MuseumAnne Frank Stories for young people
About the museum
Anne Frank hid in this house from the Nazis during World War II. She wrote her famous diary here.
During World War II Anne Frank had to go into hiding to avoid the Nazi persecution of Jews. But she was discovered and died in Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in Germany. Thanks to the publication of her diary, her story is known worldwide.
The place where she hid from 1942 to 1944 is called the Annexe and is part of our museum. Here you can see the original diary Anne wrote in while she was in hiding.
Anne Frank was not here on her own. She was with her family and four other people. The museum tells you about their life in hiding and the people who helped them.
Plan your visit
Exhibits featured with audio
The Frank family
The Frank family
The Frank family is Jewish and lives in Germany. These are photos of Otto and Edith Frank, Anne’s parents. The last two photos were taken on their wedding day in 1925. In the last photo the couple are in the middle, surrounded by family and friends.
When they are married, Edith and Otto go and live together in Frankfurt. Otto works in his family’s merchant bank and Edith looks after the home.PreviousNextClose
Life in Frankfurt
Life in Frankfurt
Anne Frank was born in 1929 in Frankfurt am Main in Germany. She grows up with her family - father Otto, mother Edith and her older sister Margot. The young family are happy in Frankfurt.
But when the economy deteriorates, Adolf Hitler’s Nazi party wins more and more ground. Hitler and the Nazis blame the Jews for all the poverty and misery in the country. Otto and Edith are really worried when Hitler becomes leader of the government in 1933. Hatred of the Jews and the economic crisis make them want to emigrate to a safe country.PreviousNextClose
Emigrating to Amsterdam
Emigrating to AmsterdamWatch video
In 1933 Otto Frank can start a business in Amsterdam. Edith, Margot and Anne follow him to the Netherlands. They find a house on Merwedeplein (Merwede Square). The Frank family feel safe and free again. The children go to school, Otto works hard in his business and Edith looks after the home.
You can see Anne and Margot with their friends in these photos. In the video, after 10 seconds, you can see Anne looking out of the window at a bride and groom. The film was made on Merwedeplein. These are the only film images of Anne we have. Click on the video button to start the film.PreviousNextClose
War breaks out
War breaks out
The Frank family are doing well in Amsterdam but in May 1940 the German army invades the Netherlands. The country is occupied and much changes for the Frank family. The Nazis introduce one measure after another against the Jews. Otto can’t keep his business and Margot and Anne have to go to a separate Jewish school.
On 12 June 1942 Anne gets a diary for her birthday. She writes in her diary a long list of the things she’s no longer allowed:
‘Jews are required to wear a yellow star; Jews are required to turn in their bicycles; Jews are forbidden to use trams; Jews are forbidden to ride in cars; Jews are required to do their shopping between 3.00 and 5.00 pm; Jews are forbidden to be out on the streets between 8.00 pm and 6.00 o’clock in the morning; Jews are forbidden to use swimming pools; Jews are required to attend Jewish schools, etc.’
Click on the video button to start the video about the outbreak of war.PreviousNextClose
Going into hiding
Going into hiding
Eventually it becomes so dangerous for Jews that they have to go into hiding. Otto and Edith Frank are prepared for this. They have made a secret hiding place in an empty part of Otto Frank’s business: the annexe.
The annexe is circled in blue on the photo. The video talks about Otto Frank’s plans to go into hiding. Click on the video button to start the video.PreviousNextClose
On 5 July 1942 Margot receives a call-up from the Germans. She must report for a work camp. Otto and Edith don’t trust it. Many Jews who have been sent to camps have not survived. Ignoring such a call-up is an offence, so the Frank family have to go into hiding. The next day they will leave for the hiding place. As Anne can only take a few things with her, she has to choose. One of the first things she packs is her diary.
Early next morning Miep Gies, who works in Otto’s business, comes to fetch Margot. They set off together by bike. Later Otto, Edith and Anne go too. Through the pouring rain they walk to the hiding place: the annexe of Otto’s business.
In the video Miep Gies talks about Margot’s call-up and the moment they went into hiding. Click on the video button to start the video.PreviousNextClose
The people in hiding cannot survive without help because they can’t go out shopping. That’s far too dangerous. So the office workers help those in hiding - Miep Gies, Bep Voskuijl, Victor Kugler and Johannes Kleiman. They do the daily shopping for those in hiding and bring them fuel, clothing, medicines, books and magazines. Besides the office workers, the warehouse manager, Johan Voskuijl, Bep’s father, and Jan Gies, Miep’s husband, help care for those in hiding.
You can see all the helpers in the photos. The video is about the helpers’ jobs. Click on the video button.PreviousNextClose
Eight people in hiding
Eight people in hiding
Besides the Frank family four other Jews are hiding in the Annexe. A week after the Frank family, Hermann and Auguste van Pels arrive with their son Peter. The Van Pels family have also fled from Germany. In 1939 they live right behind the Franks. Hermann van Pels works for Otto. In the spring of 1942 they prepare the hiding place in the Annexe together.
