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Annelies Marie "Anne" Frank (June 12, 1929 – February/March 1945) was a German Jewish girl who wrote a diary while in hiding with her family and four friends in Amsterdam during the German occupation of the Netherlands during World War II. Her family had moved to the Netherlands after the Nazis gained power in their home country. After two years in hiding, the group was betrayed, and they were transported to concentration camps where Anne died of typhus at the end of the war; her father Otto, who survived, returned to Amsterdam to find that Anne's diary had been saved. Convinced that the diary was a unique record, he took action to have it published.
The diary was given to Anne for her thirteenth birthday and chronicles the events of her life from June 12, 1942 until its final entry of August 1, 1944. It was eventually translated from its original Dutch into many languages and became one of the world's most widely read books. There have also been many theatrical productions, and an opera, based on the diary. Described as the work of a mature and insightful mind, it provides an intimate examination of daily life under Nazi occupation; through her writing, Anne Frank has become one of the most renowned and discussed of the Holocaust victims.
Anne Frank was born on (June 12 1929 in Frankfurt am Main, Germany, the second daughter of Otto Heinrich Frank (May 12 1889–August 19 1980) and Edith Holländer (January 16 1900–January 6 1945). Margot Betti Frank (February 16 1926–March 1945) was her sister.
The family lived in an assimilated community of Jewish and non-Jewish citizens, and the children grew up with Catholic, Protestant, and Jewish friends. The Franks were Reform Jews, observing many of the traditions of Judaism. Edith Frank was the more devout parent, while Otto Frank was interested in scholarly pursuits and had an extensive library; both parents encouraged the children to read.
On March 13, 1933, elections were held in Frankfurt for the municipal council, and Adolf Hitler's Nazi Party won. Anti-Semitic demonstrations occurred almost immediately, and the Franks began to fear what would happen to them if they remained in Germany. Later in the year, Edith and the children went to Aachen, where they stayed with Edith's mother, Rosa Holländer. Otto Frank remained in Frankfurt, but after receiving an offer to start a company in Amsterdam, he moved there to organise the business and to arrange accommodation for his family.
Otto Frank began working at the Opekta Works, a company which sold the fruit extract pectin, and found an apartment on the Merwedeplein (Merwede Square) in an Amsterdam suburb. By February 1934, Edith and the children had arrived in Amsterdam, and the two girls were enrolled in the Montessori school. Margot demonstrated ability in arithmetic, and Anne showed aptitude for reading and writing. They were also recognised as highly distinct personalities, Margot being well mannered, reserved, and studious, while Anne was outspoken, energetic, and extroverted.
In 1938, Otto Frank started a second company in partnership with Hermann van Pels, a butcher, who had fled Osnabrück in Germany with his family. In 1939 Edith's mother came to live with the Franks, and remained with them until her death in January 1942. In May 1940, Germany invaded the Netherlands, and the occupation government began to persecute Jews by the implementation of restrictive and discriminatory laws, and the mandatory registration and segregation of Jews soon followed. Margot and Anne were excelling in their studies and had a large number of friends, but with the introduction of a decree that Jewish children could only attend Jewish schools, they were enrolled at the Jewish Lyceum.
The period chronicled in the diary
Before going into hiding
For her thirteenth birthday on June 12 1942, Anne received a small notebook which she had pointed out to her father in a shop window a few days earlier. Although it was an autograph book, bound with red-and-green checkered cloth and with a small lock on the front, Anne had already decided she would use it as a diary. She began writing in it almost immediately, and described herself and her family and her daily life at home and at school, prefacing her entries with the salutation "Dear Kitty". She wrote about her school grades, her friends, boys she flirted with and the places she liked to visit in her neighbourhood. While these early entries demonstrate that in many ways her life was that of a typical schoolgirl, she also refers to changes that had taken place since the German occupation. Some references are seemingly casual and not emphasised, however in some entries she provides more detail of the oppression that was steadily increasing. She wrote about the yellow star all Jews were forced to wear in public, and she listed some of the restrictions and persecutions that had encroached into the lives of Amsterdam's Jewish population.
