Who was Anne Frank?
Anne Frank, Annelies Marie Frank in full, was born in 1929 in Frankfurt am Main. Her parents, Otto and Edith Frank, were both Jewish, and when the Nazis came to power in Germany her father decided to emigrate to Holland. He went first, and Anne, her mother and her sister Margot followed a little later, in 1934. They settled in Amsterdam, where Anne attended first a Montessori school, then the Jewish Lyceum.
But when the Germans invaded Holland in 1940, they established stricter laws for Jewish people, as they had in Germany. When Anne turned 13 on 12 June 1942, she was given a poetry album, which she would instead use as a diary. Not long after that, on 6 July, the family went into hiding in a secret annex to the house at Prinsengracht 263 (now the Anne Frank House museum).
The Secret Annex
The building was home to Opekta, Anne’s father’s company. The first floor of the building’s annex was a storeroom, and the Frank family and the people who hid with them lived on the second and third floors. During the day, they had to be very quiet – the business continued its operations as normal, and not everyone who worked there was aware of the people hiding in the annex.
Anne wrote in great detail in her diaries about the time she spent in hiding, until, on 4 August 1944, she and her fellow refugees were betrayed and transported first to Auschwitz, then to Bergen-Belsen. There, in March 1945, mere weeks before the end of the war, Anne died of typhoid fever and exhaustion. Of all the people hiding in the secret annex, only her father survived the war. It was he who eventually made sure that her diaries were published.