Fritz Pfeffer, the eighth person to go into hiding in the Annexe, arrives in November 1942. Pfeffer has fled from Germany to the Netherlands with his non-Jewish fiancée Charlotte Kaletta. In Amsterdam he becomes Miep Gies’s dentist. He also knows the Frank family. His attempt to emigrate to Chile fails, so Pfeffer has to go into hiding. Through Miep he ends up in the Annexe.PreviousNextClose
Anne and Fritz
Anne and Fritz
The first few months Anne and Margot share a small room but that changes in November 1942.
When Fritz Pfeffer arrives at the Annexe Margot moves into her parents’ room. Anne now has to share the small room with Fritz, who is forty years older than her. He feels lonely without his fiancée.
Fritz and Anne quickly clash, particularly about who may sit and work at the table in their room. Anne writes at length about it in her diary and calls him ‘Dussel’, which is German for idiot.
Charlotte Kaletta doesn’t know where her fiancé Fritz is in hiding. But they keep in touch with each other via Miep Gies. Pfeffer kills time by reading and learning Spanish. He still plans to emigrate to Chile after the war.PreviousNextClose
In love with Peter
In love with Peter
Anne and Peter are in hiding together. They knew each other before going into hiding. At first Anne is completely uninterested in Peter. She calls him a ‘shy, awkward boy’. But as they get to know each other better that changes. In February 1944 Anne falls in love with Peter. They spend a lot of time together in the attic and talk about everything: their feelings, the time before going into hiding, about their parents. They also kiss each other there for the first time.
Anne writes about Peter in her diary: ‘What would my girlfriends say if they knew I’d lain in Peter’s arms with my heart against his chest, my head on his shoulder and his head and face against mine.’PreviousNextClose
Betrayed and deported
Betrayed and deported
On 4 August 1944 those hiding in the Annexe had been there for more than two years. Around 11 o’clock in the morning, suddenly a couple of policemen led by a Nazi burst into the Annexe. Those in hiding have been discovered! They’re arrested and taken to the prison in Amsterdam. When the police have gone, Miep finds Anne’s diary. It’s left behind in the Annexe.
Via Westerbork transit camp those who had been in hiding are deported on 3 September 1944 to Auschwitz extermination camp in Poland.PreviousNextClose
THE FRONT BUILDING
THE FRONT BUILDINGWatch video
Otto Frank has two businesses: Opekta and Pectacon. Opekta makes an ingredient for making jam. Pectacon makes meat herbs. Both businesses use the front building at 263 Prinsengracht as their office, workplace and depot. From the street you can’t see that there’s another house, an annexe, behind the front building.
Watch the video to learn more about Otto Frank’s business Opekta. Click on the video button to start the video.PreviousNextClose
This is the warehouse. Spices like pepper and cloves are ground here. The Annexe where the eight people hid is immediately above the back of the warehouse. The people who work in the warehouse don’t know there’s an annexe because you can’t see it from the front building. They really don’t know that people are hiding there.
The office workers do know. Otto asked them whether they would help him and his family go into hiding.
If you look around the back of the warehouse carefully, you’ll see a black drainage pipe. This is the drainage pipe from the WC in the Annexe. That’s why those in hiding could not use the WC when people were working in the warehouse. They would be able to hear that and betray them…PreviousNextClose
These are the offices. The office workers and helpers Victor Kugler,
Miep Gies, Johannes Kleiman and Bep Voskuijl continue working for Opekta and Pectacon during the war. They share the office space. The helpers provide the eight people in hiding with food, clothes, books and newspapers. That’s sometimes difficult. Those in hiding can’t survive without them and helping people hide is forbidden, so not without danger.PreviousNextClose
Herbs and spices are kept in the depot. As spices mustn’t be kept in the sun, the depot windows are painted. So you can’t see the Annexe.
The rooms in the Annexe are empty. In 1961 Otto Frank had models of the Annexe made which show how the hiding place was furnished. These models are in this space.PreviousNextClose
Hallway with bookcase
Hallway with bookcase
The movable bookcase conceals the entrance to the Annexe. It was specially made by Johannes Voskuijl who works in the warehouse.
The hallway windows are covered with non-transparent paper. The Annexe cannot be seen from anywhere in the front house.PreviousNextClose
The rooms in the Annexe are empty. Why?
After the arrest of those in hiding, the Nazis give instructions for the Annexe to be emptied. When the Annexe became a museum in 1960, Otto Frank requested the rooms remain empty. The empty Annexe shows the emptiness of all those people who were taken away to the concentration camps and did not return.
