story of the Frank family began in Germany in the 1920's when Otto and
Edith Frank led a happy life, highlighted by the births of their
daughters Margot and Anne. She and her older sister Margot, frequently
spent their summer in Aachen, Germany, with their grandmother. In 1933,
in response to Hitler's anti-Jewish decrees, Otto Frank opened a branch
of his company, Opteka, in Amsterdam and began planning to bring his
Frank family finally moved into a house on Medwedplein in southern
Amsterdam in 1933 and Anne began to attend the nearby Montessori school,
where she excelled. Anne made many friends and was an exceptional
family's feelings of security collapsed, however, when in 1940, Adolf
Hitler and his troops conquered Holland and the freedom of the Jews
began to be severely restricted. Dictates on where Jews could shop, swim
or go to school became a part of everyday life.
of where those restrictions might ultimately lead, Otto Frank spent the
year preparing and stocking an annex behind his business office at
Prinsengracht 263 into a hiding place.
her 13th birthday in 1942 Anne received as a gift from her parents, a
diary. She immediately took to writing her intimate thoughts and
musings. A few short weeks later, however, Margot received a notice from
the Nazi SS to report for work detail at a labor camp. On July 5th,
1942, Anne and the Frank family moved to the "Secret Annex"
adjacent to Otto Frank's former office on Prinsengracht.
A model of the 3rd floor
the thirteen-year-old and her family went into hiding from the Nazis,
the diary went with her. She called it Kitty, and for the two
years she spent in hiding, the diary was her solace, her confidant, her
friend. What she recorded there were, in many ways, the ordinary
thoughts and feelings of a teenage girl. But she was a teenage girl
living under extraordinary circumstances in ominous times.
Eight people eventually came to live in the secret annex. There were the
four members of the Frank family, Otto Frank, Edith Frank, Margot and
Anne, three from the Van Pels family, Herman and Auguste Van Pels and
their son Peter, and an elderly dentist named Pfeffer.
The closed bookcase
and the bookcase opened
you find an excellent CAD
Model of the secret Annex by Michael Bloomenfeld, The Art
Anne's famous diary captured two years of hiding in the attic above the
store, but it ended on August 4, 1944, when their hiding place was
betrayed, probably by a Dutch woman Lena Hartog-van Bladeren. She was
one of the cleaning women working in the office in front of the annex
All those who lived there were arrested by the Nazis and deported to
the Gestapo men searched the annex for valuables such as money, the
briefcase in which Anne kept her writings was opened and the papers were
scattered on the floor. Little did these men realize the eventual value
of these materials. However, the two women, Miep Gies and Bep Voskuijl,
had known of Anne's intense feelings about these papers and gathered
them up for safe keeping.
few weeks later, as the Allies began retaking Holland, the inhabitants
of the camp were moved to Auschwitz
and later to other camps. At the gates of Auschwitz, Otto Frank was
separated from his family for the last time.
Frank was the only one of the original 8 residents of the secret annex
to survive. Van Pels died in the Auschwitz gas chambers and Pfeffer died
at the Neuengamme camp in Germany.
and Margot ultimately ended up in Bergen-Belsen
in Germany, after being evacuated from Auschwitz in October, 1944. As
starvation. cold and disease swept through the camp's population,
Margot, developed typhus and died. A few days later, Anne herself, in
April, 1945, succumbed to the disease a few weeks before the camp was
liberated by the British. She was 15 years old ...
she never lived to see her 16th birthday, Anne Frank's innermost
thoughts scribbled on scraps of paper challenge us, and shame us, a full
fifty years after her death. Her life serves as eulogy to the millions
of children who perished in World War II.
did not leave her legacy as an ode to the past - but as a beacon of hope
to the future ...