In July 1942, Margot Frank received a call-up notice ordering her to report for relocation to a work camp. Anne was then told of a plan that Otto had formulated with his most trusted employees, and which Edith and Margot had been aware of for a short time. The family was to go into hiding in rooms above and behind the company's premises on the Prinsengracht, a street along one of Amsterdam's canals.
Life in the achterhuis
On July 8 1942, the family moved into the hiding place. Their apartment was left in a state of disarray to create the impression that they had left suddenly, and Otto Frank left a note that hinted they were going to Switzerland. As Jews were not allowed to use public transport they walked several kilometres from their home, with each of them wearing several layers of clothing as they did not dare to be seen carrying luggage. The achterhuis (a Dutch word denoting the rear part of a house) was a three-story space at the rear of the building that was entered from a landing above the Opekta offices. Two small rooms, with an adjoining bathroom and toilet, were on the first level, and above that a large open room, with a small room beside it. From this smaller room, a ladder led to the attic. The door to the achterhuis was later covered by a bookcase to ensure it remained undiscovered. Anne would later refer to it in her diary as the "Secret Annexe". The main building, situated a block from the Westerkerk, was nondescript, old and typical of buildings in the western quarters of Amsterdam.
Victor Kugler, Johannes Kleiman, Miep Gies and Elisabeth "Bep" Voskuijl were the only employees who knew of the people in hiding, and with Gies' husband Jan and Voskuijl's father Johannes Hendrik Voskuijl, were their "helpers" for the duration of their confinement. They provided the only contact between the outside world and the occupants of the house, and they kept them informed of war news and political developments. They catered for all of their needs, ensured their safety and supplied them with food, a task that grew more difficult with the passage of time. Anne wrote of their dedication and of their efforts to boost morale within the household during the most dangerous of times. All were aware that if caught they could face the death penalty for sheltering Jews.
In late July, they were joined by the van Pels family: Hermann, Auguste, and 16-year-old Peter, and then in November by Fritz Pfeffer, a dentist and friend of the family. Anne wrote of her pleasure at having new people to talk to, but tensions quickly developed within the group forced to live in such confined conditions. After sharing her room with Pfeffer she found him to be insufferable, and she clashed with Auguste van Pels, whom she regarded as foolish. Her relationship with her mother became strained and Anne wrote that they had little in common as her mother was too remote. Although she sometimes argued with Margot, she wrote of an unexpected bond that had developed between them, but she remained closest emotionally to her father. Some time later, after first dismissing the shy and awkward Peter van Pels, she recognised a kinship with him and the two entered a romance.
Anne spent most of her time reading and studying, while continuing to write and edit her diary. In addition to providing a narrative of events as they occurred, she also wrote about her feelings, beliefs and ambitions, subjects she felt she could not discuss with anyone. As her confidence in her writing grew, and as she began to mature, she wrote of more abstract subjects such as her belief in God, and how she defined human nature. She continued writing regularly until her final entry of August 1, 1944.
Arrest and concentration camps
On the morning of August 4, 1944, the achterhuis was stormed by the Grüne Polizei following a tip-off from an informer who was never identified . Led by Schutzstaffel Sergeant Karl Silberbauer of the Sicherheitsdienst, the group included at least three members of the Security Police. The occupants were loaded into trucks and taken for interrogation. Victor Kugler and Johannes Kleiman were taken away and subsequently jailed, but Miep Gies and Bep Voskuijl were allowed to go. They later returned to the achterhuis, where they found Anne's papers strewn on the floor. They collected them, as well as several family photograph albums, and Gies resolved to return them to Anne after the war.
The members of the household were taken to the camp at Westerbork. Ostensibly a transit camp, by this time more than 100,000 Jews had passed through it, and on September 2, the group was deported on what would be the last transport from Westerbork to the Auschwitz concentration camp. They arrived after a three days' journey, and were separated by gender, with the men and women never to see each other again. Of the 1019 passengers, 549 people – including all children under the age of 15 years – were selected and sent directly to the gas chambers where they were killed. Anne had turned 15 three months earlier and was spared, and although everyone from the achterhuis survived this selection, Anne believed her father had been killed.