Here you see photos of how the Annexe was furnished. This is more or less what it looked like during the hiding.PreviousNextClose
Otto, Edith and Margot’s room
Otto, Edith and Margot’s roomWatch video
The Frank family also use Otto, Edith and Margot’s bedroom as a living room. Anne often sits here.
A map of Normandy hangs in the room. This is where the Allies (Americans, British and Canadians) land in France on 6 June 1944 to fight the Germans. The people in hiding excitedly follow the advance of the Allied army on the radio. Otto Frank tracks their progress on this map.
You can see more about this in the video. Click on the video button to start the video.PreviousNextClose
Anne and Fritz’s room
Anne and Fritz’s roomWatch video
Anne has to share a room with Fritz Pfeffer.
Just like so many girls Anne brightens up her room with pictures. You can see from the pictures that Anne’s getting older. When she was first in hiding she mainly liked film stars. Later she’s more interested in art and history.
Anne has a huge row with Fritz Pfeffer about who may use the desk. They both want to sit there. Fritz to study and Anne to write her diary.
In the video Miep Gies talks about the time she disturbed Anne while she was sitting writing.PreviousNextClose
During the day the people in hiding use the toilet and the tap as little as possible. The water and sewage pipes run through the warehouse and the warehouse workers don’t know there are people hiding in the building.PreviousNextClose
Hermann en Auguste van Pels’s room
Hermann en Auguste van Pels’s room
Hermann and Auguste van Pels’s bedroom is also the living room and kitchen. Those in hiding spend a lot of time there. Here they cook, eat, study, read and laugh. But also argue. Being in hiding gets more and more difficult as time goes by. The food stocks diminish and the tensions and irritations increase.PreviousNextClose
Peter is the only one who has his own ‘room’. The ladder in his room go up to the attic, which is used to store provisions. Anne and Peter often sit up there. It’s a place where they can look outside and be alone.PreviousNextClose
After a tip-off, the Security Service burst into number 263 Prinsengracht on 4 August 1944. The eight people hiding there have been betrayed. They and the helpers Johannes Kleiman and Victor Kugler are arrested and taken away. The Nazis leave Miep Gies and Bep Voskuijl alone.
On 3 September 1944 the eight people who had hidden in the Annexe are transported to Auschwitz-Birkenau extermination camp. Only Otto Frank survives the war. Anne, Margot and Edith Frank, Peter, Auguste and Hermann van Pels and Fritz Pfeffer meet their death in the concentration camps. The helpers survive the war.
Who betrayed the people in hiding? We don’t know. There are many theories about the betrayal but none of them can be proved. So the betrayer has never been found.PreviousNextClose
OTTO RETURNSWatch video
Otto Frank is the only one of those who hid in the Annexe to survive the camps. In January 1945 the Russians liberate Auschwitz, where Otto who’s sick has remained. In June Otto arrives in Amsterdam after travelling many months. He stays with Miep and Jan Gies. Otto already knows that Edith has died but knows nothing about Anne and Margot’s fate. On 18 July he hears that they too are dead.PreviousNextClose
ANNE’S DIARYWatch video
Otto Frank returns from the concentration camp as the only survivor. When back in Amsterdam he looks first for Miep Gies. She gives him Anne’s diary that she’d saved from the Annexe after the arrest.
Otto reads the diary and decides to publish it. In 1947 it first appears in Dutch. The book is then translated worldwide.PreviousNextClose
‘All her would-haves...’ – others talk about Anne
‘All her would-haves...’ – others talk about AnneWatch video
In this film you see what others think about Anne. What does she mean now? John Green, the author of 'The fault in our stars', explains in the short film how Anne Frank still always inspires him. Click on the video button to start the video.PreviousNextClose
It’s Wednesday 12 June 1929. At half past seven in the morning, a cry sounds in a hospital room in Frankfurt-am-Main in Germany. Anne Frank makes herself heard for the first time. The birth was difficult and lasted all night. But Anne cries just like a new-born baby should cry and everything seems fine.
The nurse who has helped mother Edith that night is so tired that she enters ‘a boy’ in the hospital records by mistake. But it’s a girl – a long, solid baby. Otto and Edith call her Annelies Marie. She’s their second daughter.
When Otto comes to see Edith and Anne the next day, he brings his camera with him. Otto likes taking photos and special moments like this must be recorded. Anne is a beautiful girl with lovely black hair and a fine face. Edith holds the baby close to her. Later she’ll make a lovely album with Otto’s photos, just like she’d done for Margot earlier.
Margot is Anne’s sister. She’s three years older. Two days after Anne’s birth she comes to the hospital with her granny from Aachen, Edith’s mother. A little sister! She thinks it’s fantastic! She can’t wait until her mother and Anne come home but that would be a while yet. Edith and Anne stay in hospital for twelve days.
