Anne Frank (born Annelies Marie Frank) was a young Jewish girl best known for her diary, The Diary of a Young Girl, which documented her life as a teen girl in hiding during the Nazi German occupation of the Netherlands in World War II.
Anne was born in Frankfurt, Germany on June 12, 1929. Her parents were Otto and Edith Frank. Anne and her family moved from Germany to the Netherlands after the Nazis came to power. In Amsterdam, Otto founded a company that traded in pectin, an ingredient used in making jam.
Things were good for a while until Germany invaded the Netherlands in May 1940. The Nazis introduced laws that made life difficult for Jews. Jews, for example, were not allowed to run their own businesses which meant Anne’s father lost his source of livelihood.
As the Nazi persecution of Jews became more intense, Anne’s father began building a secret hiding place in the annex of his business premises in 1942. When Margot, Anne’s sister, was called up to join a labor camp, they decided to go into hiding in the secret annex on July 6, 1942.
A week later, they were joined by Otto’s Jewish business associate Hermann van Pels, his wife Auguste, and their son Peter. In November the same year, they were joined by Fritz Pfeffer, a Jewish dentist. That brought the total number of people in the annex to 8
During their time in hiding, Anne kept a diary to keep herself busy. In her diary, she recorded the happenings in the secret annex as well as her thoughts and feelings about different things.
The group in the annex was able to hide successfully for two years but on August 4, 1944, the German SS and police discovered the hiding place. The Frank family and the four people hiding with them were arrested and sent to the Westerbork transit camp. A month later, the family, together with 1,019 other Jews, were sent to the concentration camp at Auschwitz-Birkenau in Poland.
Anne and her sister were later moved to the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in northern Germany in November 1944. A few months later, sometime in February or March 1945, Margot fell from her bunk and died. Anne died of typhus one day later at the age of 15.
Their mother, Edith, had died earlier in Auschwitz in January 1945. Anne’s father, Otto, was the only person in the family to survive the war when Auschwitz was liberated by the Soviet forces on January 27, 1945.
When Otto returned to Amsterdam after the war, he found out that his secretary had saved Anne’s diary. He published the diary in 1947. It was later translated into English in 1952. Since then, the diary has been translated into over 70 other languages.
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