With the other females not selected for immediate death, Anne was forced to strip naked to be disinfected, had her head shaved and was tattooed with an identifying number on her arm. By day the women were used as slave labour, and by night were crowded into freezing barracks. Disease was rampant and before long Anne's skin became badly infected by scabies.
On October 28, selections began for women to be relocated to Bergen-Belsen. More than 8,000 women, including Anne and Margot Frank and Auguste van Pels, were transported, but Edith Frank was left behind. Tents were erected to accommodate the influx of prisoners, Anne and Margot among them, and as the population rose, the death toll due to disease increased rapidly. Anne was briefly reunited with two friends, Hanneli Goslar (named "Lies" in the diary) and Nanette Blitz, who both survived the war. They said that Anne, naked but for a piece of blanket, explained she was infested with lice and had thrown her clothes away. They described her as bald, emaciated and shivering but although ill herself, she told them that she was more concerned about Margot, whose illness seemed to be more severe. Goslar and Blitz did not see Margot who remained in her bunk, too weak to walk. Anne said they were alone as both of their parents were dead.
In March 1945, a typhus epidemic spread through the camp killing an estimated 17,000 prisoners. Witnesses later testified that Margot fell from her bunk in her weakened state and was killed by the shock, and that a few days later Anne also died. They estimated that this occurred a few weeks before the camp was liberated by British troops on April 15, 1945, and although the exact dates were not recorded, it is generally accepted to have been between the end of February and the middle of March.
After the war, it was estimated that of the 110,000 Jews deported from the Netherlands during the Nazi occupation, only 5,000 survived.
The individual fates of the other occupants of the achterhuis, their helpers, and other people associated with Anne Frank, are discussed further. See article: People associated with Anne Frank.
The Diary of a Young Girl
Publication of the diary
Otto Frank survived and returned to Amsterdam. He was informed that his wife had died, but he also learnt that his daughters had been transferred to Bergen-Belsen, and he remained hopeful that they had survived. In July 1945, the Red Cross confirmed the deaths of Anne and Margot and it was only then that Miep Gies gave him the diary. He read it and later commented that he had not realised Anne had kept such an accurate and well-written record of their time together. Moved by her repeated wish to be an author, he began to consider having it published. When asked many years later to recall his first reaction he said simply, "I never knew my little Anne was so deep".
Anne's diary began as a private expression of her thoughts and she wrote several times that she would never allow anyone to read it. She candidly described her life, her family and companions, and their situation, while beginning to recognise her ambition to write fiction for publication. In the spring of 1944, she heard a radio broadcast by Gerrit Bolkestein—a member of the Dutch government in exile—who said that when the war ended, he would create a public record of the Dutch people's oppression under German occupation. He mentioned the publication of letters and diaries, and Anne decided to submit her work when the time came. She began editing her writing, removing sections and rewriting others, with the view to publication. Her original notebook was supplemented by additional notebooks and loose-leaf sheets of paper. She created pseudonyms for the members of the household and the helpers. The van Pels family became Hermann, Petronella, and Peter van Daan, and Fritz Pfeffer became Albert Düssell. Otto Frank used her original diary, known as "version A", and her edited version, known as "version B", to produce the first version for publication. He removed certain passages, most notably those which referred to his wife in unflattering terms, and sections that discussed Anne's growing sexuality. Although he restored the true identities of his own family, he retained all of the other pseudonyms.
He gave the diary to the historian Anne Romein, who tried unsuccessfully to have it published. She then gave it to her husband Jan Romein, who wrote an article about it, titled "Kinderstem" ("A Child's Voice"), published in the newspaper Het Parool on April 3, 1946. He wrote that the diary "stammered out in a child's voice, embodies all the hideousness of fascism, more so than all the evidence at Nuremberg put together" . His article attracted attention from publishers, and the diary was published in 1947, followed by a second run in 1950. The first American edition was published in 1952 under the title Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl. A play based upon the diary, by Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett, premiered in New York City on October 5, 1955, and later won a Pulitzer Prize for Drama. It was followed by the 1959 movie The Diary of Anne Frank, which was a critical and commercial success. Over the years the popularity of the diary grew, and in many schools, particularly in the United States, it was included as part of the curriculum, introducing Anne Frank to new generations of readers.