Once home little Anne will quickly discover that she’s part of two loving German families. When she’s a bit bigger she’ll often go to stay with her Granny Holländer in Aachen. Two bachelor uncles, Julius and Walter, live there too. Granny Frank lives in Frankfurt, like her. When she’s a little older, some of father’s family, including both of her cousins, will go to live in Switzerland. Visiting them will be great. But that all comes later.
Now she lives with her parents and sister in a big comfy yellow house with green shutters at no. 307 Marbachweg in Frankfurt. Kathi, the housekeeper, makes sure everything is in perfect order. When she can crawl in a few months’ time, there’s a whole world to discover in the house. There’s a living room and a dining room, kitchen, bedrooms, mother’s own room and Kathi’s. And then the long wall of father and mother’s books of course.
The house is in a pleasant, green neighbourhood. It has a garden and a balcony. As soon as the sun comes out, there are children playing on the street. They’re from all kinds of backgrounds. Some are from Christian families. Others are not. Often their parents have good jobs but aren’t rich. Virtually none of them are Jews like Anne and her family. Most Jewish families live in other areas of Frankfurt.
When she can walk in a year’s time, her mother will take her to the sandpit behind the house. She’ll throw the sand where she can. She’ll jump in every puddle she sees. She’ll smear mud on her dress. Or in her hair. Doesn’t matter. The dirtier the better. Mother will shake her head and at home quickly get something clean out of the cupboard. Mother likes neatness. Father will laugh about it. That Anne. She radiates spirit and a zest for life. How can you be angry with such a child!
Edith will look after her girls to the best of her ability. And after work father Otto will bath them, play with them and tell them stories. Together they’ll do everything to give both the girls a safe, happy childhood. They’ll want for nothing.PreviousNextClose
Fleeing from Germany
Fleeing from Germany
Fleeing from Germany
It’s summer 1933. Otto and Edith pack their cases. They carefully check the cupboards, as they don’t want to forget anything important. What do you take with you when you don’t know how long it will be until you have your own home again? Clothes of course and then for the autumn and winter too. Shoes. Some books and photos maybe and the camera. But what else? Margot is seven and Anne is just four. They mustn’t forget their toys! Slowly the cases fill up.
For some time Otto and Edith have been thinking about leaving the country and starting afresh elsewhere. Otto’s business affairs are doing badly owing to the economic crisis that’s about to break. To reduce expenses they temporarily move in with Otto’s mother.
But meanwhile their uncertain financial situation is no longer the only reason for wanting to leave. Actually they can’t stay. That’s the situation. Since Adolf Hitler came to power in late January 1933, Otto and Edith are anxious about the future. Hitler makes it clear that for him and his party, Jews are not fully-fledged Germans. Hitler hates Jews.
A year earlier Otto had heard Nazis, Hitler’s supporters, singing on the street, ‘When Jewish blood splashes from the knife, only then will things get better. Throw them out of the Fatherland!’ He’s really shocked by this. And now the Jewish mayor in their city, Frankfurt, has been removed and a Nazi mayor appointed. People who oppose this sort of measure are picked up.
Here, in Germany, Otto and Edith can no longer give Margot and Anne a safe, happy upbringing. That’s now clear to them. So they pack their suitcases and leave Germany to begin a new life in the Netherlands.
Otto has received help from his brother-in-law Erich Elias from Switzerland. He has lent him money so that he can set up a branch of Opekta in Amsterdam. This company already exists in other countries and makes a binding agent for jam. Otto has to make sure that Dutch housewives buy it. If he succeeds, Otto will have a good income again and be able to provide well for his family again.
Otto goes to Amsterdam first on his own. Edith departs with Margot and Anne to Aachen where her mother and two brothers live. They’ve agreed that Edith will regularly be with Otto in Amsterdam so that she can look for a house while Otto sets up his business.
So. The cases are packed. Tomorrow it’s time to leave. They have to say goodbye to each other for a while. But then they will do their utmost to learn the language and get used to the new city. Margot and Anne will soon make new friends, certainly once they’re at a Dutch school. Edith and Otto will make the house comfortable and friendly and encourage Anne and Margot to bring children home with them. It will be difficult for a while but all will be well in the end.
In the Netherlands they are safe.PreviousNextClose
War breaks out
War breaks out
War breaks out
It’s the middle of the night. Otto, Edith, Margot, Anne and Granny Holländer, Edith’s mother – who’s been living with them for almost a year – wake up to threatening sounds and loud bangs. What’s going on? They stand quietly in front of the window. They don’t understand. It’s not thunder. The sky’s too clear for that. Then they see that it’s planes flying to and fro. And those loud bangs - it looks like bombs are falling. This can only mean one thing: the German army is attacking Schiphol airport.
It’s 10 May 1940 and Otto and Edith are terribly shocked. They do their best not to let Anne and Margot notice. They’ve been scared about this for a while. They’ve followed the news closely. They’ve read that Hitler rules Germany like a dictator. They’ve heard about the murders committed against Jews, about men who are picked up for no reason and disappear into camps. Six months ago he invaded Poland, a month ago Denmark and Norway. And now he's attacking the Netherlands. What does Hitler want? Does he want to be boss of the whole of Europe?
