Friday, June 8, 2007

Anne Frank's Diary

Anne Frank, born on June 12, 1929 in Frankfurt, Germany is the second daughter of Otto Frank. The family is Jewish and German. The Franks have lived in Germany for centuries.

It is a carefree period for Margot and Anne. They have many friends in the neighbor-hood where they live. However, their parents are worried. Adolf Hitler, becomes the Chancellor and is responsible for the new government. Before very long, there is discrimination against Jews. Germany changes from a democracy into a dictatorship. Anne’s parents no longer feel safe and decide to leave Germany.

Franks go to the Netherlands in the summer of 1933 and set up a company in Amsterdam. The Frank Family feels free and safe, until the German Army invades the Netherlands on May 10, 1940.

(Anne with elder sister Margot)
The discrimination against the Jews begins there as well. Jews may not own their own businesses, Jewish children have to go to Jewish schools, all Jews have to wear a yellow star, and countless other restrictions. There are even rumors that the Jews will be packed off to Germany…

On June 12, 1942, Anne Frank celebrates her 13th birthday. She receives a diary as a present. It is her favorite gift. She begins writing in it immediately: “I hope I will be able to confide everything to you…and I hope you will be a great source of comfort and support.”

Margot Frank receives a call-up on July 5, 1942. The Nazis plan to send the people they have summoned to work camps in Germany.

Her parents have expected such a call-up: the secret hiding place is almost ready. Not only for their own family, but also for the Van Pels family. The Frank family immediately leaves for the hiding place. Naturally, Anne brings her diary. Much later, she will look back and write: “My happy-go-lucky, carefree school days are gone forever.”

The hiding place is located in an empty section of the building owned by Otto Frank's company. While business continues, as usual, in the front part of the building, there are people hiding in the annex out back.

(Secret Annexe)

The people in hiding are helped by Otto Frank’s four employees. They arrange the food supplies, clothing, books, and all sorts of other necessities. In addition, they keep the people in hiding up-to-date with the news from Amsterdam.

The people in hiding pass their time by reading and studying. As expected, they follow the news closely. There is a lot of tension. They often quarrel among themselves. Anne pours out her heart to her diary: “The nicest part is being able to write down all my thoughts and feelings, otherwise I'd absolutely suffocate.”

The state of affairs in the city is frequently discussed. Jews who do not turn themselves in are picked up and sent to the transit camp in Westerbork. Anne writes in her diary: We assume that most of them are being murdered. The English radio says they're being gassed. Perhaps that's the quickest way to die. I feel terrible.”

Friday, August 4, 1944, is a day like any other day. The people in hiding are quietly going about their business. Suddenly, out front, a vehicle comes to a halt. Out jumps an SS-officer and three Dutch policeman. They enter the building and go directly to the office. The people in hiding have been betrayed…

(Camp Bergen-Belsen)

The people in hiding and the two male helpers are arrested and taken for interrogation to a jail run by the Germans. Other two helpers are left behind on the Prinsengracht. They rescue Anne Frank's diary papers.

In her diary Anne Frank offers a fascinating commentary on human courage and frailty and a self-portrait of a sensitive and spirited young woman. During one of our Europe trips, we visited Amsterdam. One among the most popular places we visited there is "Anne Frank's Museum". Its the secret Annexe where Anne spent her last years. Thats where I got the motivation to read Anne's diary. After reading the diary which is really heart touching, I feel Anne's death is an individual loss.

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Madhura said...

hey.. did u read Mein Kamph?

AaaDee !! said...

nah..i bought that when i was in bombay..yet to read :)

Sonia Chawla said...

As far as trumph of Human spirit is concerned, Anne Frank's Diary is a much rewarding book than Mein Kampf, which is more about the philosphy, a lot of it lost in translation to English from German. (Often 1 whole para is just one sentence)

Anyways I had read Anne Frank's diary last year, amazing book indeed.

Btw where are you and how is life ?