In 1986, a critical edition of the diary was published . It compared her original entries with her father's edited versions, and included discussion relating its authentication, and historical information relating to the family.
In 1988, Cornelis Suijk—a former director of the Anne Frank Foundation and president of the U.S. Center for Holocaust Education Foundation —announced that he was in the possession of five pages that had been removed by Otto Frank from the diary prior to publication; Suijk claimed that Otto Frank gave these pages to him shortly before his death in 1980. The missing diary entries contain critical remarks by Anne Frank about her parents' strained marriage, and show Anne's lack of affection for her mother . Some controversy ensued when Suijk claimed publishing rights over the five pages and intended to sell them to raise money for his U.S. Foundation. The Netherlands Institute for War Documentation, the formal owner of the manuscript, demanded the pages to be handed over. In 2000 the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science agreed to donate US$300,000 to Suijk's Foundation, and the pages were returned in 2001 . Since then, they have been included in new editions of the diary.
Praise for Anne Frank and the Diary
In her introduction to the diary's first American edition, Eleanor Roosevelt described it as "one of the wisest and most moving commentaries on war and its impact on human beings that I have ever read". The Soviet writer Ilya Ehrenburg later said: "one voice speaks for six million—the voice not of a sage or a poet but of an ordinary little girl."  As Anne Frank's stature as both a writer and humanist has grown, she has been discussed specifically as a symbol of the Holocaust and more broadly as a representative of persecution. Hillary Rodham Clinton, in her acceptance speech for an Elie Wiesel Humanitarian Award in 1994, read from Anne Frank's diary and spoke of her "awakening us to the folly of indifference and the terrible toll it takes on our young", which Clinton related to contemporary events in Sarajevo, Somalia and Rwanda . After receiving a humanitarian award from the Anne Frank Foundation in 1994, Nelson Mandela addressed a crowd in Johannesburg, saying he had read Anne Frank's diary while in prison and "derived much encouragement from it." He likened her struggle against Nazism to his struggle against apartheid, drawing a parallel between the two philosophies with the comment "because these beliefs are patently false, and because they were, and will always be, challenged by the likes of Anne Frank, they are bound to fail." 
In her closing message in Melissa Müller's biography of Anne Frank, Miep Gies attempted to dispel what she felt was a growing misconception that "Anne symbolizes the six million victims of the Holocaust", writing: "Anne's life and death were her own individual fate, an individual fate that happened six million times over. Anne cannot, and should not, stand for the many individuals whom the Nazis robbed of their lives... But her fate helps us grasp the immense loss the world suffered because of the Holocaust."
The diary has also been praised for its literary merits. Commenting on Anne Frank's writing style, the dramatist Meyer Levin – who worked with Otto Frank on a dramatisation of the diary shortly after its publication  – praised it for "sustaining the tension of a well-constructed novel" , while the poet John Berryman wrote that it was a unique depiction, not merely of adolescence but of "the mysterious, fundamental process of a child becoming an adult as it is actually happening" . Her biographer Melissa Müller said that she wrote "in a precise, confident, economical style stunning in its honesty". Her writing is largely a study of characters, and she examines every person in her circle with a shrewd, uncompromising eye. She is occasionally cruel and often biased, particularly in her depictions of Fritz Pfeffer and of her own mother, and Müller explains that she channelled the "normal mood swings of adolescence" into her writing. Her examination of herself and her surroundings is sustained over a lengthy period of time in an introspective, analytical and highly self critical manner, and in moments of frustration she relates the battle being fought within herself between the "good Anne" she wants to be, and the "bad Anne" she believes herself to be. Otto Frank recalled his publisher explaining why he thought the diary has been so widely read, with the comment "he said that the diary encompasses so many areas of life that each reader can find something that moves him personally".
Challenges by Holocaust deniers and legal action
Efforts have been made to discredit the diary since its publication, and since the mid 1970s Holocaust denier David Irving has been consistent in his assertion that the diary is not genuine . Continued public statements made by such Holocaust deniers prompted Teresien da Silva to comment on behalf of Anne Frank House in 1999, "for many right-wing extremists (Anne) proves to be an obstacle. Her personal testimony of the persecution of the Jews and her death in a concentration camp are blocking the way to a rehabilitation of national socialism".