The hours go by. When it gets light, it goes quiet. It’s a strange, sinister silence. Early in the morning a declaration on behalf of Queen Wilhelmina is read out on the radio. Now their fears are confirmed. Germany has indeed invaded the Netherlands. The queen says that the Netherlands will fight back. The Netherlands will not surrender!
Meanwhile the sun is shining amicably. It seems like a lovely spring day. Nothing special. What’s going on out there and in the rest of the country? Nobody knows.
Anne and Margot go to school as usual that morning and Otto goes to work. What would they do otherwise? Outside there’s nothing to be seen of the war. But the children are sent home again. The schools close until more is clear.
That evening Anne and Margot watch their parents as they cover the windows with black-out paper. Not a spot of light must be seen. Then the German planes can’t see where they are so well, Edith and Otto undoubtedly explain. But they certainly don’t say that the paper must also help prevent the windows from shattering if a bomb falls nearby. They’ve never wanted to make Margot and Anne frightened and now do their very best again to remain calm.
In the days that follow, Dutch and German troops fight vehemently but the Dutch army is too weak. The centre of Rotterdam is largely destroyed by German bombs. The Germans threaten to do this to other cities. Then the Netherlands decides to surrender. From now on Nazi Germany is the boss in the Netherlands.
On 15 May German soldiers enter Amsterdam. They cross the Berlagebrug, a bridge close to where Anne lives. Many people stay at home, worried and anxious. But there are also Amsterdammers who don’t want to miss this. It’s much too exciting. Some people are even pleased at the arrival of the Nazis. There’s much unemployment and poverty in the Netherlands too. Maybe that Hitler can also seriously shake things up here and solve the problems.
A day later a procession of triumphant German soldiers ride through the centre of Amsterdam. They’re not far from Otto’s office but he and his staff stay inside. Without seeing the troops, they know that from now on they’re going to have problems. Serious problems.PreviousNextClose
Going into hiding
Going into hiding
Going into hiding
A beautiful, peaceful, sunny Sunday, 5 July 1942. Just under an hour ago Anne was sitting on the roof terrace reading a book in the sun. But the relaxed Sunday morning atmosphere has completely changed. Otto, Edith, Anne and Margot rush from one room to another in their home on Merwedeplein (Merwede Square). They mustn’t forget this, or that, or that either. Since the card for Margot arrived this afternoon, all four are furiously busy getting ready. But there’s little time.
It says on the card that Margot must report to go to a German work camp. But that is not going to happen. Definitely not. Otto and Edith have heard and read enough not to trust the Nazis. They know that Jews are sent to camps and do not survive. No way are they going to expose Margot to that danger.
But ignoring a call-up is an offence. So there is only one possibility - the entire Frank family must go into hiding. They’ll leave early tomorrow. Maybe they’ll have to disappear for a longer period of time. So it’s essential not to forget anything important.
For months Otto has been preparing the hiding place with the help of his employees Kugler and Kleiman. What’s more, he’d already planned a date when they would go to the hiding place: 16 July. Now that Margot has been called up, they can’t put it off any longer.
Anne knew nothing about father’s plans to go into hiding. She also doesn’t know where they’re going. Perhaps to a farm, somewhere in the country. No idea. She only knows that she must get her things together.
Anne’s diary is the first thing she packs. She was given it two weeks ago on her thirteenth birthday. She’s immensely pleased with it. In any case she must take the diary. And the fountain pen that Granny Holländer gave her. And what else?
Miep comes round. She works for Otto and often comes to the Frank family home. Miep has brought her husband Jan with her. They’re given things to take with them under their jackets and in their pockets. Later they come back for a second load. They say they’ll make sure the possessions arrive at the hiding place.
Otto and Edith explain to Anne that she can’t take any suitcases. That would attract attention. Jews aren’t allowed to travel anymore. Somebody might betray them. In any case, they’ve got to walk quite a way. So the bags mustn’t be too heavy. Mother makes a pile of clothes for Anne, which she has to put on over each other the next morning. The more they can take the better.
But the cat can’t go with them. Anne loves Moortje very much. It makes her sad that she has to leave her behind. Otto writes a note to the neighbours asking them to take care of Moortje. They’ll definitely do that. In another note, which they’ll leave in the house, is an address in Switzerland. The idea is that everyone will think they’ve gone there. That’s what Anne’s friend Hanneli will conclude the following day, when she rings the bell to fetch the kitchen scales Edith had borrowed. The family’s suddenly gone. The only explanation is that they’ve found a way to go to Switzerland.
But they don’t go to Switzerland. They stay close to home.
