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Anne Frank

Anne Frank
ANNE FRANK

BACKGROUND

A young Jewish girl named Anne Frank (1929-1945), her parents and older sister moved to the Netherlands from Germany after Adolf Hilter and the Nazis came to power there in 1933 and made life increasingly difficult for Jews. In 1942, Frank and her family went into hiding in a secret apartment behind her father’s business in German-occupied Amsterdam. The Franks were discovered in 1944 and sent to concentration camps; only Anne’s father survived. Anne Frank’s diary of her family’s time in hiding, first published in 1947, has been translated into almost 70 languages and is one of the most widely read accounts of the Holocaust.

THE BEGINNING
  • Frank was born Annelies Marie Frank on 12 June 1929  in Frankfurt, Germany, to Edith and Otto Heinrich Frank. She had an older sister, Margot.
  •  The Franks were liberal Jews, and did not observe all of the customs and traditions of Judaism.They lived in an assimilated community of Jewish and non-Jewish citizens of various religions.
  • 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.
  • By February 1934, Edith and the children had joined him in Amsterdam. The Franks were among 300,000 Jews who fled Germany between 1933 and 1939.
THE DIARY
  • For her thirteenth 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 she began writing in it almost immediately.
  • In her entry dated 20 June 1942, she lists many of the restrictions placed upon the lives of the Dutch Jewish population.
SECRET ANNEX
  • In early July 1942, after Margot Frank received a letter ordering her to report to a work camp in Germany, Anne Frank’s family went into hiding in an attic apartment behind Otto Frank’s business, located at Prinsengracht 263 in Amsterdam. In an effort to avoid detection, the family left a false trail suggesting they’d fled to Switzerland.
  • This hiding place became known as the Achterhuis (translated into “Secret Annex” in English editions of the diary).
  • They catered to all of their needs, ensured their safety, and supplied them with food, a task that grew more difficult with the passage of time.
ARREST
  • On the morning of 4 August 1944, the Achterhuis was stormed by a group of German uniformed police.
  • From there, in September 1944, the group was transported by freight train to the Auschwitz-Birkenau extermination and concentration camp complex in German-occupied Poland.
  • Anne and Margot Frank were spared immediate death in the Auschwitz gas chambers and instead were sent to Bergen-Belsen, a concentration camp in northern Germany.
CONCENTRATION CAMPS
  • 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
  • Blitz described Anne as bald, emaciated, and shivering. In early 1945, a typhus epidemic spread through the camp, killing 17,000 prisoners. Other diseases, including typhoid fever, were rampant. Due to these chaotic conditions, it is not possible to determine the specific cause of Anne’s death.

DEATH
    • Anne Frank’s father, Otto, was the only member of the group to survive; he was liberated from Auschwitz by Soviet troops on January 27, 1945.
  • In March 1945, the Frank sisters died of typhus and some time later Anne Frank also died. at Bergen-Belsen; their bodies were thrown into a mass grave. Several weeks later, on April 15, 1945, British forces liberated the camp.
LATER
  • After the war, it was estimated that only 5,000 of the 107,000 Jews deported from the Netherlands between 1942 and 1944 survived.
  • 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 remained hopeful that his daughters had survived. After several weeks, he discovered Margot and Anne had also died.
THE DIARY OF A YOUNG GIRL
  • When Otto Frank returned to Amsterdam following his release from Auschwitz, Miep Gies gave him five notebooks and some 300 loose papers containing Anne’s writings.
  • Gies had recovered the materials from the Secret Annex shortly after the Franks’ arrest by the Nazis and had hidden them in her desk. (Margot Frank also kept a diary, but it was never found.)
  •  Otto Frank knew that Anne wanted to become an author or journalist.After his daughter’s writings were returned to him, Otto Frank helped compile them into a manuscript that was published in the Netherlands in 1947 under the title “Het Acheterhuis” (“Rear Annex”).
  • It was eventually published in America in 1952 as “The Diary of a Young Girl.” The book, which went on to sell tens of millions of copies worldwide.