The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank

By , Pearland, TX
In January 1933, Adolf Hitler was declared chancellor of Germany. Just two months later, he organized a boycott of any shop, store, doctors, lawyers, etc, of Jewish ownership. In July of the same year, he banned all political parties other than the Nazi party so he would get reelected. This is when Germany became a dictatorship. One month later, after President von Hindenburg’s death, Hitler became President of Germany. He gives himself the title "Führer and Reich Chancellor." This phrase he used to address himself, translates to “Leaders and Imperial Chancellor”. In September of 1935, the German Government introduced Race Laws. According to this law, all rights Jews had are taken away from them. Jews and Non-Jews cannot marry each other. In November of 1938, Kristallnacht happens. Nazis destroy Jewish synagogues, shops, and homes throughout Germany. 10,000s of Jews are arrested; 200 Jews are murdered at a minimum. As you might have guessed, Kristallnacht means the “Night of Broken Glass”. On the first of September, Germany invaded Poland. This is what started the war in Europe. Soon after, Great Britain declared war on Germany; 7 days later, Canada declares war on Germany. The German Army attacks Denmark. Denmark surrenders within four hours. Germany, Japan, and Italy make a treaty promising to help each other attack the United States of America. In August, a law passes that declares that “In Germany, all Jews aged six or older must wear a yellow Star of David.” Germany opens Auschwitz in September 1941; the first people are 600 Russian Prisoners and 250 others. High ranking Nazis meet secretly (called the Wannsee Conference); they discussed how to carry out Hitler’s decision: to kill all 11 million Jews in Europe. British troops surrender in Singapore to the Japanese after 7 days of fighting while Italian troops surrender in North Africa. All of a sudden one year later, Italy surrenders completely; a month later, Italy declares war on Germany! July 20th, 1944, an assassination attempt on Hitler led by Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg fails. Germany’s power is falling. According to Anne Frank, “Anyway, it clearly shows that there are lots of officers and generals who are sick of the war and would like to see Hitler descend into a bottomless pit.”(Page 264). October 30th, 1944, The Nazis operate the gas chambers at Auschwitz-Birkenau for the last time. Then they were destroyed, due to the approaching Russian Army. Hitler commits suicide on April 30th, 1945. 7 days later, Germany surrenders unconditionally. The total number of Jews that died is forever unknown forever. The best estimates: 6 million. 11 million people died in all, Jew and Gentile. 1942
“‘The S.S. has sent a call-up notice for Daddy,’ she [Margot] whispered. ‘Mummy has gone to see Mr. Van Dan already.’” (Page 13) Anne pictured the concentration camps. If they followed the call-up, then there is no hope of escaping the Nazis! They needed to go into hiding. If they didn’t, they would have a shortage on food and would be left alone never seeing each other again most likely. If they gave in, they would be victims to diseases and no doctors. If they gave in, they would have been put in gas chambers. If they gave in, many people would lose hope as well, even in modern times.
There are 8 members living in the Secret Annex. Mister Van Dan is the head of the table, the one who is first served. Anne describes him, “always gives his opinion as the only one worth listening to, and once he has spoken it is irrevocable…. he has the best opinion, he knows the most about everything. All right then, he has got brains, but ‘self-satisfaction’ has reached a high grade with this gentleman.”(Page 100) Then there is Mrs. Van Dan. Miep Gies remembers her as pretty and coquettish. (annefrank.org). That is exactly as Anne describes her. “One, she is industrious, two, gay, three, coquette – and occasionally, pretty.” (Page 101) Then there is their son, Peter. When Anne described him in her journal from when they first met, she thought, “not sixteen yet, a rather soft, shy, gawky youth; can’t expect much from his company.” (Page 22). If you are getting confused about everything, don’t worry. The real names of the van Pels are Auguste van Pels, Hermann van Pels and Peter van Pels. However Anne called them in her diary Petronella van Dan, Hans van Dan, and Peter van Dan. Mister Fritz Pfeffer is the last person to enter the Secret Annex to hide. His wife, Charlotte Kaletta, is a Catholic, so she does not have to hide. However, she was out of the country when Mister Pfeffer arrived at the secret annex on November 17, 1942. Anne opinion has changed from, “Just as we thought, Pfeffer is a very nice man. Of course he didn't mind sharing a room with me; to be honest, I'm not exactly delighted at having a stranger use my things, but you have to make sacrifices for a good cause, and I'm glad I can make this small one.” To “Mr. Pfeffer, the man who was said to get along so well with children and to absolutely adore them, has turned out to be an old-fashioned disciplinarian and preacher of unbearably long sermons on manners.” His name also was changed in Anne’s Diary; his name in her diary is Albert Dussel.
