Anne Frank Post
Annelies Marie Frank
Born: June 12 1929 in Frankfurt am Main, Weimar Germany
Died: Early March (age fifteen) Bergen-Belsen Concentration Camp, Lower Saxony, Nazi Germany
Her journals opened up a world of secrets…
Anne has become one of the most well known Jewish victims of the Holocaust because of the journals she left behind. They told us of a tragic tale of a young girl, who was hidden away from the world. With dreams of becoming a writer heavy in her heart. She was passionate towards her family, but at times was a little moody. She loved to write, everything went into her journals. Later on when she had to revise and write them over, she realized she could be a bit harsh. She tried to be nicer to Margot, her sister and her Mother, Edith.
Joyful sorrow in a small world
Anne was very close to her father, and she even read him some of her journal entries, even though she said that she would never let a soul read them. Technically, she was keeping her promise because she never let him read the journals himself. Occasionally when she did read passages aloud to him, they were quite humorous, and they would get some joy out of them, even though there life was filled with so much sorrow.
Fleeing before the German invasion
As Germany slowly took over, and Adolf Hitler began to rise, 300,000 Jews fled from Germany. This included the Frank family. They fled to Anne’s grandmother’s house, and lived there for a couple of months until Otto (Anne’s dad) found a job and an apartment in Amsterdam. They lived on Merwedeplien Street from 1934-1942. They had settled down and both Anne and Margot had been enrolled in school. Anne was particularly good in Language Arts and Social Studies, while Margot showed skill in Math and Science. As you can see these girls are complete opposites. Margot was studious and did NOT speak out, and tended to favor her mother. Anne was an energetic, and bounced off the walls, preferred her father. The girls had made many friends and everything was going well. Otto worked at the company Opekta Works, where they would sell the fruit extract called pectin.
Everything was going wonderfully for the Franks, and soon Otto (Anne’s Dad) started a company called Peckacon. This company specialized in herbs, picking salts, and mixed spices, all used in the production of sausages. As the company grew, they needed more employers. Hermann Van Pels was hired, and worked as an advisor of spices. He was a German butcher who fled Osnabrück Germany, just as the Franks did. In 1939 Anne’s Grandmother came to stay with them. She spent the rest of her life with them until she died in 1942
Rules of the Netherlands…
In 1940 when Germany invaded the Netherlands, a law was created that say Jews were only allowed to go to Jewish school. That being said, Anne and her sister were moved to a Jewish school even though they were quite popular and had many friends. They were enrolled in the Jewish Lyceum.
In April 1941 Anne’s dad took action to make sure his company wasn’t closed down for being Jewish owned. He handed all the rights over to Johannes Kleiman, and then resigned as the director. Luckily his new job was housed in his own office, and made enough money to support his family.
For Anne’s 13th birthday, she received an Autograph book that she had pointed out to her father a couple weeks before. It was red and green plaid cloth, with a small lock on the front. Although Anne knew it was an autograph book, she thought of it as a diary. She started writing in it almost immediately. In her early entries, she talked about the death of her grandmother, and how upset she was. She also talked about some of the restrictions of Jews as the Germans invaded the Netherlands. Some of the entries in her diary talked about her love of film, although she could not watch movies, all Jews were forbidden in movie theaters since January in 1942 onwards.
Reasons for the Annexe
There were many reasons the Franks went into hiding, but they also had their main reason. One July day, Anne went outside to get the mail. She came back in holding a letter with a swastika printed on the front. Inside there was a call-up notice from Zentralstelle für Jüdische Auswanderung (central office for Jewish immigration) ordering Margot to relocate to a Jewish work camp. That’s why Otto declared that they go into hiding. They planned to stay in the rooms above and behind the company’s premise. They were to stay on a street called Prinsengracht, on one of Amsterdam’s many canals. Here Otto’s most trusted employees would help them. After the plan had been set, another letter came forcing Margot to come sooner, making them leave several weeks before they had planned.
Good-bye freedom, hello confinement
On the morning of July 6, 1942 the family left for their hiding place. The apartment was left in a state of disarray to create an illusion that they had left suddenly. Anne’s dad left a note hinting that they had gone off to Switzerland. To keep a state of secrecy they were forced to leave Anne’s cat Moorje behind. Because Jews were not allowed to use public transport, they had to walk to their new home. Also because they did not dare to carry luggage, they had several layers of clothing on. The “Secret Annexe” was a three story space that you could enter from a landing in the Opeketa office. There were two small bedrooms when you walk in, that were joined with a bathroom. Then there was the biggest room that was kind of like a family room. After that there was a small bed room. This was Anne and her sister’s bedroom. Before they came the room was dull and gray, so Anne decided to spruce it up. She glued pictures over the wall, and colored in what she could. Then after her and Margot’s room was the room with a ladder that led to the attic.
I can partially understand how Anne felt, because when we moved in into our old duplex, my room was an old basement room that was used for storage. The walls were all white, except for the occasional red streak from something rubbing up against it. So I hung whatever I could on the walls, like pictures, jackets, paintings, anything. I have to say it looked pretty good. Then when we were moving out, I had to take everything down; when I was done it looked like it had before we moved in…a storage room. So I can see why she needed to put things on her wall.
