 1944:

    
“I finally realized that I must do my schoolwork to keep from being ignorant, to get on in life, to become a journalist, because that’s what I want! I know I can write …, but it remains to be seen whether I really have talent …

And if I don’t have the talent to write books or newspaper articles, I can always write for myself. But I want to achieve more than that. I can’t imagine living like Mother, Mrs. van Daan and all the women who go about their work and are then forgotten. I need to have something besides a husband and children to devote myself to! …

I want to be useful or bring enjoyment to all people, even those I’ve never met. I want to go on living even after my death! And that’s why I’m so grateful to God for having given me this gift, which I can use to develop myself and to express all that’s inside me!

When I write I can shake off all my cares. My sorrow disappears, my spirits are revived! But, and that’s a big question, will I ever be able to write something great, will I ever become a journalist or a writer?” — Anne Frank
    

She continued writing regularly until her final entry of August 1, 1944.

    

Arrest

On the morning of 4 August 1944, the Achterhuis was stormed by the German Security Police (Grüne Polizei) following a tip-off from an informer who was never identified. Led by Schutzstaffel Oberscharführer Karl Silberbauer of the Sicherheitsdienst, the group included at least three members of the Security Police. The Franks, van Pelses and Pfeffer were taken to the Gestapo headquarters, where they were interrogated and held overnight. On 5 August, they were transferred to the Huis van Bewaring (House of Detention), an overcrowded prison on the Weteringschans. Two days later they were transported to Westerbork. Ostensibly a transit camp, by this time more than 100,000 Jews had passed through it. Having been arrested in hiding, they were considered criminals and were sent to the Punishment Barracks for hard labor.

Hut-AnneFrank-WesterborkA partial reconstruction of the barracks
in the concentration camp Westerbork
where Anne Frank stayed from August
to September 1944
    

Victor Kugler and Johannes Kleiman were arrested and jailed at the penal camp for enemies of the regime at Amersfoort. Kleiman was released after seven weeks, but Kugler was held in various work camps until the war’s end. Miep Gies and Bep Voskuijl were questioned and threatened by the Security Police but were not detained. They returned to the Achterhuis the following day, and found Anne’s papers strewn on the floor. They collected them, as well as several family photograph albums, and Gies resolved to return them to Anne after the war. On 7 August 1944, Gies attempted to facilitate the release of the prisoners by confronting Karl Silberbauer‎ and offering him money to intervene, but he refused.

    

Deportation and Death

On 3 September 1944, the group was deported on what would be the last transport from Westerbork to the Auschwitz concentration camp, and arrived after a three-day journey. On the same train was Bloeme Evers-Emden, an Amsterdam native who had befriended Margot and Anne in the Jewish lyceum in 1941. Bloeme saw Anne, Margot and their mother regularly in Auschwitz, and was interviewed for her remembrances of the Frank women in Auschwitz in the 1988 television documentary The Last Seven Months of Anne Frank by Dutch filmmaker Willy Lindwer and the 1995 BBC documentary Anne Frank Remembered.

In the chaos that marked the unloading of the trains, the men were forcibly separated from the women and children, and Otto Frank was wrenched from his family. Of the 1,019 passengers, 549 — including all children younger than 15 — were sent directly to the gas chambers. Frank had turned 15 three months earlier and was one of the youngest people to be spared from her transport. She was soon made aware that most people were gassed upon arrival, and never learned that the entire group from the Achterhuis had survived this selection. She reasoned that her father, in his mid-fifties and not particularly robust, had been killed immediately after they were separated.

Anne_frank_memorial_bergen_belsenMemorial for Margot and Anne Frank
at the former Bergen-Belsen site, along
with floral and pictorial tributes.
    

In October 1944, the Frank women were slated to join a transport to the Liebau labor camp in Upper Silesia, which Bloeme Evers-Emden was also a part of. But Anne was prohibited from joining because she had developed scabies, and her mother and sister opted to stay with her. Bloeme went on without them.

