A work in progress edited by
Department of Adult Education, Community Development and Counselling Psychology,
The Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto (OISE/UT)
of Anne Frank is the story of a young Jewish girl who with her family and four
others was forced into hiding from the Nazis. She
tells her story with sensitivity and honesty. People
all over the world have read her account of her life in hiding and her diary
serves as a constant reminder to society that these horrific crimes against
humanity never be repeated.
years prior to Anne Frank’s first journal entry life would become more
difficult for Jews living in Germany. The
rise of Adolph Hitler and the Nazi party impregnated all aspects of society with
hate towards Jews and other minorities. The
Nazi party, which came to power in 1933, systematically took away all
citizens’ rights that Jews had enjoyed since the end of World War I.
In 1933, Otto Frank (Anne’s father) moved his family to Amsterdam to escape the Nazi regime. By May 1940, Germany invaded the Netherlands, and the Frank family, like all Jews, became under the control of the Nazi party. Jews were fired from all government positions, all businesses owned by Jews were liquidated and all Jews were required to register with the town registrar. In December of 1940 Otto Frank passed his prospering food and chemical business to his non-Jewish friends and the business was moved to 263 Prinsengracht, the building that would serve as their “hiding place “ for two years.
During that period, many restrictions were placed on Jews. On May 2, 1942 all Jews were forced to wear yellow badges with the “Star of David”. Jewish children were not allowed to attend either Public or High Schools, and all Jews were banned from appearing in public places. As life became more difficult, Otto Frank began to create a plan to move his family into hiding. Along with four other people, they hid in a secret annex at the back of his business for two years (from July 9, 1942 to August 1, 1944). With the help of some friends, the eight inhabitants were able to live in secret until the Germans found them on August 1, 1944.
received her diary on her thirteenth birthday (Friday, June 12, 1942) and wrote
her first entry on that day. Her entries are filled with events that reflect those
times, and many of her reflections and comments she recounts are timeless.
Anne is a typical teenager. The
diary allows the reader to share her most private thoughts, feelings and
experiences, which have many similarities with issues that teenagers face today.
Anne Frank illustrates through words a clear and honest account of
everyday life. The reader is able to look closely at a myriad of relationships,
from the tensions in the interactions between mother and daughter, to the
infatuations of a budding romance, to the rivalry between her and her sister
Margot. Her entries vividly detail
the intimate relationships that develop within the confines of the annex.
Her writing is a testimony to spirit, courage and hope.
One of her entries dated Wednesday, January 13, 1943 illustrates a
barrage of emotions. The following are
snippets from the day’s entry.
are happening outside. At anytime
of night and day, poor helpless people are being dragged out of their homes”
“Families are torn apart:
“As for us, we’re quite fortunate.
Luckier than millions of people.”
“I could spend hours telling you about the suffering the war has
brought, but I’d only make myself more miserable.
All we can do is wait, as calmly as possible, for it to end.
Jews and Christians alike are waiting, the whole world is waiting, and
many are waiting for death.” (p.82)
earliest accounts, Anne appears to be a mature and articulate young woman.
The reader is able to experience her pain, suffer her loneliness and
celebrate her joys. The questions that
she poses and her thought-provoking explanations remind us that her wisdom
reached well beyond her young age. Anne
Frank’s first person account of her confinement allows the reader to slip into
her life and experience her frustrations and fears. It is these emotions that reinforce the message her diary
evokes, that these horrific acts against humanity shall never again be
Anne Frank’s diary began as her personal and private account of life in hiding. In 1944 a radio broadcaster from London announced that after the war he hoped to collect eyewitness accounts of the suffering of the Dutch people under the Germans. Hearing this, Anne began to rewrite her diary, editing passages that she thought were uninteresting and adding events that she remembered. At the same time, she continued writing the original diary.
of the diary were discovered after the Franks were arrested and
Miep Gies, the secretary put them safely
away. After the war,
Anne’s father decided to honour her wishes and publish her diary, selecting
materials from both versions. Anne
Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl continues
to be read around the world.
Anne The Diary of a Young Girl, The Definitive Edition ,
edited by Otto H. Frank and Mirjam Pressler , Translated by Susan Massotty,
Bantam Books, 1997
Anne Frank Remembered, The Story of the Woman Who Helped to Hide the Frank
Family, Simon and Shuster, New York 1988
Prepared by Barb Rabin (OISE/University of Toronto)
Citation: Rabin, Barb (2001). 1942: Anne Frank leaves school, goes into hiding and starts writing her diary. In Daniel Schugurensky (Ed.), History of Education: Selected Moments of the 20th Century [online]. Available: http://fcis.oise.utoronto.ca/~daniel_schugurensky/assignment1/1942annefrank.html (date accessed).
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