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Anne Frank : The Diary of A Young Girl - A look inside
Anne Frank :The Diary of A Young Girl -A Look Inside
- Genre - Non-fiction, classic, Historical, Autobiography
Background - From June 1942 to August 1944, a Jewish girl Anne Frank kept a diary of her experiences in Amsterdam where the Frank family went into hiding.
The Diary begins on the 13th birthday of Anne (12th June, 1942) as she gets this as a birthday gift from her father, Otto Frank. She gets very excited as she wants someone or something in which to confide all her secret thoughts. Anne says she is keeping a diary because she doesn't have any true friends and feels alone despite having a lovely family. She feels misunderstood by everyone she knows. Anne gives her diary a name 'Kitty' and writes to her as if she is talking to her close friend. She writes in her diary about the 'Secret Annex' and herself. The diary ends suddenly on 1st August, 1944.
She writes, "I hope I will be able to confide everything to you, as I have never been able to confide in anyone, and I hope you will be a great source of comfort and support."
Anne Frank was born on 12th June, 1929 in Frankfurt, Germany. She has a sister, Margot and her parents are Otto Frank and Edith Frank.
In July, 1942 Anne's sister Margot receives a call up to report for a German work camp. It would almost surely mean she will either be imprisoned or taken to a concentration camp. Rather than sending Margot away with the German defence corps, the entire family decides to go into hiding.
During hiding they move into a little section of Anne's father's office building that is walled off and hidden behind a swinging bookcase. Anne calls the hidden rooms the 'Secret Annex'.
For two years, the Frank family lives in this secret annex. Mr and Mrs Van Daan and their son Peter is also in hiding with them. Peter was few years older than Anne. Later, Mr Dussel (an elderly dentist) also moves in and Anne has to share her room with him. There were four workers in Otto Frank's (Anne's father) office and all were aware about Franks moving in. Miep and Jan Gies are non Jewish friends of the Frank family and they help hide the Franks.
Anne's diary describes in great detail the tension between the eight individuals who had to stay indoors all the time and remain quite so as not to arouse the suspicion of the staffs working in the warehouse downstairs.
In the following months the residents of the secret annex try to live as normally as possible but they constantly fear their hiding place will be discovered.
The Franks have tons of reading materials and a radio. Anne begins to enjoy her studies and writing. At the same time she grows further and further away from the other members of the annex.
Anne's adolescence is spent hidden from the outside world. She is cooped up in tiny rooms, tiptoeing around the day and becoming shell shocked from the sounds of bombs and gunfires at the night.
In June, 1943 Anne's father writes her an encouraging poem on her birthday and other members also gift her small presents. Mr Voskuijl, a friend of Mr Frank is diagnosed with cancer and can no longer bring the news of the outer world to the secret annex. In July, 1943 the warehouse below the secret annex is burgled and many of the Franks' and Van Daan's food supplies are stolen. So the meals are growing sparser and Mr Dussel refuses to share his personal food with anyone.
In October, 1943 the Van Daans' runs out of money which worsens the relationship in the annex and causes the van Daans to fight more frequently.
We see a real change in Anne when she begins hanging out in the attic with Peter van Daan. In January, 1944 Anne begins to have dream about a boy she was in love with, another Peter, Peter Schiff. She sometimes even gets the two Peters confused in her head.
At the beginning Anne is not impressed with Peter van Daan who presents as a shy, lonely, young boy. At early point of their relationship they don't have much of a connection except for the awful circumstances that have brought them together in the first place.
As their stay grows longer they both work to get know one another better and soon develops a mutual attraction. She finds him sensitive and caring, and they talk about everything, including sex. Peter and Anne's friendship gradually becomes romantic. Anne worries that her sister Margot might also be in love with Peter but Margot says she is not jealous of their relationship. The adults in the secret annex tease Peter and Anne about their frequent visits, which embarrasses Anne and Peter but they continue meeting in the attic room and dream of a future after war.
In March, 1944 she hears a broadcast which says that after the war is over diaries and journals kept during the war will be collected as valuable writings. Anne writes with renewed dedication because she dreams of becoming a journalist.
Unfortunately this didn't last. Even as Anne becomes more and more sensitive to the suffering going on in the world, her own suffering becomes unbearable.
In June, Anna celebrates her 15th birthday. She determines that Peter van Daan likes her more as a friend than as a girlfriend but they remain close to each other and enjoy each other's company. Mrs van Daan and Mr Dussel grow more and more agitated with Anne and argue with her about the flaws they perceive in her character. As time goes, she feels completely alone. She thinks everyone hates her. She feels constantly criticised and there is no escape. At one point she thinks it might have been better if she and her family have all died instead of hiding in the annex. As Anna becomes harder on those around her, she also becomes harder on herself, berating herself for being mean to other members of the annex.
There her diary ends (1st August, 1944). As we already know, on 4th August, 1944 the people in hiding are arrested along with the helpers, Johannes Kleiman and Victor Kuglar. Kleiman is released after a short period and Kuglar escapes.
- Upon their arrest, the eight residents of the annex were first brought to a prison in Amsterdam and then transferred to Westerbork, the transit camp for the Jews in the north of Holland.
- Mr Van Daan was gassed to death in Auschwitz in 1944 (October or November).It is certain that Mrs van Daan didn't survive but the date of her death is unknown. Peter was forced to take part in the January 16, 1945 'Death March' where he died on 5th May, 1945, three days before the camp was liberated. Mr Dussel died on 20th December, 1944. Edith Frank died on 6th January, 1945 from hunger and exhaustion.
- Margot and Anne were brought to Bergen Belsen at the end of the October and both the sisters died of the typhus epidemic that broke out in the winter of 1944-1945. Anne must have died in late February or late March. The camp was liberated by British troops on 12th April, 1945.
Otto Frank was the sole survivor among the eight in the Annex. He lived with Miep and Gies for the next seven years. After reading this diary he decided to publish this as a book. He was moved by the thinking and writing skills by her daughter, Anne. The book first got published on 25th June, 1947 after some editing.