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Anne Frank

Anne Frank

Anne Frank (1929-1945) achieved world fame after her death from typhus in March 1945 in the Nazi concentration camp Bergen-Belsen through the publication of her diary in which she described the lives of eight Jews in hiding in the city of Amsterdam between June 1942 and August 1944.

Anne Frank was born on June 12, 1929, in Frankfurt, Germany. Her father, Otto, was the son of wealthy parents. He attended the classical gymnasium and served as a lieutenant of the German army in World War I. Following the loss of his parent's fortune during the 1920s' inflation in Germany, he was able to establish himself as a businessman in Frankfurt specializing in banking and in the promotion of name brands. Anne's mother also came from a well-to-do family. Anne had a close and warm relationship with her father and a more distant one with her mother. Anne's sister Margot, a pretty and feminine girl, was born in 1926 and also died in Bergen-Belsen.

Following the Nazi takeover of Germany in January 1933, the Frank's emigrated to Amsterdam, Holland, where Otto Frank became the managing director of a food company with a warehouse and office on the Prinsengracht, one of the city's canal/streets. Anne attended the Montessori school in Amsterdam. When the Nazis occupied Holland in May 1940 they began to institute anti-Jewish regulations which forced Anne to leave her school and to attend a Jewish secondary school. Jews were forced to wear the yellow Jewish star of David, and deportation of Jews from Holland to the Auschwitz extermination camp commenced. Margot received an order to report for deportation in early July 1942. Otto Frank, who had prepared for this eventuality by setting up a hiding place for his family, decided that the time had come. He moved his family into the hidden rear portion of the warehouse where he had prepared two apartments. He was joined there by Mr. van Daan, a co-worker, with his wife and 16-year-old son Peter. Eventually an eighth person joined them, an elderly Jewish dentist named Dussel.

The friends of the hidden Jews who worked in the office of the firm, Mr. Koophuis, Victor Kraler, Miep (de Jong) van Santen, Henk van Santen, and Elli Vossen, supplied them with food, black market ration cards, and other necessities. They were quiet during the day when the normal business of the firm was conducted downstairs. Life for the hidden began in the late day and evening hours.

Following a denunciation, probably by another member of the firm or by a night-time burglar, the police discovered the hidden persons and arrested them and their helpers. The helpers were held by the Gestapo for a period and some were sentenced to forced labor. The Franks, van Daans, and Dussel were transported to the Dutch transit camp Wersterbork and from there to the extermination camp Auschwitz. It was the last major transport of Jews from Holland. When the Russians threatened to conquer the camp, Margot and Anne Frank were sent to Bergen Belsen where they perished. Of the eight Jews who were in hiding, only Otto Frank survived. (He died in 1980.)

Although Anne wrote a few short stories and started on a novel during her period in hiding, her most important literary achievement was a diary of the events taking place in Prinsengracht. When the German police raided the hiding place they scattered the pages of the diary on the floor. They were collected by Elli Vossen and Miep van Santen and handed to Otto Frank upon his return to Amsterdam.

The diary was forcefully written and tells the story of the living together of the eight persons in the Achterhuis, or the hidden back part of the house, in Prinsengracht. This was often done in a humorous way, displaying considerable talent of observation, originality, and description. Anne was well able to convey to the reader the fears about discovery and the hopes about an end to the war. She described the quarrels between the older van Daans and of the van Daans and the dentist, which often ended in the latter's refusal to further communicate with the van Daans for a week.

Anne's diary, originally published as Het Achterhuis, will be valuable to many readers for various reasons. Not the least of these is the story of a young girl growing up under the confining conditions on the Prinsengracht. She described the generation gap between the adults and their silly quarrels and how they tended to combine their forces in castigating her for all sorts of shortcomings. She told about her somewhat distant relationship with her mother and the close one with her father.

Her special attention was given to a budding puppy love with Peter van Daan. The harmless affair ended soon because it was difficult to maintain in the confined space of the hiding place and because she had a talk with her father who suggested ending the affair. But mainly it was because she was intellectually and emotionally the superior of Peter, a nice but rather colorless boy.

A good part of the chronologically-arranged diary entries, all addressed to a Kitty, are concerned with food, its preparation, hygiene, birthday parties and presents, and educating children in such adverse conditions. The cheerfulness of Anne's writing in such dangerous circumstances, as well as her sensitivity and talent to describe difficult circumstances and the tragedy of her short life, made her diary an instant success. The book was translated into over 30 languages, and a pocket book edition in Germany alone sold 900,000 copies, while several million copies of a United States publication of the diary were sold.

