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Anne Frank is a Jewish girl that had to go into hiding during World War II. She is best known for the diary that she kept, which continues to touch people today.
Anne Frank - Mini Biography (5:30)
Watch a short video about Anne Frank and how she got the idea to keep the journal that touched countless lives.
A short biography of Anne Frank, whose diary offered an intimate account of what life was like hiding from Hitler's Nazis during the Holocaust in World War II. She died at the age of 15, weeks before the war ended.
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The Dutch surrendered on May 15, 1940, marking the beginning of the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands. As Frank later wrote in her diary, "After May 1940, the good times were few and far between; first there was the war, then the capitulation and then the arrival of the Germans, which is when the trouble started for the Jews." Beginning in October,
the Nazi occupiers imposed anti-Jewish measures on the Netherlands. Jews were required to wear a yellow Star of David at all times and observe a strict curfew; they were also forbidden from owning businesses. Frank and her sister were forced to transfer to a segregated Jewish school. Otto Frank managed to keep control of his company by officially signing ownership over to two of his Christian associates, Jo Kleiman and Victor Kugler, while continuing to run the company from behind the scenes.
On June 12, 1942, Frank's parents gave her a red checkered diary for her 13th birthday. She wrote her first entry, addressed to an imaginary friend named Kitty, that same day: "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." Weeks later, on July 5, 1942, Margot received an official summons to report to a Nazi work camp in Germany. The very next day, the family went into hiding in makeshift quarters in an empty space at the back of Otto Frank's company building, which they referred to as the Secret Annex. They were accompanied in hiding by Otto's business partner Hermann van Pels as well as his wife, Auguste, and son, Peter. Otto's employees Kleiman and Kugler, as well as Jan and Miep Gies and Bep Voskuijl, provided food and information about the outside world.
The families spent two years in hiding without ever once stepping outside the dark, damp, sequestered portion of the building. To pass the time, Frank wrote extensive daily entries in her diary. Some betrayed the depth of despair into which she occasionally sunk during day after day of confinement. "I've reached the point where I hardly care whether I live or die," she wrote on February 3, 1944. "The world will keep on turning without me, and I can't do anything to change events anyway." However, the act of writing allowed Frank to maintain her sanity and her spirits. "When I write, I can shake off all my cares," she wrote on April 5, 1944. In addition to her diary, Frank also filled a notebook with quotes from her favorite authors, original stories and the beginnings of a novel about her time in the Secret Annex. Her writings reveal a teenage girl with creativity, wisdom, depth of emotion and rhetorical power far beyond her years.
On August 4, 1944, a German secret police officer accompanied by four Dutch Nazis stormed into the Secret Annex and arrested everyone hiding there. They had been betrayed by an anonymous tip; the identity of their betrayer remains unknown to this day. The residents of the Secret Annex were shipped off to Camp Westerbork, a concentration camp in the northeastern Netherlands, and arrived by passenger train on August 8, 1944. They were transferred to the Auschwitz death camp in Poland in the middle of the night on September 3, 1944. Upon arrival at Auschwitz, the men and women were separated.
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