Anne Frank was a Jewish girl born in Frankfurt, Germany in
1929. She lived there with her mom (Edith), dad (Otto), and sister
Margot until she was four. In 1933, her family moved to Amsterdam,
Holland after the Nazis began to persecute (treat them harmfully) the Jews. In Amsterdam,
Edith and Otto Frank wanted their children to live normal lives. Anne and Margot went to a Montessori School, played at the
beach, and ate ice cream. Anne liked to sit in a chair on the flat
roof of her house and read.
While the Frank family lived an almost trouble free life, Hitler (the ruler of Germany) invaded Poland, Austria, and parts of Czechoslovakia. In 1940 things started getting worse for the Jews in the Netherlands. All Jewish people above the age of six had to wear a yellow Star of David with the word Jew written on it. Jews were taken from their homes, brought to a small concentration camps, and then later moved to larger death camps. Otto Frank gave Anne a diary for her birthday. Later that year Anne's family went into hiding. They hid in a secret annex in the back of a store that belonged to their friends. The door to the annex looked like a bookcase, so no one knew the annex was there and that they were in it. Another family (Mr. and Mrs. Van Pel and their son Peter) went into hiding with the Franks. Anne wrote in her diary a lot while she was in hiding.
During the day, the people in the annex had to be very quiet so that the costumers in the store couldn't hear them. They tip-toed and they couldn't flush the toilet. Night was when they took baths, listened to the radio, and talked. The Franks and the Van Pels successfully lived in the secret annex without anyone finding out for two years. On a nice summer day in 1944, the Franks and the Van Pels were caught by the Nazis (the group that supported Hitler). The Nazis entered the store. They opened the door to the annex and went right in. They told everyone to pack up a few small things and come with them. Anne's diary was left behind. The seven prisoners were taken to the Westerbork Camp. On September 3rd they were taken to Auschwitz death camp in Poland. They got very little to eat and got no medicine. People at the camp were told that they were being taken to showers, when really they were being taken to gas chambers. Almost all of the people killed in gas chambers were under the age of fifteen. Fortunately, Anne had just had her fifteenth birthday. Mr. Van Pel was killed in a gas chamber a few weeks after his arrival. At the end of October, 1944, Anne and Margot left their mother at Auschwitz as they were transferred to the concentration camp at Bergen-Belsen. Edith Frank lived for a few more months after her daughters left. On January 6, 1945 she died. Peter Van Pel was transferred to the Mauthausen camp in Austria. He died on May 5, 1945. Mrs. Van Pel (who was in Bergen-Belsen) got transferred to Theresienstsdt via Buchenwald. In the spring of 1945, she died. Anne and Margot slept in barracks that were unheated and crammed with women. Some people who survived the war said that they saw Anne and her sister. In March, 1945 Margot died. Anne died a few days later. The camp was freed a few weeks later in April.
Otto Frank was the only one from the annex who survived the war. Otto went back to see the annex. He found Anne's diary. He made a few spelling corrections and took out a few entries that he thought Anne wouldn't want anyone to read, and then he got it published. The book has now been published in fifty-five different languages! It has been made into plays and movies. A year before his death in 1979 Otto wrote, "Anne never spoke of hatred anywhere in her diary. She wrote that despite everything, she believed in the goodness of people. And that when the war was over, she wanted to work for the world and for people. This is the duty I have taken over from her. I have received many thousands of letters. Young people especially always want to know how these terrible things could ever have happened. I answer them as well as I can, and I often finish by saying, " I hope that Anne's book will have an effect on the rest of your life so that insofar as it is possible in your circumstances, you will work for unity and peace."