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    Introduction: Who Is Anne Frank?

    Introduction: Who is Anne Frank?

    Anne Frank was born in Frankfurt, Germany in 1929. Her parents were Otto and Edith. Anne had an older sister named Margot. In 1933, the Frank family moved from Germany to Amsterdam, Holland to escape the Nazi regime. Seven years later, in May 1940, Germany invaded and occupied Holland. Trapped once again, the Frank family went into hiding at Otto Frank’s place of business in July 1942. Four other people joined the Franks in the so-called “Secret Annex”: the van Pels (Hermann, Auguste, and Peter) and Fritz Pfeffer. On August 4, 1944, someone betrayed the Franks and their friends to the Dutch Nazis; they were arrested and sent to the Westerbork transit camp. On September 3, 1944, the former residents of the Secret Annex were sent to Auschwitz-Birkenau. Anne and Margot were later transferred from Auschwitz-Birkenau to Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in Germany. Both Anne and Margot died of typhus within a few days of each other and only a few weeks before the camp’s liberation (April 15, 1945). Anne was 15 years old. The others who had hidden in the Secret Annex perished in various camps. Only Otto Frank survived and returned to Amsterdam after the war.

    What is the diary of Anne Frank?

    Anne’s diary is not one book but three separate books and 300 loose sheets of paper. It covers the period of Anne’s life from June 12, 1942, to August 1, 1944. (The Franks were arrested on August 4, 1944.)

    Anne received the red-plaid cloth diary for her thirteenth birthday in June 1942. She began writing in the diary before she and her family went into hiding. After the Franks and their friends were arrested, Miep Gies, one of those who helped the Franks while they were in hiding, found Anne’s writings and saved them. After the war, she gave them to Anne’s father Otto. Otto Frank compiled the materials into one narrative. He also edited out parts that discussed Anne’s relationship with her mother (which was strained) and other entries dealing with Anne’s budding sexuality. Modern editions of the diary now include all the material originally excluded by her father.

    Anne Frank in 1940, while at 6. Montessorischool, Niersstrraat 41-43, Amsterdam (the Netherlands). Photograph by unknown photographer, via Wikimedia Commons.
    Anne Frank in 1940, while at 6 Montessori school, Niersstrraat 41-43, Amsterdam (the Netherlands). Photograph by unknown photographer. Collectie Anne Frank Stichting Amsterdam (Website Anne Frank Stichting, Amsterdam) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.

    Anne’s diary was first published in Dutch in 1947. It was published in German and French in 1950. The first English edition was published in England and the United States in 1952. It has been since translated into over 55 languages and published around the world. Numerous plays, television programs, and films have also been written based on her diary.