Jews Captured in Secret Annex

May 17, 2008
By Julie Robinson, Hattiesburg, MS

The Secret Police recently captured Jewish fugitives hiding in the city of Amsterdam. The criminals were found in the very small house connected to an office building at 263 Prinsengracht St. It is said that they lived there for over two years. The residents consisted of eight weak, malnourished people. They were caught two days ago at around ten thirty in the morning, August 4, 1944. The Secret Police took them in for questioning which lasted a great length of time. When they finished, I had the pleasure of interviewing each and every member of this crime.

The first person I interviewed was Otto Frank, owner of the small house and organizer of their plan. He brought with him his wife and two daughters. In what has come to be known as the Secret Annex, he taught his daughters so they wouldn’t get behind on their school work. Frank married his wife on May, 12, 1925 in the city of Frankfurt. Frank allowed another family, Van Daan, and a single man, Albert Dussel, to live in the Secret Annex along with his family even though it was barely adequate for his own family.

Edith Frank was the next to be interviewed. Her two daughters are Anne and Margot. As Nazism was growing stronger, the Franks moved to Amsterdam in 1933 where Mr. Frank established a branch of his company in an office building with a small house built in the top of the building. Mrs. Frank was anxious to be done to look over her daughters.

I then interviewed Margot Frank, oldest daughter of Otto and Edith. She is a mature, responsible young lady who seems to always be in the background of her sister. It seemed that she was jealous of her sister, Anne’s relationship with the other young adult in the Secret Annex, Peter Van Daan. Margot fears what lies ahead after being captured.

I was intrigued by Anne Frank-a bubbly, vivacious, talkative young lady. She told me that she had gotten an autograph book but had wanted to use it as a diary. She filled two other notebooks as well. Anne said when the Holocaust was over she would get them published. This perky girl fell in love with Peter Van Daan during their time in the Secret Annex. In closing Anne said she was glad to finally be outside again breathing fresh air, but she knew it would not be for long.

I then interviewed Albert Dussel a German dentist and jaw surgeon who came to the Frank’s for safety after their home was established. Dussel said he was very grateful to the Franks for their hospitality. After they discussed where he would sleep, the Franks and Van Daans adjusted and put him in a room with the youngest Frank daughter, Anne. He complained often due to the effect of Anne’s many nightmares. Dussel said Anne would wake up in the middle of the night screaming because of a nightmare about here best friend, Hannah. He constantly criticized Anne in everything she did. The stress of living so close to these people was a great change from what he was used to. It took great effort on his part to adapt to the situation of living with seven other people in such a confined area.

I next talked to Mr. Herman Van Daan. He, his wife and son, Peter stayed with the Franks. Van Daan complained that they never had enough food in the house. It got to the point where he was actually stealing food in the middle of the night from the famished people living with him, Mrs. Frank tells me. He and his wife had one son, Peter. Other residents of the cramped house told me he often had a temper because of his addiction to cigarettes. Van Daan suffered in the Secret Annex from these obstacles, but he knows what lies ahead will be much, much worse.

I then met briefly with Mrs. Patranella Van Daan. She and her husband, Herman, married on December 5, 1025 and had their only child, Peter, almost a year from then. She said she was used to “the best money can buy”. So the abrupt change came as a shock to her. Mrs. Van Daan knew her husband needed more food than the rest of the occupants of the Secret Annex. So when she served the food for all the people she always gave here husband just a little bit more food. But it seems it was enough extra food to be noticed because Mrs. Frank told me this.

Finally I spoke with Peter Van Daan about life in the Secret Annex. He told me first it was challenging because Anne pestered him all the time, but as they grew closer life became pleasurable when Anne came to his room where they could be alone. He had a cat named Mouschi who he loved dearly but tragically jumped out of a window in the Secret Annex. He, however, secretly thinks his irritating father threw Mouschi out because he hated him. He just hopes that Anne, who in his opinion has a pure, genuine heart and only looks for the good in people, is protected, but I personally doubt that will happen.

The Secret Police have not disclosed their intentions on dealing with the people of the Secret Annex. From my former experiences with these situations, I believe that they will be sent to concentration camps and/or killed.

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