Anne Frank

Portretfoto's Anne Frank, AFS 2010, fotograaf Cris Toala Olivares.jpgPerhaps the most famous book about life in Amsterdam during World War II is based on diaries written by a young girl called Anne Frank. Anne was only 11 years old when the war started, and for most of the war years she kept a diary which describes the life she and her family lived while they were in hiding from the Nazis. Their hiding place was an attic, which they shared with two other families, the van Pels and the Pfeffer family.

A Secret Hiding Place

Boekenkast2, AFS 2010, fotograaf Cris Toala Olivares.jpg

The entrance to the attic was very cleverly hidden by a book case. Downstairs it was ‘business as usual’ and none of the employees knew the attic existed. Upstairs, however, the three families lived in fear each minute of the day, afraid that their hiding place might be discovered. Their only link to the outside world were four close friends, (including a woman called Miep Gies) who visited them every day, bringing food, drink, news and any other things they might need.

Found Out

After an anonymous tip-off, the three families were discovered in 1944. Everybody was arrested and in their hurry to leave the attic, Anne left her diaries behind. The three families were sent to concentration camps. Sadly, only Anne’s father, Otto Frank, survived the war.

Did you know that…

  • People who helped Jewish families to hide from the Nazis risked their own lives and could be executed for what they did.
  • Miep Gies died in 2010, having reached the grand old age of 100.

Diaries Discovered

Shortly after the families were taken away, Miep Gies went back to the attic and found Anne’s diaries. She took them home with her and kept them safe until Otto Frank returned. The diaries were published in 1947 as ‘The Diary of Anne Frank’ and the book been translated into almost every language.

I know it is a very sad story, but please don’t be put off by that. This is an amazing book to read – it is the story of an ordinary girl living in extraordinary circumstances. You will never regret reading it and I guarantee that Anne will stay with you for the rest of your life.

Anne's Room

Visiting the Anne Frank House

Het Achterhuis, the attic where Anne and the families lived, is still there and is now a world-famous museum called the the Anne Frank House. The museum has a brilliant website – all in English – which is really worth exploring. It has lots of really useful information and even has an amazing 3D walk through the house which you can watch online. There is also an online shop where you can order your own copy of Anne’s diary and other useful information.

Finally – if you are in Amsterdam, please visit the museum, it’s absolutely fantastic and you won’t regret your visit.

  • All three photographs courtesy of the Anne Frank Stichting, Amsterdam, taken by Cris Toala Olivares