The Life of Anne Frank
a historical event
- Wednesday, June 12, 1929
Anne Frank was born on June 12, 1929 in Frankfurt, Germany, the second daughter of Otto Frank (1889–1980) and Edith Frank-Holländer (1900–45). The Franks lived at Marbachweg 307, Frankfurt in an assimilated community of Jewish and non-Jewish citizens of various religions.
- Thursday, June 1, 1933
In 1933, after the Nazi Party won council elections in Frankfurt , the Franks began to fear what would happen to them if they remained in Germany. Edith Frank-Holländer and the children went to Aachen, where they stayed with Edith's mother, Rosa Holländer at her house on Pastorplatz. Otto Frank moved to Amsterdam there to organise his new business and to arrange accommodations for his family.
- Thursday, February 1, 1934
Otto Frank began working at the Opekta Works, a company that sold fruit extract pectin, and found an apartment on the Merwedeplein (Merwede Square) in Amsterdam. By February 1934, Edith and the children had arrived in Amsterdam, and the two girls were enrolled in school — Margot in public school and Anne in a Montessori school.
In May 1940, Germany invaded the Netherlands, and the occupation government began to persecute Jews by the implementation of restrictive and discriminatory laws; mandatory registration and segregation soon followed. The Frank sisters were excelling in their studies and had many friends, but with the introduction of a decree that Jewish children could attend only Jewish schools, they were enrolled at the Jewish Lyceum.
For her 13th birthday on 12 June 1942, Anne Frank received a book she had shown her father in a shop window a few days earlier. Although it was an autograph book, bound with red-and-white checkered cloth and with a small lock on the front, Frank decided she would use it as a diary, and began writing in it almost immediately. While many of her early entries relate the mundane aspects of her life, she also discusses some of the changes that had taken place in the Netherlands since the German occupation. In her entry dated 20 June 1942, she lists many of the restrictions that had been placed upon the lives of the Dutch Jewish population, and also notes her sorrow at the death of her grandmother earlier in the year.
In July 1942, Margot Frank received a call-up notice from the Zentralstelle für jüdische Auswanderung (Central Office for Jewish Emigration) ordering her to report for relocation to a work camp. Otto Frank told his family that they would go into hiding in rooms above and behind Opekta's premises on the Prinsengracht, a street along one of Amsterdam's canals, where some of his most trusted employees would help them. The call-up notice forced them to relocate several weeks earlier than had been anticipated.
- Monday, July 6, 1942
Anne Frank House, AmsterdamPrinsengracht 267 (1016 GV), PO Box 730, 1000 AS Amsterdam, Netherlands | 020 5567105On the morning of Monday, 6 July 1942, the family moved into their hiding place (called the Achterhuis) above the Opekta offices on Prinsengracht, where they would live until their arrest in August of 1944.
The Achterhuis (a Dutch word denoting the rear part of a house, translated as the Secret Annexe in English editions of the diary) was a three-story space entered from a landing above the Opekta offices. Two small rooms, with an adjoining bathroom and toilet, were on the first level, and above that a larger open room, with a small room beside it. From this smaller room, a ladder led to the attic. The door to the Achterhuis was later covered by a bookcase to ensure it remained undiscovered. The main building, situated a block from the Westerkerk, was nondescript, old and typical of buildings in the western quarters of Amsterdam.
Victor Kugler, Johannes Kleiman, Miep Gies, and Bep Voskuijl were the only employees who knew of the people in hiding, and with Gies' husband Jan Gies and Voskuijl's father Johannes Hendrik Voskuijl, were their helpers for the duration of their confinement. These contacts provided the only connection between the outside world and the occupants of the house, and they kept the occupants informed of war news and political developments. They catered for all of their needs, ensured their safety, and supplied them with food, a task that grew more difficult with the passage of time. Frank wrote of their dedication and of their efforts to boost morale within the household during the most dangerous of times. All were aware that, if caught, they could face the death penalty for sheltering Jews.
On the morning of 4 August 1944, the Achterhuis was stormed by the German Security Police (Grüne Polizei) following a tip-off from an informer who was never identified. Led by Schutzstaffel Oberscharführer Karl Silberbauer of the Sicherheitsdienst, the group included at least three members of the Security Police.
- Friday, August 4, 1944
After their arrest on August 4, 1944, the Franks, van Pelses and Pfeffer were taken to the Gestapo headquarters, where they were interrogated and held overnight.
Miep Gies and Bep Voskuijl were questioned and threatened by the Security Police but were not detained. They returned to the Achterhuis the following day, and found Anne's papers strewn on the floor. They collected them, as well as several family photograph albums, and Gies resolved to return them to Anne after the war.
- Saturday, August 5, 1944
On August 5, 1944, the Franks were transferred to the Huis van Bewaring (House of Detention), an overcrowded prison on the Weteringschans.
- Monday, August 7, 1944
Two days later on August 7, 1944, the Franks were transported to Westerbork. Ostensibly a transit camp, by this time more than 100,000 Jews had passed through it. Having been arrested in hiding, they were considered criminals and were sent to the Punishment Barracks for hard labor.
- Sunday, September 3, 1944
September 3, 1944, the group was deported on what would be the last transport from Westerbork to the Auschwitz concentration camp, and arrived after a three-day journey. In the chaos that marked the unloading of the trains, the men were forcibly separated from the women and children, and Otto Frank was wrenched from his family. Of the 1,019 passengers, 549 — including all children younger than 15 — were sent directly to the gas chambers. Frank had turned 15 three months earlier and was one of the youngest people to be spared from her transport. She was soon made aware that most people were gassed upon arrival, and never learned that the entire group from the Achterhuis had survived this selection.
In October of 1944, selections began for women to be relocated to Bergen-Belsen. More than 8,000 women, including Anne and Margot Frank and Auguste van Pels, were transported, but Edith Frank was left behind and later died from starvation.
- Wednesday, November 1, 1944
Anne and Margot Frank arrived at the Bergen-Belsen Concentration camp in October/November of 1944 along with Auguste van Pels. Tents were put in place to accommodate the influx of prisoners, and as the population rose, the death toll due to disease increased rapidly.
Frank was briefly reunited with two friends, Hanneli Goslar and Nanette Blitz, who were confined in another section of the camp. Goslar and Blitz both survived the war and later discussed the brief conversations they had conducted with Frank through a fence. Blitz described her as bald, emaciated, and shivering and Goslar noted Auguste van Pels was with Anne and Margot Frank, and was caring for Margot, who was severely ill.
In March 1945, a typhus epidemic spread through the camp and killed approximately 17,000 prisoners. Witnesses later testified Margot fell from her bunk in her weakened state and was killed by the shock, and a few days later, Anne died. They state this occurred a few weeks before the camp was liberated by British troops on 15 April 1945, although the exact dates were not recorded. After liberation, the camp was burned in an effort to prevent further spread of disease, and Anne and Margot were buried in a mass grave, the exact whereabouts of which is unknown.
- total distance: 1,343 miles (2.161 km)