A short night follows. Miep collects Margot early. They leave together by bike. Jews have had to give up their bikes, so actually Margot isn’t allowed to cycle. But she’s taken her star off her jacket. The next half hour she’s not Jewish. That’s an offence but there’s no alternative. So they must get to the hiding place as fast as possible. Anne still doesn’t know where it is.
Outside it’s pouring with rain. Now Anne, Otto and Edith leave too. They pick up their bags and close the front door behind them. To Anne’s astonishment they walk to Otto’s office on Prinsengracht. Margot and Miep are already there. There, behind the office, is a space where they will live for the coming time. Hermann and Auguste van Pels and their son Peter will also go into hiding there. It’s a sort of house behind a house. The Secret Annexe.PreviousNextClose
It’s Monday 12 July 1943. In the Annexe it’s quiet like it always is during office hours. After all, they’re not there! Four of Otto’s workers know that people are hiding in the building. They are the helpers. But there are also workers who know nothing. In business premises like these, moreover, many people come and go. Silence thus. They can’t be careful enough.
But silence still doesn’t mean that you can be alone with your own thoughts, Anne notices. There are always people around you. Often people who are tense. People who, moreover, are certainly not your friends, to put it mildly. Only Peter - Hermann and Auguste van Pels’s son, who also live in the Annexe - has his own room. Well, room. It’s a sort of small hall to the attic. But he can close the door. Then he is alone.
Anne also really wants to be alone now and again. Soon she’s going to ask Mr Pfeffer if they can make some arrangements about this. Fritz Pfeffer is the eighth person in hiding. He’s a dentist, the same age as her father and came in November, three months after they and the Van Pels family went into hiding in the Annexe. Since Pfeffer arrived, Anne no longer shares her room with Margot but with him.
It’s a narrow room. Their two beds just fit. It’s stuffy because the window must never be opened. Then someone might think that someone was there. For the same reason, the curtains are always closed. Anne sleeps with her head towards the door, Mr Pfeffer towards the window. Otherwise they would be lying extremely close to one another. And he snores.
The nicest spot in the room is the table. When you come in, it’s immediately on the left at the foot of Mr Pfeffer’s bed. There’s a chair next to it and a shelf above it with a few books and a table lamp. It’s a very simple small table but it’s unbelievably important to Anne. That’s why she wants to ask Mr Pfeffer to be allowed to sit at the table undisturbed a couple of times a week. Without him in the room, thus.
At the table she can write. She can open her diary, pick up her fountain pen and write. And write. And write. There’s nothing so wonderful but also nothing so important. If she can, Anne writes every day. She writes about what she’s going through, what she feels, about her sorrows, her fears, but also about the crazy happenings in the Annexe.
It’s far more than just writing for a while. Writing is for Anne far more than something to do. It means everything to her. She hasn’t got any friends to chatter to. She mustn’t talk at all during the day. Let alone shout, cry or slam the doors. Everything that a girl of her age, who’s under enormous stress every day, would sometimes want to do. But she can write. She wants to write. Later she’ll be a writer. So there’s lots to do. But now some privacy. She must organize that.
Anne asks it as nicely and in as friendly a way as she can. Whether she please, please may have the room to herself two afternoons a week for a few hours to write at the table. Mr Pfeffer would hear nothing of it. He wants to sit at the table. He’s got work to do. His attitude is rather, Who on earth do you think you are?
But Anne doesn’t give up and asks father for help. He makes it clear to Mr Pfeffer that the table is also very important to Anne. An arrangement is made. An arrangement about the little table. Now Anne can sometimes close the door behind her and be alone. Alone with paper, pen and table.PreviousNextClose
Silberbauer he’s called, Karl Josef Silberbauer, and he wears the uniform of the SD, the Security Service. He goes by car to Prinsengracht and stops in front of number 263. That morning, the morning of 4 August 1944, the head office of the German Security Service has received a telephone call. There are said to be Jews hiding at this address. Silberbauer has come to pick them up. He’s got a couple of Dutch policemen with him who work for the Nazis. Silberbauer has his pistol at the ready. The other men too.
They’ve been through the whole building and keep one of the workers, Mr Kugler, covered. Now they are standing in a sort of office space where there’s a wooden filing cabinet. There are files in the cabinet and a map hangs above it. At first sight, nothing special.
On the other side of the door, those in hiding look at each other in horror. What is happening at the revolving bookcase? At this time of the day it’s normally quiet. They hear voices. Strange voices. That one voice, is it German?
The bookcase can evidently turn. And behind it is a door. The door swings open. Silberbauer goes first, holding his pistol in front of him, threateningly. The men spread out – two downstairs, two upstairs. Behind that door there’s a whole world. The world where eight people have now lived for more than two years. All that time they were safe here. In a matter of seconds it’s over. It is 4 August 1944 and they’ve been betrayed.