Today the house in Prinsengracht is an international youth center known as the Anne Frank House. There are Anne Frank centers devoted to her memory in several places, including Philadelphia and New York City.

Further Reading

Essential reading is the Doubleday edition of Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl (1967) with its useful "Reader's Supplement." Also important is Ernst Schnabel, Anne Frank (1958), which presents important information relating to the Franks obtained by interviewing the survivors of the tragedy. Of interest also is the Broadway play The Diary of Anne Frank by Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett. Hollywood made a motion picture of the diary of Anne Frank in 1959 which was adapted for television eight years later. The Dutch War Documentation Institute in Amsterdam published in 1986 a definitive, 714-page volume of the diaries complete with scientific endorsement of their authenticity. □

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Frank, Anne (1929–1945)

Frank, Anne (19291945)


Anneliese Marie (Anne) Frank was born on June 12, 1929, in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. She fled from her country of birth to the Netherlands in 1934, following her father, mother, and sister. Their hope to be freed from the German persecution of Jews disappeared when Germany invaded the Netherlands in 1940. From then on, anti-Jewish measures isolated the Frank family more and more. Anne was forced to go to a school established for Jewish children, the Joods Lyceum. Finally, in July 1942, the family went into hiding in the achterhuis (annex) of her father's office and warehouse. A month before that, Anne had started writing a diary, which now became an account of two years of living in isolation with the constant fear of discovery and betrayal. The diary also became an analysis of the tensions among eight people living closely together in hiding. Finally it is the personal story of a girl growing up during her thirteenth through fifteenth years.

In March 1944 Anne heard a radio announcement by the Dutch government in exile that after the war diaries would be collected to document the German occupation. From then on she rewrote her diary in a more polished form. This came to an end in August 1944, when Anne and the others were betrayed, arrested, and deported. Anne died in Bergen-Belsen in February or early March 1945. Her father Otto Frank survived. After his return one of the people who had provided food during the family's period of hiding, had saved Anne's diary and gave it back to her father. He made a typescript of the diary, which was published in 1947 under the title Het achterhuis. German, French, and English translations followed. A play based on the diary, written in 1955 by Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett, became a success on Broadway, and in 1958 was made into a movie by Hollywood director George Stevens. Anne Frank posthumously became famous worldwide. Otto Frank was convinced that his daughter's diary would be a warning against racism for young readers, and to this end he corresponded with readers all over the world. Meanwhile, however, the image of Anne Frank developed from a young victim of the Holocaust into that of some sort of humanist saint. In Amsterdam, the annex became a museum. In 1986 a thorough scholarly edition of the Dutch text was published (followed by an English translation in 1989), in which questions about the authenticity of the diary from neo-Nazis were countered by an extensive technical examination of the manuscript. All three versions of the diary are included in this edition: Anne's first version, her own rewritten version, and the 1947 edition as edited by Otto Frank.

Anne Frank's diary has now been translated into dozens of languages and has sold millions of copies, yet the first biography of the author was published only a few years ago. The diary has traditionally been given to young people to read from a pedagogical motivation; nevertheless, there are several other ways to read the text. Today more attention is given to Anne Frank's Jewish background, which previously was kept in the background, especially in the play and movie. However, it is clear from the diary that for Anne herself her Jewishness was not a very essential part of her identity. Another aspect now more clearly realized is that Anne Frank was only one of many young victims, and the context of the Holocaust therefore now receives more attention. Recently a history of her school, the Joods Lyceum, was published, partly based on interviews with surviving schoolchildren. Anne Frank is now also seriously studied as a woman writer. Writing a diary was in itself an activity typical of girls, and a diary written by another pupil of the Joods Lyceum, Ellen Schwarzschild, was published in 1999. Anne's diary must also be seen in a long tradition of autobiographical writing. During World War II in Holland, as in other periods of crisis, many people started writing diaries, and hundreds have survived, of which several are published. Anne saw her diary, at least the second version, as a literary achievement. The diary itself reveals which novels were an influence on her writing, especially those by the popular Dutch novelist Cissy van Marxveldt. Anne's ability as a writer, her creativity and orginality, are receiving more recognition than before. Finally, having arrived in Holland only in 1934, Anne's mastery of the Dutch language is remarkable. Scholarly research has intensified in recent years, and it has taken different roads, but reading Anne Frank's diary itself is still a starting point.