On 28 October, selections began for women to be relocated to Bergen-Belsen. More than 8,000 women, including Anne and Margot Frank and Auguste van Pels, were transported, but Edith Frank was left behind and later died from starvation. Tents were erected at Bergen-Belsen to accommodate the influx of prisoners, and as the population rose, the death toll due to disease increased rapidly. Frank was briefly reunited with two friends, Hanneli Goslar and Nanette Blitz, who were confined in another section of the camp. Goslar and Blitz both survived the war and later discussed the brief conversations they had conducted with Frank through a fence. Blitz described her as bald, emaciated, and shivering and Goslar noted Auguste van Pels was with Anne and Margot Frank, and was caring for Margot, who was severely ill. Neither of them saw Margot as she was too weak to leave her bunk. Anne told both Blitz and Goslar she believed her parents were dead, and for that reason did not wish to live any longer. Goslar later estimated their meetings had taken place in late January or early February, 1945.

In March 1945, a typhus epidemic spread through the camp and killed approximately 17,000 prisoners.[46] Witnesses later testified Margot fell from her bunk in her weakened state and was killed by the shock, and a few days later, Anne died. They state this occurred a few weeks before the camp was liberated by British troops on 15 April 1945, although the exact dates were not recorded. After liberation, the camp was burned in an effort to prevent further spread of disease, and Anne and Margot were buried in a mass grave, the exact whereabouts of which is unknown.

Otto Frank survived his internment in Auschwitz. After the war ended, he returned to Amsterdam, where he was sheltered by Jan and Miep Gies as he attempted to locate his family. He learned of the death of his wife, Edith, in Auschwitz, but he remained hopeful that his daughters had survived. After several weeks, he discovered Margot and Anne had also died. He attempted to determine the fates of his daughters’ friends and learned many had been murdered. Susanne Ledermann, often mentioned in Anne’s diary, had been gassed along with her parents, though her sister, Barbara, a close friend of Margot, had survived. Several of the Frank sisters’ school friends had survived, as had the extended families of both Otto and Edith Frank, as they had fled Germany during the mid 1930s, with individual family members settling in Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

    

    

Please take time to further explore more about Anne Frank, The
Diary of a Young Girl, Betrayal of Anne Frank, Bergen-Belsen
Concentration Camp, Anne Frank House, Anne Frank Tree
by
accessing the Wikipedia articles referenced below. In most cases,
the text in the body of this post has been selectively excerpted from
the articles; footnotes and hyperlinks have been removed for readability

    

References

    

    
Other Events on this Day:

  • In 1789…
    George Washington is inaugurated as the first president of the United States at Wall Street’s Federal Hall in New York.

  • In 1803…
    The United States concludes negotiations with France for the Louisiana Purchase, doubling the size of the young republic for $15 million.

  • In 1812…
    Louisiana becomes the eighteenth state.

  • In 1939…
    Lou Gehrig plays his last game with the New York Yankees, ending his streak of 2,130 consecutive games played.

  • In 1939…
    Franklin D. Roosevelt becomes the first president to appear on TV as he opens the World’s Fair in New York City.

  • In 1952…
    The diary of Anne Frank, a literarily gifted teenage victim of the Holocaust, is published in English for the first time as The Diary of a Young Girl
    .

  • In 1975…
    The last Americans evacuate Saigon as South Vietnam surrenders to the Vietcong.

  • In 1997…
    Ellen Morgan, comedian Ellen DeGeneres’ character on the ABC sitcom Ellen, comes out to her therapist, played by guest star Oprah Winfrey, revealing that she is a lesbian during an episode seen by 42 million television viewers. DeGeneres herself came out as gay just weeks before the episode airs.

    

Dates and events based on:

William J. Bennett and John Cribb, (2008) The American Patriot’s Almanac Daily Readings on America. (Kindle Edition)

    

Background information is from Wikipedia articles on:

Wikipedia: Anne Frank…
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anne_Frank

Wikipedia: The Diary of a Young Girl…
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Diary_of_a_Young_Girl

Wikipedia: Betrayal of Anne Frank…
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Betrayal_of_Anne_Frank

Wikipedia: Bergen-Belsen Concentration Camp…
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bergen-Belsen_concentration_camp

Wikipedia: Anne Frank House…
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anne_Frank_House

Wikipedia: Anne Frank Tree…
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anne_Frank_tree

Brainy Quote: ANNE FRANK Quotes…

http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/a/anne_frank.html

    

Other Posts on related Topics:

Prof. Boerner’s Exploration: Auschwitz Free, International Holocaust Remembrance Day…
http://www.boerner.net/jboerner/?p=16674