Otto is helping Peter with his English homework in Peter’s room. An armed man sends them downstairs. They see Margot, Anne, Edith, and Auguste and Hermann van Pels standing there. They’ve all got their hands up. Now Fritz Pfeffer comes in. He too is covered.
‘Valuables?’ says Silberbauer. Otto points to a small box. The men empty it. They have to hand over everything of value. The men themselves also search for gold, jewellery and other items of value. Cupboards are searched, drawers pulled open. Silberbauer sees a briefcase at the head of Otto’s bed. It is where Anne keeps her diaries and other papers. She entrusts them to her father. Every night, for two years now.
In a couple of strides Siberbauer is at the briefcase. He opens it, looks inside and then turns it upside down. Anne’s diaries drop to the floor, as do all the other papers. They don’t interest him and he leaves them. Then he sees a chest. He’s surprised. Isn’t it an army chest? How did this man get it? Otto explains that he was an officer in the German army during World War I. That reduces Silberbauer to silence for a moment.
Otto, Edith, Margot, Anne, Mr and Mrs van Pels, Peter, Mr Pfeffer. They’re given some time to gather some things together. They scarcely talk to each other. The armed men watch while they pack. Then they go down the stairs one by one, though the hallways to the front door. For the first time in two years they leave the building. There’s a lorry outside. As well as those who’d been in hiding, helpers Kleiman and Kugler have to get in too. They feel the wind and the sun. What a long time ago that’s been! It’s a glorious summer day, 4 August 1944, and they have no idea of what lies before them.PreviousNextClose
It’s cold. So terribly cold. It’s February 1945. Who still takes notice of the time? It’s cold. That’s it. And there’s almost nothing. Nothing to eat, nothing to drink, no warm clothes, no blankets, no decent bed to sleep in. There are only many, many hungry, completely crushed people. Wherever you look, they wander around aimlessly looking for… well, what actually? Only death, disease, misery and hopelessness are to be found.
One of the people in the middle of the shadows in the camp is Auguste van Pels. She’s just had an extraordinary meeting and can’t wait to tell Anne about it.
Anne and Margot, like Auguste van Pels, have ended up in Bergen-Belsen in Germany. About six months ago they were taken from the Annexe to Westerbork transit camp. From there they had to go to Auschwitz, the German concentration camp in Poland. Margot and Anne were unexpectedly moved on again. Mother’s still in Auschwitz.
Since arriving in Auschwitz they haven’t seen father. That applies to Peter, Mr van Pels and Mr Pfeffer too. They’ve lost everyone. But Mrs van Pels has news for Anne. She’s found someone who’s very dear to Anne. That’ll certainly do her good.
Anne’s ill. She’s got typhus. It’s an infectious disease that you catch extra quickly if you’re weakened and conditions are dirty. You get a fever and stomach ache and have to vomit. Because everyone is weak and hygiene is virtually non-existent, more or less everyone has typhus. Margot too.
‘Anne, I’ve found your friend. It’s Hanneli. She’s here too!’
Hanneli. That’s unbelievable news. In the Annexe Anne had dreamed about her. In her dream Hanneli had ended up in a dreadful camp, while Anne was safe in the Annexe. They haven’t seen or spoken to each other for two and a half years. Now she’s here. In the middle of all those ten thousand people, Mrs van Pels has found her.
Hanneli will come to the barbed wire that evening. She’ll stand on one side and Anne on the other. At least, if it works. They’ll run a huge risk. People from different parts of the camp aren’t allowed contact with each other and there are watch towers everywhere. Reeds have been woven through the barbed wire to form a high fence between Anne’s part of the camp and Hanneli’s. So they won’t be able to see each other. And they’ll have little time. But they’re going to try.
That evening both of them walk along the barbed wire and softly call each other’s name. ‘Anne.’ ‘Hanneli.’ They keep walking along the barbed wire until they find each other. Then they quickly whisper something to each other. Hanneli says she is in the camp with her granny, father and sister. And she thought that Anne was safely in Switzerland. Anne says that her father and mother are dead. It can hardly be otherwise. That Margot is very sick. And that she’s terribly hungry.
Hanneli’s in a part of the camp where it’s a bit better because they sometimes get food parcels. She promises Anne to go and look for something to eat. A couple of days later they’ll meet each other again.
‘Anne, are you there?’
‘I’ll throw a package over the barbed wire. Here it comes.’
Hanneli has scraped together some food. It’s not much but for Anne and Margot, who are now extremely weak, it’s of vital importance. Then Hanneli hears someone crying. It’s Anne. She didn’t catch the package. Another woman did and she’s sped off with the loot.
Hanneli tries to lift Anne’s spirits. And she promises to try again. Two days later they succeed. Anne has found Hanneli again and this time she catches the package. She’ll open it quickly with Margot, who is now so ill. ‘We’ll talk here again at the barbed wire,’ they agree.