Since the 1950s Holocaust denial has been a criminal offence in a few European countries, and the law has been used to prevent a rise in neo-Nazi activity. In 1959 Otto Frank took legal action in Lübeck against Lothar Stielau, a school teacher and former Hitler Youth member who published a school paper that described the diary as a forgery. The court examined the diary, and in 1960 found it to be genuine. Stielau recanted his earlier statement, and Otto Frank did not pursue the case any further.
In 1958, Simon Wiesenthal was challenged by a group of protesters at a performance of The Diary of Anne Frank in Vienna who asserted that Anne Frank had never existed, and who told Wiesenthal to prove her existence by finding the man who had arrested her. He began searching for Karl Silberbauer and found him in 1963. When interviewed, Silberbauer readily admitted his role, and identifed Anne Frank from a photograph as one of the people arrested. He provided a full account of events and recalled emptying a briefcase full of papers onto the floor. His statement corroborated the version of events that had previously been presented by witnesses such as Otto Frank.
In 1976 Otto Frank took action against Heinz Roth of Frankfurt, who published pamphlets stating the diary was a forgery. The judge ruled that if he published further statements he would be subjected to a 500,000 Deutschmark fine and a six months' jail sentence. Two cases were dismissed by German courts in 1978 and 1979 on the grounds of freedom of speech, as the complaint was not filed by an "injured party". The court ruled in each case that if a further complaint was made by an injured party, such as Otto Frank, a charge of slander could follow.
The controversy reached its peak in 1980 with the arrest and trial of two neo-Nazis, Ernst Römer and Edgar Geiss, who were tried and found guilty of producing and distributing literature denouncing the diary as a forgery, following a complaint by Otto Frank. During their appeal, a team of historians examined the documents in consultation with Otto Frank, and determined them to be genuine.
With Otto Frank's death in 1980, the original diary, including letters and loose sheets, were willed to the Netherlands Institute for War Documentation, who commissioned a forensic study of the diary through the Netherlands Ministry of Justice in 1986. They examined the handwriting against known exemplars and found that they matched, and determined that the paper, glue and ink were readily available during the time the diary was said to have been written. Their final determination was that the diary is authentic. On March 23, 1990, the Hamburg Regional Court confirmed its authenticity.
On May 3, 1957, a group of citizens including Otto Frank established the Anne Frank Foundation in an effort to save the Prinsengracht building from demolition and to make it accessible to the public. Otto Frank insisted that the aim of the foundation would be to foster contact and communication between young people of different cultures, religions or racial backgrounds, and to oppose intolerance and racial discrimination.
The Anne Frank House opened on May 3, 1960. It consists of the Opekta warehouse and offices and the achterhuis, all unfurnished so that visitors can walk freely through the rooms. Some personal relics of the former occupants remain, such as movie star photographs glued by Anne to a wall, a section of wallpaper on which Otto Frank marked the height of his growing daughters, and a map on the wall where he recorded the advance of the Allied Forces, all now protected behind Perspex sheets. From the small room which was once home to Peter van Pels, a walkway connects the building to its neighbours, also purchased by the Foundation. These other buildings are used to house the diary, as well as changing exhibits that chronicle different aspects of the Holocaust and more contemporary examinations of racial intolerance in various parts of the world. It has become one of Amsterdam's main tourist attractions, and is visited by more than half a million people each year.
In 1963, Otto Frank and his second wife Fritzi set up the Anne Frank Fonds as a charitable foundation, based in Basel, Switzerland. The Fonds raises money to donate to causes "as it sees fit". Upon his death, Otto willed the diary's copyright to the Fonds, on the proviso that the first 80,000 Swiss francs in income each year was to be distributed to his heirs, and any income above this figure was to be retained by the Fonds to use for whatever projects its administrators considered worthy. It provides funding for the medical treatment of the Righteous Among the Nations on a yearly basis. It has aimed to educate young people against racism and has loaned some of Anne Frank's papers to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. for an exhibition in 2003. Its annual report of the same year gave some indication of its effort to contribute on a global level, with its support of projects in Germany, Israel, India, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States .