NOW were gettin’ some secrecy! You go Anne!
After a while it was decided to put an old bookcase in the way of the door into their “Secret Annexe”. The only occupants in the building that knew of the people in hiding were Victor Kugler, Johannes Kleiman, Miep Gies, and Bep Voskuije. With Miep’s husband Jan Gies, and Bep’s father, Hendrik Voskuije as there helpers. These people supplied them with food and water, updated them on the war, and ensured their safety. Later on Anne noted there dedication in her journal. Even in the height of the dangers they kept sheltering them. Everyone was aware that they could face the death penalty if someone were to find out they were sheltering Jews.
More people to add to the Annexe, and the troubles… *sigh*
On the 13th of July 1942 the Franks were joined by the Pels Family, Hermann (the father), Auguste (the mother), and 16 year old Peter (the son). Later on in November they were joined by Friz Pfeffer, a dentist and friend of the family. Anne found it wonderful to have people to talk to but tension quickly grew. After sharing a room with Pfeffer, Anne thought of him as a snoop and resented him. She clashed with Auguste, and regarded her as foolish. She thought of Friz and Hermann as selfish, particularly in the amount of food that they consumed. She then moved her attention to the shy, awkward Peter van Pels, and discovered a kinship with him. They shared a romance together and she received her first kiss from him. Then her feelings for him slowly started to diminish. For she was confused to whether her feelings towards him were true, of simply because of the confined living spaces.
A girl FULL of secrets…
Anne had made a close bond with the helpers of the ‘Secret Annex’ and her closest relationship was with Bep…the young typist. Her father later recalled that Anne would await the helpers coming with an impatient excitement.
When Anne wrote down her feelings towards her family members, she held nothing back. She considered their strong personalities, and how different they were from each other. She thought that she was closer emotionally to her dad. He later recalled “I got along better with Anne than Margot. Particularly because Margot didn’t suffer from mood swings as much as Anne.” As Anne started to mature she recalled “Margot much nicer… she isn’t nearly so catty anymore. She’s becoming a real friend and no longer thinks of me as a little baby that doesn’t count”
Anne’s complex life, to be… or not to be…
Anne and Margot continued their studies in hiding. Margot took a course in Beps name and Anne read and studied. Anne still couldn’t shake off her dreams of becoming a writer, and wrote frequently in her diary. Later she began to write about more abstract things such as her beliefs in God and her definition of human nature. She questioned whether or not she was cut out to be a writer often, such as this entry,
|“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 continued to write in her journal until her final entry on August 1, 1944
The mystery of the rat… who was it?
On the morning of August 4th 1944, the Annex was stormed by a group of people, the leader being Schutzstaffel Oberscharführer of the Sicherheitsdienst. At least three of the members were part of the German Security Police. They came by a tip off from someone who was never identified. The Franks, Pels, and Pfeffer were taken to the Gestapo headquarters. There, they were interrogated and kept overnight. They stayed there for the next five days until they were transferred to the house of special detention. This was an overcrowded prison, where the Franks and their friends stayed for two days.
After this they were transferred to Waterbrook, a transit camp, where upon this time more than 100,000 Jews had passed through. When the people of the Annex arrived they were immediately brought to the punishment barracks to do hard labor, for being arrested in hiding. Victor Kugler and Johannes Kleiman were taken to a work camp, but Kleiman was released after seven weeks. Kugler was kept in various work camps until the war’s end.
Hoorah for Miep and Bep, what would we DO without you?!
Miep Gies and Bep Voskuije were threatened by the police, but after a day were let go. As soon as they could they went back to the Annex and found Anne’s papers strewn across the floor. Miep collected them as well as several family photo albums, and was determined to return them to Anne at the war’s end.
On the 3 of September 1944 the whole group was transported for the last time to the Auschwiz concentration camp. They traveled by train for three days, and when it was time to unload, it was chaos. The men were violently separated from the women and children. Otto tried his best to stay with his wife and kids but was brutally kicked and shoved away from them. All the kids 14 and under were pried from their mothers, and taken off to the gas chambers. Anne had turned fifteen almost three months before and could stay with her mother. Anne reasoned that her father, after being taken away, was killed on the spot. Of the 1,019 that got on at the beginning of the train ride only 549 made it to the camp.
Anne was taken to the camp and forced to strip naked along with all the other females that had not been taken away, to be disinfected. There, she also had her head shaved, and a tattooed number across her arm. By day, Anne was required to do what would be known as slave labor. She had to haul huge rocks, and dig beds of sod. Some of the people who knew Anne said that she would cry when she saw children being taken away to the gas chambers, others said that she displayed a strong, courageous and brave attitude got her extra rations for her mother her sister and herself.
