The life of Anne Frank
Learn all about Anne Frank and her world-famous diary…
Discover the life of Anne Frank, the young Jewish girl who was forced into hiding during World War II, in our Anne Frank facts…
All people should be treated equally, right? Well, sadly, throughout history, there have been many people who have been treated differently because of where they come from, what religion they follow, or whether they’re a boy or a girl. And sometimes, this still happens today!
Thankfully, the incredible stories that people leave behind can be used to educate and inspire people to be kinder to one another, no matter their background. One such story, is that of Anne Frank…
Anne Frank facts
Anne Frank in 1942, Photo Collection Anne Frank House
Full name: Annelies Marie Frank
Born: 12 June 1929
Hometown: Frankfurt, Germany
Occupation: Jewish diarist
Died: February 1945
Best known for: Her diary entries during World War II
Also known as: Anne Frank
Who was Anne Frank?
Anne Frank was born in Germany in 1929 during a time when the country was troubled. Many people had lost their jobs and were becoming poorer and Adolf Hitler – the leader of the Nazi* party – was blaming Jews* for Germany’s problems.
Afraid for their safety, Anne’s parents moved the family to Holland when Anne was just four years old. Anne lived and went to school in Amsterdam, and had to learn Dutch. She made lots of friends, and spent her free time reading and playing table tennis.
But when World War II broke out, life for Anne and her family became much harder. The Nazis imposed strict rules on Jews, restricting the places they could visit, the shops they could use and even the schools they went to. Anne’s father lost his company, as Jewish people were no longer allowed to run their own businesses.
Anne Frank’s house
In 1942, the Nazis wanted to take Anne’s elder sister, Margot, to Germany, but her family refused to be separated and went into hiding. Anne’s father had spent several months preparing a hiding place, in the backhouse of his company at Prinsengracht 263. Anne later named it the ‘Secret Annex’.
The Secret Annex was above the warehouse. The entrance to the Annex was later hidden behind a bookcase. Anne’s father, Otto Frank, enlisted help from four of his employees who worked at the office and who became known as ‘the helpers‘ — Miep Gies, Bep Voskuijl, Johannes Kleiman and Victor Krugler. The helpers brought the family food, clothing and other supplies while they were in hiding. The people working in the warehouse didn’t know about the people in hiding, except for Johannes Voskuijl, Bep’s father, who made the book case.
The Franks were the first family to move into the Secret Annex. Soon after, another family moved in — Hermann and Auguste van Pels, and their son Peter. Later followed by Fritz Pfeffer.
The diary of Anne Frank
Anne Frank’s first, red chequered diary. Photo Collection Anne Frank House.
On her 13th birthday, Anne was given a diary. She loved writing and dreamed of becoming a famous writer one day. She named her diary, Kitty.
Anne would write about everyday events in her diary; things that probably didn’t seem that important at the time, but that have helped us form a picture of what life was like during this incredibly difficult time in history.
She wrote about what she ate, the film stars that she admired, the books she read, and the arguments she would have with her mother. She also wrote about being in hiding, the fears and difficulties, and how she longed to go outside.
“Footsteps in the house, the private office, the kitchen, then… on the staircase. All sounds of breathing stopped, eight hearts pounded… Then we heard a can fall, and the footsteps receded. We were out of danger, so far!”
– An extract from Anne’s diary
When in hiding, the Franks, the van Pels and Fritz Pfeffer had to be incredibly careful to ensure they weren’t discovered. For example, they weren’t allowed to flush the toilet during the day in case the warehouse workers heard them, and Anne was only rarely allowed to open a window. She could never go outside, either.
How did Anne Frank die?
On 4th August 1944, the Nazis raided the Prinsengracht 263 and found the hiding place. They took the 8 people in hiding to Westerbork – a camp that held Jewish people and others captive – in Holland. A month later, they were sent to Auschwitz, a larger concentration camp* in Poland. Men and women were separated. Eventually, Anne and her sister Margot were separated from their mother and sent to another concentration camp Bergen-Belsen, on a crowded train.
Conditions at the camp were extremely poor. It was cold and wet, there was little food to eat and disease was common. Anne and Margot both died at the camp in February 1945 — just a few months before the end of World War II. It is believed that they died of a disease called typhus.
Anne and Margot’s mother, Edith, also died at Auschwitz. Their father Otto was the only survivor of the eight people in hiding in the Secret Annex.
Anne Frank’s story
Anne’s diary was saved by one of the helpers, Miep. When Anne’s father Otto – the only surviving member of the Frank family – returned to Amsterdam at the end of the war, he received his daughter’s diary from Miep, at the day he heard that Anne and Margot died in Bergen-Belsen. He started to read Anne’s diary and published it, making Anne’s dream of becoming a writer a reality. The diary was published in 1947, titled: The Secret Annex.
Since its publication, Anne Frank’s diary has sold millions of copies around the world and has been translated into more than 70 languages. It remains an important account of the treatment that Jewish people suffered at the hands of the Nazis. Otto hoped that his daughter’s diary would educate readers on the dangers of hatred against others, prejudice and discrimination.
In 1960, with the help of Otto, the former hiding place opened its doors as a museum, named the Anne Frank House. Each year, it is visited by more than 1.2 million people from around the world, wanting to learn more about Anne Frank’s life story.
*The Jews are people born into a Jewish family or practice the religion of Judaism.
*The Nazis were a group of people who followed the ideas of a German leader named Adolf Hitler.
*Concentration camps were places where Nazis held Jews and others. Many people lost their lives in camps due to the harsh treatment they faced, like being forced to work, and the lack of food, space and healthcare. Auschwitz, the largest concentration camp complex was based in Poland.
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Image credits: ©Anne Frank House