How could they know that this would be the last time they would hear each other’s voices?PreviousNextClose
It’s spring 1947. Otto Frank is holding a book, Anne’s diary. On the cover there are dark clouds and the title, Het Achterhuis. The author’s name is at the top in yellow letters, Anne Frank. In a few months she would have been eighteen. And she would have been unbelievably proud of this book, this real book, which she worked on while hiding in the Annexe. So many times she’d asked herself if she could write well enough to publish a book. And whether people would find her stories interesting enough to read them. But now there is a book. Anne’s dream has come true.
There would not be a book if the helpers Miep and Bep had not gone back to the Annexe after those hiding there had been arrested. Shortly after the Security Service had picked up the Frank family, the Van Pels family and Pfeffer the dentist, Miep and Bep sneaked back to the Annexe. They took the diary and other note books, cash books and papers that Anne had filled with writing. Miep put them in a drawer to give back to Anne after the war. But Anne did not come back.
And that’s why Otto Frank was given them, now almost two years ago, on the day he heard that Margot and Anne were no longer alive. While they were in hiding, every evening Anne had put her diary notes in an old briefcase and put that beside his bed. He may, no, he had to take care of them. He had never read a line of her diaries. He could still see before him how the SD officer turned the briefcase upside down on the day of the arrest and how Anne’s papers had fallen to the ground. So much had happened since then.
At first he had only read tiny bits. Anne’s stories about life in the Annexe moved him so much, it was almost too difficult. Of the eight who hid in the Annexe he was the only one still alive. As he read, they came alive again. It was too painful.
After a time his daughter’s stories gripped him. Couldn’t Anne write superbly! She had an eye for the smallest of details and could describe people’s characters well. She reported events so well that he saw them all before him again. She wrote with humour, but also seriously and sorrowfully. He was surprised, amazed even that she had thought about so many things. He had no idea her thoughts and emotions went so deep.
He was so enthralled by the diaries that he had to talk about them! He showed parts of them to friends and translated sections into German for the family. ‘You must hear what Anne’s written now,’ he often said to Miep and Jan who had affectionately taken him into their home after the war. But they also found it dreadfully difficult to hear Anne’s words.
Some friends said to him that he must publish the diaries. Because people should know what it had been like. Because young and old could learn from Anne’s story. And above all, because it was Anne’s deepest wish. He really had to get used to that idea. Anne’s diaries were so private. Some parts were of no concern to anyone else, such as when she wrote unpleasant things about her mother. He knew that they didn’t always have a good relationship but did everybody else have to know? Anne and Edith were no longer here. His friends had convinced him. Anne’s diaries were so special that more people had to read them. Since then he had done his best to find a publisher.
It’s now spring 1947. Otto Frank is holding Anne’s diary in his hands. Three thousand copies were printed. Anne so wanted to become a writer. Now she has.PreviousNextClose
Talk or project?
Talk or project?
Are you going to give a talk or do a project about Anne Frank? In the Anne Frank Guide you’ll not only find everything about her life, you can also see what happed in the Netherlands during World War II.
You’ll find the Anne Frank Guide at www.annefrankguide.net.PreviousNextClose
Fair Play Game
Fair Play Game
In the game Fair Play six young talented footballers are selected for a football clinic in Rio: Julia, Aisha, Ab, Roy, Remco and you. One of you will be the new captain but then all sorts of unpleasant things happen. You can only become captain if you stand up for victims of discrimination. But just like real life, that’s not always easy. What do your team mates really think about it? And what do you actually think? You have to be able to deal with other people’s prejudices and your own. You don’t become captain just like that, not in Fair Play! There’s discrimination! What do you do? Your choices matter…
Play the game at the URL provided on your screen (www.playfairplay.nl)
You see Rhino in the video. He plays Roy in Fair Play and tells why it’s important to discuss discrimination.PreviousNextClose
The Anne Frank Ambassadors
The Anne Frank Ambassadors
Are you between 16 and 19 years of age? Do you think it’s important to stand up for equal rights and oppose prejudice and discrimination? Do you want to learn new skills and build up an international network? Do you want to make an exhibition about Anne Frank and her ideals? Then become an Anne Frank ambassador.
To become an Anne Frank ambassador you follow a training course. You learn about the history of World War II and the story of Anne Frank, as well as everything about identity, prejudice and discrimination now. These are all core themes that the Anne Frank House dedicates itself to. With other young people, together you’ll develop an exhibition of photos and films about the meaning of Anne Frank and the commemoration of the end of the war 70 years ago. Lastly you can set up your own project.
Do you want to know more? Click on annefrank.orgPreviousNextClose
1 reviewReview this tour
Diese App ist sehr gut kindgerecht umgesetzt worden. Ich denke, dass sich damit meine Söhne (10 und 12) gut auf den Besuch im Museum vorbereiten können!
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