See also: Autobiographies.

bibliography

Dacosta, Denise. 1998. Anne Frank and Etty Hillesum: Inscribing Spirituality and Sexuality. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press.

Enzer, Hyman Aaron, and Sandra Solotaroff-Enzer, eds. 2000. Anne Frank: Reflections on Her Life and Legacy. Urbana: University of Illinois Press.

Frank, Anne. 1989. The Diary of Anne Frank: The Critical Edition, ed. David Barnouw and Gerrold van der Stroom. Trans. Arnold J. Pomerans and B. M. Mooyaart. Prepared by the Netherlands State Institute for War Documentation. New York: Doubleday.

Graver, Lawrence. 1995. An Obsession with Anne Frank: Meyer Levin and the Diary. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press.

Hondius, Dienke. 2001. Absent. Herinneringen aan het Joods Lyceum Amsterdam 19411943. Amsterdam: Vassallucci.

Lee, Carol Ann. 1999. Roses from the Earth: The Biography of Anne Frank. London: Viking.

Melnick, Ralph. 1997. The Stolen Legacy of Anne Frank: Lillian Hellman and the Staging of the Diary. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.

Rittner, Carol. 1998. Anne Frank and the World: Essays and Reflections. Armonk, NY: Sharpe.

Schwarzschild, Ellen. 1999. Tagebuch. Niet lesen als 't U belieft. Nicht lesen Bitte. Onuitwisbare herinneringen 19331943. Amstelveen, the Netherlands: privately published.

internet resources

Anne Frank Center USA. Available from <www.annefrank.com/>.

Anne Frank House. Available from <www.annefrank.nl>.

Anne Frank Trust UK. Available from <www.afet.org.uk/>.

"One Voice: From the Pen of Anne Frank." Available from <www.exploris.org/learn/exhibits/frank/>.

Rudolf M. Dekker

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Frank, Anne

Anne Frank, 1929–45, German diarist, b. Frankfurt as Anneliese Marie Frank. In order to escape Nazi persecution, her family emigrated (1933) to Amsterdam, where her father Otto became a business owner. After the Nazis occupied the Netherlands, her family (along with several other Jews) hid for just over two years (1942–44) in a "secret annex" that was part of her father's office and warehouse building. During those years, Anne kept a diary characterized by poignancy, insight, humor, touching naiveté, and sometimes tart observation. The family was betrayed to the Germans in 1944, and at 15 Anne died of typhus in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp.

Anne's diary was discovered by one of the family's helpers and after the war was given to her father, the only immediate family member to survive the Holocaust. Edited by him, The Diary of a Young Girl (1947) became an international best seller and has been translated into English (1952) and 66 other languages. It was also adapted into a play (1955) and a film (1959). A critical edition was published in 1986, and a complete edition, containing almost a third more material, appeared in 1995 on the 50th anniversary of her death. Anne Frank also wrote stories, fables, and essays, which were published in 1959. The Franks' Amsterdam hiding place is now a museum, there is a foundation established by her father, and institutions devoted to her exist in New York, Berlin, London, and other cities.

See biographies by M. Müller (tr. 1998) and C. A. Lee (1999); M. Gies, Anne Frank Remembered (1988); R. Van Der Rol and R. Verhoeven, Anne Frank, Beyond the Diary: A Photographic Remembrance (1995); C. A. Lee, The Hidden Life of Otto Frank (2003); F. Prose, Anne Frank: The Book, the Life, the Afterlife (2009); M. Metselaar and R. van der Rol, Anne Frank: Her Life in Words and Pictures (2010); W. Lindwer, The Last Seven Months of Anne Frank (documentary film, 1988, and book, 1992); J. Blair, dir., Anne Frank Remembered (documentary film, 1995).

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Frank, Anne

Frank, Anne (1929–45) German Jew who became a symbol of suffering under the Nazis. Born in Frankfurt-am-Main, she fled with her family to the Netherlands in 1933. The Franks were living in Amsterdam at the time of the German invasion in 1940, and went into hiding from 1942 until they were betrayed in August 1944. Anne died in Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. The diary she kept during her years in hiding was published in 1947, and attracted worldwide readership.

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