Also in the Secret Annex is Anne’s Family: Margot (her older sister), Mummy (Edith Frank), and Daddy (Otto Frank). According to the annefrank.org website, “An entire book could be written about Anne and her mother's relationship during the hiding period. The mutual irritations are extensive. In her diary, Anne concludes: ‘I need my mother to set a good example and be a person I can respect, but in most matters she's an example of what not to do.’ Of course Anne realizes their quarrels are also fueled by the unusual situation they find themselves in: ‘Those violent outbursts on paper are simply expressions of anger which, in normal life, I could have worked off by locking myself in my room and stamping my foot a few times or calling Mother names behind her back.’” (www.annefrank.org). Margot is a mouse. She is quiet, only eats and makes herself invisible. When Anne is trying to decide who to talk to in March of 1944, she writes, “Margot is very sweet and would like me to trust her, but still, I can’t tell her everything. She’s a darling, she’s good and pretty, but she lacks the nonchalance for conducting deep discussions; she takes me so seriously, much too seriously, and then thinks about her queer little sister for a long time afterward.” (Page 172). According to Miep Gies’ autobiography, Otto Frank (known as Pim in Anne’s diary): "The calm one, the children’s teacher, the most logical, the one who balanced everything out. He was the leader, the one in charge. When a decision had to be made, all eyes turned to Mr. Frank.” Anne wrote this about her father in 1944 of July the 15th, “Besides, I can't confide in anyone unless they tell me a lot about themselves, and because I know very little about Pim [Otto], I can't get on a more intimate footing... I've hid anything having to do with me from Father, never shared my ideals with him, deliberately alienated myself from him," (Page 261). The final person in the Secret Annex is Anne Frank herself. According to the Three Helpers that kept them in hiding and Anne Frank too, she became more adult like. Each one tells the world what Anne Frank was like. Johannes Kleiman: “Anne was thirteen when she came here and fifteen when she was taken away. In those two years she went from being a child to being a young woman.” Miep shares this opinion: “Anne became more and more adult while they were in hiding. I never noticed that she and Peter were in love. Anne was interested in what was going on in the world. When I spoke to her I had the feeling that I was speaking to an adult.” Bep also adds to this: "I always admired Anne because she was the youngest and the difficult circumstances of that time must have affected her. But you never noticed anything, she didn’t complain, she was always joking. She was satisfied and although she was a young girl, she accepted her situation with the understanding of an adult.”
Even though Anne Frank died, her writing has influenced millions about Nazi Germans in Holland. Otto Frank her father wrote, “When I returned and after I had the news that my children would not be coming back, Miep gave me the diary which had been saved by, I should say, a miracle. It took me a very long time before I could read it. And I must say, I was very much surprised about the deep thoughts that Anne had, her seriousness, especially her self-criticism. It was quite a different Anne than I had known as my daughter. She never really showed this kind of inner feeling. She talked about many things, criticized many things, but what her real feelings were, that I could only see from the diary."
Anne Frank once told the world through her diary “I want to go on living even after death.” Mr. Frank begins reading Anne's diary. It is surprising to him, because he realized how little he knew about his daughter, Anne. In her diary, Otto reads about the plan Anne had after the war to publish a book about the time she spent in the Secret Annex. She had even edited and rewritten a large portion of her original diary. Initially, Otto Frank feels uncertain about the idea but he finally decides to fulfill his daughter's wish. She inspires people around the world.

When a rude young man asked Supreme Court Justice Frankfurter to give a reason that humanity would be worth saving, he replied "I have read Anne Frank's Diary." When the play based on the Diary was shown to German audiences in the 1950's, waves of guilt and shame were released. For the first time, the German people began to confront the events of World War II. One West German student wrote: "I am not putting it properly when I say that I was shaken by the book. No, it goes deeper than that. Many books have shaken me up which I later managed to forget. But this diary has moved me to the depths and left a permanent impression. It has awakened an ideal within me that must shape whatever I do in the future." A young woman from the Philippines wrote "I first read Anne's diary when I was 15. I am now 19 and of all the books in the world I cherish her diary most. Although she is not a philosopher, a Nobel Prize winner, or a great contemporary thinker, she has influenced me as no one else could. I feel strongly that the diary has become a part of me. It has made me aware of myself. I now realize my shortcomings, my needs, my longings. I am not afraid anymore. And, like Anne, I want to do things with great force, great determination."
I know I can write. A few of my stories are good, my descriptions of the Secret Annex are humorous, much of my diary is vivid and alive, but... it remains to be seen whether I really have talent.
Anne Frank writing in her diary April 5, 1944.





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