Holocaust and World War II related
- Anne Frank Remembered — a documentary film made in 1995 about the life of Anne Frank
- Auschwitz concentration camp
- Corrie ten Boom
- Etty Hillesum — a Jewish woman who kept a diary during the war
- The Holocaust
- The Netherlands in World War II
- Tanya Savicheva — a Russian girl who recorded the deaths of her family over a six month period during the Siege of Leningrad
- 5535 Annefrank — an asteroid named after Anne Frank
- Neutral Milk Hotel — US indie rock band whose 1998 album In the Aeroplane Over the Sea was inspired by the story of Anne Frank
- Anne Frank Fonds (2003). Annual Report 2003. Retrieved February 9, 2005.
- Barnouw, David & van der Stroom, Gerrold (2003). Who betrayed Anne Frank? Netherlands Institute for War Documentation. Retrieved February 8, 2005.
- Clinton, Hillary Rodham (April 14, 1994). "Remarks by the First Lady, Elie Wiesel Humanitarian Awards, New York City". Speech. Retrieved January 30, 2005.
- Edward, Silvia (undated). "Anne Frank (Annelies Marie Frank)". Retrieved January 30, 2005.
- Frank, Anne; Massotty, Susan (translation); Frank, Otto H. & Pressler, Mirjam (editors) (1995). The Diary of a Young Girl - The Definitive Edition. Doubleday. ISBN 0553296981
- Irving, David (1988). The 'False News' Trial of Ernst Zündel -- 1988. Institute for Historical Review. Retrieved January 30, 2005.
- Lee, Carol Ann (2000). The Biography of Anne Frank - Roses from the Earth. Viking. ISBN 0708991742.
- Michaelsen, Jacob B. (1997). "Remembering Anne Frank". findarticle.com. Retrieved January 30, 2005.
- Müller, Melissa; Kimber, Rita & Kimber, Robert (translators); With a note from Miep Gies (2000). Anne Frank - The Biography. Metropolitan books. ISBN 0747545235.
- Mandela, Nelson (August 15, 1994). Address by President Nelson Mandela at the Johannesburg opening of the Anne Frank exhibition at the Museum Africa. Speech. Retrieved January 30, 2005.
- van der Rol, Ruud; Verhoeven, Rian (for the Anne Frank House); Quindlen, Anna (Introduction); Langham, Tony & Peters, Plym (translation) (1995). Anne Frank - Beyond the Diary - A Photographic Remembrance. Puffin. ISBN 0140369260.
- Romein, Jan (April 3, 1946). Facsimile of newpaper Het Parool, first article published about the diary. Retrieved January 30, 2005
- da Silva, Theresien (for the Anne Frank House) (1999). "Denial of the Authenticity of the Diary" discussing legal action taken against holocaust deniers. Retrieved February 5, 2005.
- Diary of a Young Girl, Anne Frank, introduction by Eleanor Roosevelt, translated by B. M. Mooyaart, Bantam, mass market paperback, 304 pages, ISBN 0553296981
- The Diary of Anne Frank: The Critical Edition, Anne Frank, edited by David Barnouw and Gerrold Van der Stroom, translated by Arnold J. Pomerans, compiled by H. J. J. Hardy, revised and updated edition, Doubleday 2003, hardcover, 736 pages, ISBN 0385508476. Prepared by the Netherlands State Institute for War Documentation. Compares several editions of the diary to the original, includes an extensive study of its authenticity, relates history of the involved people before and after the war.
- Anne Frank's Tales From the Secret Annex, Anne Frank, translated by Michel Mok and Ralph Manheim, Washington Square Press, copyright 1949 and 1960 by Otto Frank and in 1982 by Anne-Frank Fonds, English translation copyright 1952 and 1959 by Otto Frank and 1983 by Doubleday and Company, edition of September 1983, paperback, 156 pages, ISBN 0671458574. Relates short works of fiction by Anne Frank, as well as short essays by the same author.
- Anne Frank House
- Anne Frank House - only known film footage of Anne Frank (requires Quicktime Player)
- Anne Frank Fonds
- Anne Frank Center, USA
- A study of Anne Frank, her diary and the people around her
- Exhibition "Unfinished Story" at United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
- The Holocaust Chronicle
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