The story of Anne Frank is one of the best known victims of World War II and its horrors, as it pertains to how Jewish people were treated by Hitler and his henchmen. Seventy-years ago today, the brave girl that has captured millions of readers’ imaginations with her thoughtful diary entries was arrested and taken away to a concentration camp, where she later died.
Anne Frank, along with her family and four other people, were hiding from the Nazis in an annex on Prinsengracht, in Amsterdam. An anonymous tipper alerted the Germans to their presence in the building.
The tragic story of Anne Frank and her family begins in 1933, when they were forced to leave Germany due to the increased anti-Semetic atmosphere following Hitler’s election. The Franks moved to Holland during the German occupation and in 1942 were forced into hiding in the Secret Annex at 263 Prinsengracht.
Anne Frank was arrested on August 4, 1944, while her last diary entry was recorded a few days earlier, August 1. During the two years the family was underground, Anne wrote regularly, sharing her thoughts and frustrations at the situation she found herself in up until her arrest.
In her diary, which Anne addressed to “Kitty,” she tells of what life was like a few weeks before going into hiding, in 1942, until the Franks arrest in 1944. The family shared the crammed annex with four others, Hermann, Auguste and Peter Van Pels, and Fritz Pfeffer.
With so much time on her hands, the Anne Frank diary examines the 14-year-old and her interactions with her sister and parents. Later on, she shares the trials and tribulations of living with relative strangers in very close quarters, her first kiss from Peter, and her eager anticipation of their helpers’ visits.
On August 1, 1944, three days before her arrest, Anne Frank wrote her last entry to “Kitty.” The piece, which shows a young teenager full of contradictions and self-doubts, reads in part:
“I’m afraid that people who know me as I usually am will discover I have another side, a better and finer side. I’m afraid they’ll mock me, think I’m ridiculous and sentimental and not take me seriously. I’m used to not being taken seriously, but only the “light-hearted” Anne is used to it and can put up with it; the “deeper” Anne is too weak. If I force the good Anne into the spotlight for even fifteen minutes, she shuts up like a clam the moment she’s called upon to speak, and lets Anne number one do the talking. Before I realize it, she’s disappeared.”
Three days after Anne Frank wrote those words, the SS — with the help of a tip from someone who has never been identified — came to the secret annex. All eight people were arrested and sent to concentration camps. Anne Frank died at the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in Germany from typhus in March of 1945.
Anne Frank’s father, Otto — the lone survivor of the group — returned to Amsterdam and recovered his daughter’s diary, which he published for the first time on June 25, 1947. Since then, Anne Frank’s Diary has sold more than 30 million copies and has been translated to at least 67 languages.
[Image via Bing]