Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Anne Frank

Anne Frank

Christina Weigand

Anne Frank was born on June 12 1929 in Frankfurt Germany. She was the youngest child of Edith and Otto Frank. Her father had an extensive library so she along with her older sister, Margot were both encouraged to read.  In 1933 the family moved to Amsterdam where Otto started a company that sold fruit extract pectin. The girls were enrolled in school, Margot in public school and Anne in a Montessori school. Margot demonstrated and aptitude for math while Anne showed an aptitude for reading and writing.

In May 1940 Germany invaded the Netherlands and began to persecute Jews. Otto tried to arrange for his family to emigrate to America, but the U.S. Consulate was closed and all of his paperwork lost. Anne was excelling in her studies, but when it was decreed that Jews could only attend Jewish schools she was enrolled in the Jewish Lyceum. In the meantime Otto had taken precautions to protect his family and businesses by transferring his shares in the companies and resigning as director. Because of these steps he was able to earn a minimal income.

In June 1942 Anne received a diary for her thirteenth birthday and
began writing in it almost immediately. In July 1942 the family was forced to move into hiding to prevent Margot’s relocation to a work camp. They moved into a three story space entered from a landing above the company offices and were later joined by the van Pels and Fritz Ffeffer.

Anne recorded all of this in her diary along with her observations of the happenings in the world outside of their hiding place. She examined her relationships with members of her family and the strong differences in their personalities. Anne felt closer to her father, while Margot was closer to their mother. As time passed and the girls matured they confided in each other and consequently became closer.

The sisters hoped to return to school once the hostilities were over, so continued their studies through correspondence courses as well as continued reading and writing. Anne constantly wrote and edited her diary entries in which she included a narrative of events as they occurred  as well as her feelings, beliefs and ambitions. She aspired to become a journalist

Her last entry was August 1, 1944.

On that day their hiding place was discovered and the family along with the others was taken into custody. The family was eventually sent to Auschwitz concentration camp where her father was wrenched from his family.

Anne and the other women were stripped naked to be disinfected, had their heads shaved and were tattooed with an identifying number. She along with the other women was used for slave labor, being forced to haul rocks and dig rolls of sod. At night she was crammed into an overcrowded barracks. Anne became ill and was moved into the infirmary and then in October 1944 was transferred to a labour camp. Her mother was left behind and died of starvation.

Early in 1945 a typhus epidemic spread through the camp and other diseases including typhoid fever were rampant.  It was in these horrible conditions that Anne died and was buried in a mass grave at an unknown location.

Otto Frank survived and after the death of the sisters was confirmed, Miep Gies, the woman who hid them, gave him the diary and a bundle of loose notes.

After several tries at publication, finally in 1947 he was successful. This was followed by more printings over the years. In 1955 a play based on the diary was premiered in New York City and followed in 1959 by a film which was a critical and commercial success.

Anne Frank as a writer and a humanist has grown through the years. She is frequently identified as a single representative of the millions of people who suffered as she did.

Over the years many people have tried to prove that the diary was a forgery. Fortunately all claims were disproved and the diary stands as a testament to the horrible actions of the times.

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