Scabies, and Rations
The weather was hot, and disease flew through the camp. Anne’s skin soon became badly infected with ‘Scabies’. Both sisters were taken to the infirmary, which was dark, damp, and infested with rats and mice. Their mother who luckily didn’t catch the disease had made small hole in the infirmary wall had save every morsel of food that she got for her daughters
On October 28 both the Frank girls and Auguste Van Pels were moved to Bergen-Belsen, along with 8,000 other women. Sadly Edith Frank was left behind. Weak from starvation, caused by giving all her food to her daughters, she died a couple of weeks after they left.
Tents were made to house the overcrowded prisoners. There were so many people there that once again diseases spread like wild fire. With the high diseases level, a high death level followed. Anne was briefly united with two of her best friends; Hanneli Goslar and Nanette Blitz, who, after the war, had a discussion about their brief meetings through a fence with her. Nanette described her as shivering, bald, and emaciated. Hanneli commented that she had Auguste Van Pels with her. Auguste Van Pels was caring for Margot, and she was too weak to leave her bunk. Anne told them that she thought both her parents were dead and she had nothing more to live for. There was only one thing that Anne cared about left, her sister Margot, who was barely clinging to life. Anne wasn’t too sure that her sister, let alone herself could hang on much longer.
The final straw
On the March of 1945, a typhus epidemic spread throughout the camp, and killed more than 17,000 prisoners. As Anne predicted her sister was barely clinging to the edge of life. Then one day something horrible happened. Anne got back from a horrible day of slave torture, and found her sister gone. Witnesses later testified that Margot fell from her bunk and died from the shock. Anne was now done with her life, and really wanted nothing to do with her life. She basically stopped eating, drinking… everything. She didn’t want to live; she had no need to live. After her sister’s death, she stopped fighting the war in her mind, she held up the white flag, and gave in.
The death of an Angel
Anne died a couple days after her sister, and a couple weeks before the liberation the camp. The camp was liberated by American troops. They were afraid of the typhus spreading, so they took all the dead bodies, and buried them together (the where-abouts are unknown). After they buried them they figured the smartest thing to do was burn the whole camp to the ground. Yup. The whole camp, they didn’t even care that thousands of people had died here. That thousands of people lost their friends, there family. They just burned it all to the ground, as if it were nothing.
Contemplation, on my part
Nothing… it seems like it was nothing, but if you’re thinking in the perspective of some of the people who stayed there, they might want it there, as an example of what power can do to the world. In the right quantity, power can do wonderful things; it can make you the happiest thing in the world. Too much power though, can be horrible. Power can cause destruction, it can kill. The most powerful thing in the world could be something so small you can’t even see it, such as a virus that kills millions. Or power can be in the majestic elephant, knocking down one of the tallest trees. Power comes in many shapes and sizes, but with the smallest push, power can tumble head over heels out of control.
Oh… MORE SADDNESS?!
I have not finished this heart breaking story though, and it still does not have the happy ending I had been hoping for. In the end, Anne’s father survived, and thinking at least one of his family member survived, he was sadly mistaken. He finally received the news from one of the people who had been staying in Anne division of the camp. After the story had been told, Otto burst into tears, and he sat down and wept. He had lost both his daughter and his wife had vanished. He was lost, he had no one. He had no place to live, no one to come back to. His daughter, gone, the only reason she died was because she thought her whole family was dead. If only she knew that he was still here, waiting for her, for the war to come to an end. Now she was gone, buried who knows where, with who knows what. She was gone forever, and the only thing that he had left to go back to was his work.
Anne, as ferocious as a lioness, or as delicate as a butterfly
Surprisingly, my friends, this story does get a little better. Anne did get to be the famous author that she wanted to be, but not how you’d think. Miep did end up getting the diary’s and albums back to the family, but not to Anne, the original owner. She gave it to the only surviving member of the family, Otto. Otto was struck by how mature Anne really was. She poured all her thoughts out into her journals. She held nothing back. She could be as ferocious as a lioness, or as delicate as a butterfly. She took great care in making her entry’s neat and organized. Her journals were amazing. That…is why Anne is still famous today, why she has over 50 different languages for her books. Anne was a good writer, even if she criticized herself. I have not read ‘The Diary of Anne Frank’ but I will as soon as I find a copy.
… Also, ANNE’S AWESOME!!
So, what you have hopefully learned…
Anne is a spectacular writer, and died only because power took her life away. Anne also died of a broken heart. Power comes in many different forms, the bad kind and the good kind. Power comes in many different sizes, such as a virus or an elephant. Anne had many journals, all of which she edited again and again. She suffered and lost many things. She was separated from her family; she lost the only parent she had left. Then she lost her sister, which she never got to say good-bye too. Basically, Anne was on top of her life, and then world war two rolled around and ruined everything. In the end, Anne got to be a famous writer, but the only books she wrote weren’t supposed to be the big hit they were today. In other worlds Anne was awesome and there’s nothing you can say to prove me wrong!
P.S. Did you guys here that Anne’s favorite tree fell a couple of days after we went to see her ‘Annex’, I feel bad. Like both part of Anne and history have been crushed under powers wrath over 50 years later. See? Don’t any of you be getting any ideas to take over the world like Napoleon or something, or I’ll come right over to you country and smack you right back into shape.